Remote work has exploded in popularity in 2020. Even prior to last year, it was picking up steam. But the pandemic made it an overnight reality. And because the world went remote so suddenly, many questions about remote work have come up.
It's no surprise of course. Remote work contrasts very sharply with traditional ideas about work. More on that here. In this post, we’ll answer the most common questions on remote work. This information will help you understand everything you need to know to start working remotely.
What Does Remote Work Mean?
At its simplest, remote work is doing work from outside the office. The idea is that with technology, more jobs can be done from anywhere. In its most common use, remote work means you never have to go to the office.
Importantly, remote work and working from home are not synonymous. Working from home is one example of remote work.
Some remote workers prefer to work in coffee shops, hotels, or co-working spaces.
What Are the Best Remote Jobs?
Your idea of the best remote job will be different from someone else’s. It will depend on the type of work you want to do. That said, some jobs are easier to do remotely than others.
For example, you are unlikely to find a job for remote work caring directly for the elderly in a care home. This requires physical contact and being present.
Some of the most common jobs that you can do remotely include the following:
- Customer service
- Virtual assistance
- Data entry
- Computer programming
- Software, web, and mobile app development
- Teaching English to non-native speakers
- Social media management
- Medical billing and coding
- Online marketing
As long as a job can be done just with a computer and the internet, you can likely find the chance to do it remotely.
If you'd like to learn about our favorite kind of remote jobs, check out this post.
Does Remote Work Actually Work?
Yes! Many employees are more productive when working remotely. Employee satisfaction can also improve because there is no commute. Employees appreciate the flexibility and the time that they get back in their day.
However, there are some challenges for remote work. Two of the biggest issues are supplies and distractions.
Remote workers typically need to provide their own office supplies. These include desks, computers, and office chairs. This can increase the initial investment. Distractions are another significant issue. Distractions can include kids and pets, the lack of monitoring, housework, and more.
Most remote workers have developed strategies to overcome these challenges. To prevent distractions, they have a designated workspace. Many people also use noise-canceling headphones.
How Much Do Remote Jobs Pay?
There is no standard for what remote jobs pay. Each job will be different, as there are many different types of remote work.
ZipRecruiter reports on the average Remote Work from Home pay as of mid-January 2021. It was $66,180 per year. This is about $31.82 an hour.
But again, take this with a healthy amount of skepticism. The amount you make working remotely depends on the type of job you have and your employer. That could include your employer’s location (something we don't necessarily agree with, but more on that in another post).
Seniority and experience also matter. A 2019 report shows a range of salaries. Administrative and customer support roles could earn about $11 an hour. Meanwhile, legal work could earn about $28.
What Makes a Good Remote Employee?
In addition to the specific skills required for a given job, all remote employees should have a few important traits.
One of the most important is strong communication skills. This is essential because you cannot rely on face-to-face communications like in a traditional job. Written communication is particularly important. Verbal communication over the phone or video is also crucial. Responsiveness also goes hand-in-hand with this communication. It prevents coworkers from waiting hours or days for a reply.
Good remote employees should also be self-motivated and disciplined. There is no boss hovering over your shoulder, watching your every move. As a remote employee, you are responsible for making yourself work. You should have the skills needed to stay on task and manage your time. Part of this includes having the discipline needed to overcome distractions.
Remote workers should also be familiar with technology. They should have some experience with the most common remote work programs. They should also be quick learners and find it easy to pick up new programs.
How Do You Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Remotely?’”
There are several approaches you can take when answering why you want to work remotely. Some answers can focus on the lack of commute. You can say you will better use that time by planning for your work. Or that not commuting will reduce your environmental impact.
It is also smart to focus on productivity. Mention that working from home improves productivity. It lets you start work earlier and work at the hours during which you will work best. You can mention being less distracted at home instead of in an office. Mention there are fewer coworker interruptions.
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