Remote work guide

Glossary

a

All-Remote

The term all-remote, or fully remote, refers to an organization that does not have a physical headquarters for its employees to attend in person. Instead, workers may carry out their responsibilities from home or co-working facilities. All-remote organizations are often spread across time zones, countries, and even continents. This means they have to make special considerations for how, when, and what platforms they use to communicate. 

Famous examples of all-remote companies include Upwork, GitLab, and Zapier. 

Annualized hours

Annualized hours are working hours that are calculated in an annual context rather than weekly or monthly. Annualized hours calculate the total number of hours available to work per year and then subtract hours for holidays and annual leave. The average is then calculated to arrive at an adjusted figure for weekly working hours.

Asynchronous Communication

Asynchronous communication is when individuals communicate in a manner where an immediate response is not expected or required. Examples of asynchronous communication include email threads and even coordinating tasks through Wrike.

Asynchronous communication is vital for dispersed and remote teams who may be contending with time zone differences and other delays. In essence, asynchronous communication does not require real-time, back-and-forth interactions. Instead, responses can be delayed, mulled over, or otherwise considered in a manner outside of a self-imposed requirement for immediacy. 

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Blended Team

A blended team is any team where some workers are based in an office or physical location and others are based remotely — or from home. Blended teams are already popular, and the concept is gaining traction. In fact, in 2020, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that 50% of the social media giant’s workforce would be remote by 2030. This makes blended teams an inevitability for the company and others like it. 

Brick-and-Mortar Business

A brick-and-mortar business is a business that has a physical location where customers and/or employees can attend in-person. These types of companies are seen as more “traditional” in nature. However, not every business is considered a brick-and-mortar business. In fact, giants like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have enabled sellers to reach global customers without ever taking out a lease on a physical location. 

The term “brick-and-mortar” refers to the classic building material required to establish a storefront.

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Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is a system that allows devices to access up-to-date data and information from anywhere. For example, cloud storage solutions like Google Docs and Dropbox allow users to access work from multiple devices, locations, and networks. This data can even be opened and worked on simultaneously in many cases.

Co-Located Team

A co-located team is any team where the majority of its members are based out of a central office location as opposed to multiple remote locations. These co-located teams do not face the same hurdles as dispersed or fully-remote teams. For example, they may frequently meet in person, hold live summits and conferences, and forge bonds based on close, office-based relationships.

Co-Location

Co-location describes a state of work where colleagues share the same facilities, attend in-person meetings, and are generally based out of the same office location. 

Co-Working

Co-working is the act of attending work in a mixed office setting where other freelancers and remote employees share resources and facilities. Co-working is often an attractive work option for self-employed individuals and teleworkers who wish to stave off isolation and unstable working environments.  

Co-Working Space

A co-working space is a shared office location where freelancers, remote workers, and other non-office based employees can attend based on a tiered subscription model. Some remote workers favor co-working spaces for flexibility, ease of access, and potential for networking and socializing. Co-working spaces allow workers to share facilities and resources like desks (also known as hot desking), printing service, and stable broadband. 

A co-working space allows individuals who are not based out of an office to reap some of the benefits of office life. Unstable internet, for example, can be a huge hurdle for some remote workers. A co-working space allows these workers to access stable internet and other amenities.

Compressed Working Week

A compressed working week is a form of flexible working where an employee can condense their 40-hour workweek into longer but fewer days. For example, instead of working eight hours a day for five days a week, a worker might propose four 10-hour workdays. This allows for the same amount of hours but in fewer days.

Conference Call

A conference call is a call where several participants join at once via telephone or through an online voice service. A conference call does not have to include a video feature, but Zoom and Google Hangouts are two of the most popular video conference call applications for remote teams.

For many dispersed and remote teams, conference and video calls are the primary avenues through which they can attend meetings, plan projects, and facilitate regular communication.

