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How Does Remote Working Work?

Remote working, also known as working from home or telecommuting, is a work arrangement that permits working outside the typical office environment. It has increased globally over the years and accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic

If you haven't worked remotely before, you may find yourself asking, "how does remote working work?" Below are a few tips to understand and adapt to remote work.

Tips for adapting and answering, "how does remote working work?"

Before we share our five most important tips that answer the question "how does remote working work?" It is important to note that there is no single best approach to remote work. Based on factors like a company's industry, tech-savviness of employees, operational work type, remote work experience, and timezones employees work from, most organizations' remote work culture is different. 

To understand how remote working works, you should keep the following in mind. 

  1. Some companies' remote work guidelines are published online: If you are interested in a particular company with remote work opportunities, you may find their remote work guide or handbook published online. This handbook may outline vital details about how the company conducts remote work, including their philosophy, approach, and collaboration guidelines. Here is a sample guide by Gitlab. Finding the remote work guides for the specific company you are interested in can clarify how remote working works for that organization. 

  2. Remote workers are often responsible for their working tools and software: Although some companies provide laptops, internet, and software tools required to handle your work remotely, most remote employees have to pay for the internet, use their devices, and other software to get work done. A few companies alternatively offer a stipend to reimburse employees for the equipment and software they use to work.  

  3. You may have to work from a specific location regardless: By definition, remote work means you can work in any location away from the typical work setting. However, most remote job listings seek applicants who live in specific locations. According to Flexjobs, 95% of remote companies hire from particular locations because of client needs, country employee regulations, legal and tax considerations, salary payment issues, distant time zones, or regular travel requirements.

  4. Synchronous or asynchronous collaboration: Some remote organizations require employees to work the typical work hours from 9-5. Others have a few core working hours that overlap for all employees while allowing for more flexibility in employees' schedules. The time zone differences within the team are often a significant factor in remote team collaboration. Asynchronous communication can help teams remain effective collaborators regardless of any time zone differences. 

  5. Results-only work environments: Some remote work organizations foster a results-only work environment (ROWE) instead of a time-based work environment. These organizations allow for more flexibility in employees' schedules and focus on defined project outcomes instead of time spent at work. Employees in these organizations must be self-sufficient and proactive to keep contributing value to their teams and organization.  

The concept of remote working may seem challenging to understand at first. If you keep the tips above in mind, you can transition from asking, "how does remote working work?" to becoming a prepared and productive remote worker.