Conference Room

A conference room is a room where workers can take calls, host meetings, and have project planning sessions in a quiet, secluded space. A conference room offers an oasis of privacy in a busy office setting, allowing employees to efficiently manage in-person and virtual communications without fear of distractions. 

d

Dematerialization

Dematerialization in a work context refers to the increasingly digitized nature of work. Instead of showing up to a physical location to work on physical outputs for a company, more people are producing digital-based work through virtual means.

Digital Nomad

A digital nomad is a person who makes their living while traveling and working away from one fixed location. Their livelihood does not need to be connected to their travel. They can work as a freelancer, contractor, or even a full-time employee in a myriad of industries — all while on the go. 

MBO Partners, who did a deep dive into digital nomadism, found that those who worked in creative careers were strong participants in the movement — as we were IT and marketing professionals. They even found that one in six earned $75,000 annually. Some workers find that being a digital nomad suits their desire to work away from a desk and fund new travel experiences while earning a steady income.

Digital Work

Digital work is work that is principally carried out with the help of online tools and software solutions. This contrasts with work that was previously achieved and completed by generating physical files and paperwork.

Digital Workplace

A digital workplace is a professional ecosystem where everyday processes, communications, and tasks are managed with cloud-based or digital tools. This means that, instead of a physical calendar, a team might schedule meetings and calls through Google Calendar — or a similar application. Instead of taking meeting notes on a memo pad and distributing printed copies later, a team might take notes via a Google Doc and store the link on a work management platform like Wrike. 

A digital workplace makes it easier for dispersed teams to stay connected. It also makes it easy to do work from anywhere.

Digital Workspace

A digital workspace is a platform or integrated set of solutions that enables teams to manage, complete, and access their work from anywhere. Digital workspaces like Wrike have become increasingly popular due to the ease of access, security, and convenience they offer.

For example, it was not uncommon for marketers to have to carry home pages of briefs, mockups, and physical paperwork to and from their office. Using a digital workspace, that same marketer can log on to an application from their office, head home for the day, and check that same work at home. This minimizes the chance of misplacing important documentation and makes it easier to work from home or on-the-go.

Dispersed Team

A dispersed team refers to a group whose members are geographically spread out instead of all being based out of one central office location. This does not necessarily mean that the teams are far away from one another. A team based in the same city but spread across home offices, the main office, co-working spaces, and other locations can be considered to be part of a dispersed team.

These dispersed teams must learn to communicate and collaborate more efficiently because they are spread apart.

Distance Work

Distance work is work that is completed by employees spread out across different locations. Some employees may be based out of the office in a distance work environment, while others are based from home or other locations.

Distributed Company

A distributed company is an organization where employees work beyond a single, centralized office location. Many distributed companies have adopted a work from anywhere approach, allowing employees to telecommute, work remotely, or even work while traveling.

Distributed Team

A distributed team is any team composed of workers spread across various locations. This can mean that employees may rarely if ever, interact with their colleagues in person due to geographic considerations. Distributed teams use digital tools to communicate and collaborate efficiently, relying on video conferencing, project management, and digital asset management software.

Distributed Work

Distributed work refers to an environment where some employees are based away from a central working hub. This can mean that some are office-based, some are teleworkers, some are remote workers, and some are working in a satellite or co-working location.

This type of work environment requires strong communication and virtual collaboration skills and often necessitates the use of digital work management software.

Distributed Workforce

A distributed workforce is a workforce where employees are not all based out of a single office location. These professionals often have to collaborate across regions and time zones.

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Explicit Communication

Explicit communication is any type of written or spoken communication that is clearly stated or explained. Unlike implicit communication, there is very little ambiguity involved. For instance, if someone says “no, I cannot attend your marketing event on Friday,” there is little to no need for body language or tone analysis of this statement.

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Face to Face Meeting (F2F Meeting)

Face to face meeting means that two or more individuals have met in-person to discuss whatever matters they have at hand. It is not necessary to use tools like Zoom or Google Hangouts for these in-person meetings.

Flex Time / Flexi Time

Flex time is an arrangement that allows an employee to choose their ideal hours as opposed to working on a strict 9 am to 5 pm schedule. This can be ideal for employees who require increased flexibility in their work hours in order to manage familial or personal responsibilities.

Freelance Work

Freelance work describes work that is done by self-employed individuals who have no formal, long term contract with an employer. These individuals may work for multiple organizations at once, on a contract basis, or on specific projects. Freelancing is popular in industries like journalism, graphic design, software development, admin, and research. 

Freelancer

A freelancer is a self-employed person who may work on different projects for different organizations rather than having a fixed, long term contract with a single employer. Being a freelancer can be an attractive option for workers looking for more flexibility in their schedules.

Future of Work

The future of work is a term that considers trends and patterns that will likely determine how, when, and from where people will work in the coming years.  

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Garden Office

A garden office is a term that describes a studio or workspace that is set up in the yard or garden of a home. These self-contained “office pods” have become trendy for professionals who have made the transition to remote work and have the space and money to build out a separate area for their WFH responsibilities. 

Gig Economy

The gig economy is a phrase used to describe independent contractors who perform quick jobs (aka “gigs”) and have no standard employment agreement with the company or individual they are working for. Uber drivers are perhaps the most well-known example of gig economy workers. 

The gig economy is lauded for allowing flexibility, the ability to set one's own schedule, and other flexible working perks. However, low wages and a lack of protection around sick leave and vacation pay have drawn criticism in recent years.

Global Employer

A global employer is an organization that operates or hires across country borders. Being a global employer can be complex, as there are often regulatory and financial considerations to make for each hub in each region.  

h

Home Office

A home office is an environment based out of a domestic dwelling that has been adapted for long term work. A remote worker may turn a spare bedroom, living room, or attic space into a home office. Home offices can come in different sizes and aesthetics, but a reliable internet connection and desk are typically hallmarks of a functional home office space.

Hybrid Company

A hybrid company is an organization whose employees work flexibly by attending some days in the office and some days from home. It is predicted that many employers will adopt a hybrid working model where workers can choose which days they wish to be based from home and which days they wish to work from a centralized office. 

In some circumstances, a hybrid company can also be taken to mean an organization where some employees are full-time, office-based workers and others are work from home, or remote employees.

Hybrid Teams

A hybrid team is a team whose members have diverse office attendance patterns. For example, one member of a team might be fully remote (meaning they work from home 100% of the team). Meanwhile, another team member may come into the office on select days. There may also be team members who are fully based out of a company’s main office. 

While increased flexibility can be considered a major perk, hybrid teams face very specific issues and obstacles. A fully remote teammate may miss out on key conversations between teammates who are based out of the office or who attend the office regularly. Similarly, team members may feel disconnected if there is no main digital hub for them to share project updates, documents, and other communications.

Hybrid-Remote

Unlike a fully-remote company, a hybrid-remote organization likely has one or more office locations that some employees attend regularly. Though many (or even most) employees may report to an in-person office location, a hybrid-remote company may also have a large number of fully remote workers in their ranks.

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Implicit Communication

Communicating at work can be complex and nuanced. In a professional setting, implicit and explicit communication lay the groundwork for how employees complete tasks and interface with colleagues. Implicit communication is essentially the parts of our interactions that remain unsaid. This can include the tone of our voices, facial expressions, body language, and other cues that imply what we mean or how we’re feeling.

In-person Meeting

An in-person meeting is a meeting that takes place in the same location rather than over the phone or on a video conference call.

Instant Message

An instant message is a message sent over a chat platform where correspondence is expected to be quick. In a work setting, instant messages are considered “synchronous” communication because of how they allow colleagues to communicate in real-time.

Internet of Things

The internet of things describes the ecosystem of devices that are interconnected via the internet. This is a broad term that can refer to the devices in your home network or be taken to mean all internet-connected devices in the world. These IoT devices can include your smartphone, wearables, smart home tech, and even smart vehicles.

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Knowledge Worker

A knowledge worker is a worker who primarily interacts with knowledge and information to complete problem-solving and strategic tasks. This contrasts with workers who follow a set routine in their professional duties. 

In the June 2005 edition of “Journal of Knowledge Management,” Pasi Pyöriä noted distinctions between traditional work and knowledge work. Pyöriä noted that knowledge work often includes “low level of standardization, involves working with abstract knowledge and symbols.”

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Live Receptionist

A live receptionist service allows businesses to retain an answering service for their business without having to make the sometimes costly investment of full-time front desk staff. These professionals answer the phone on behalf of your business and can make and redirect calls and appointments as needed.

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Off-site Meeting

An off-site meeting is a professional gathering or meetup that takes place away from the usual office. The purpose of an off-site meeting can range from training and strategy to motivation and bonding. Your team or organization may hold one or more off-site meetings a year to build camaraderie, plan for future projects, and even share accomplishments from the last year or quarter.

Office Environment

An office environment is a location where certain professional standards are upheld and where workers can go to complete their designated responsibilities. The term “office environment” typically refers to a professional space outside of the home. These spaces house the equipment, facilities, and devices needed to complete a day of work.

Certain styles of dress, speech, and behaviors may be prohibited or strongly discouraged in an office environment.

Offshoring

Offshoring refers to the practice of re-allocating in-house duties and responsibilities to overseas workers. For example, a company may offshore its customer care center or production warehouse to another country in order to save costs, improve processes, or restructure their business.

On-site Meeting

An on-site meeting is a gathering that takes place on the same premises that regular work is carried out. 

An on-site meeting may refer to a situation where a business hosts a client at their office location. It could also refer to the on-premises meeting that takes place when a job candidate attends their prospective employer’s office location in person. Finally, the term on-site meeting could refer to a presentation or internal event attended by a team or group of workers.

Online Password Vaults

An online password vault is a password management tool that allows users to safely store and keep track of their login credentials for various platforms. An online password vault can be useful for professionals who work across devices and while on the go. Instead of having to remember many different passwords, it is only necessary to remember the credentials for the online password vault. 

Online Storage

Online storage can refer to a medium or platform where users are able to store and access important files, documents, and assets. 

Outsourcing

Outsourcing is the practice of hiring a third-party vendor outside of your organization to handle specific tasks or provide goods/services. Outsourcing is often made necessary when there is a lack of available expertise within the organization or a lack of internal resources who have the bandwidth to work on a particular initiative. 

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Real-Time Communication Apps

Real-time communication apps are applications that enable quick and timely conversations. Two popular examples include Slack and Microsoft Teams. These real-time communication apps can be useful in a professional setting where quick planning and rapid responses are essential.

While valuable for planning and rapid response communication, these apps should not replace tools and software that allow teams to infuse visibility and robust documentation processes in their workflow.

Remote Desktop

A remote desktop refers to a tool or application allows users to access or control another device in a separate location

Remote Employee

A remote employee is an employee who works for a company but does not attend an in-person office location on a daily basis. Remote employees can be based from home or from other locations. Remote employment is often an attractive option for digital nomads who spend time traveling but still wish to maintain a relatively formal work arrangement with their employer. 

Remote Hiring

Remote hiring is the practice of recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding employees for remote or temporarily home-based positions. Remote hiring can be done by HR professionals who are working from home themselves. As the popularity of remote work has accelerated, remote hiring has predictably been on the rise as well. 

Zoom and Google Hangouts are both popular video communications tools that are typically used for remote candidate interviews and screening. HR professionals will often use other tools and project management solutions to onboard and train new hires.

Remote OK

Similar to the term “remote-friendly,” remote ok means that an organization is open to hiring or facilitating remote work.

Remote Work

Remote work is an arrangement where an employee is able to work outside of a traditional centralized office location. This somewhat flexible working arrangement can mean an employee is based from home, from a co-working space, or even from an unfixed location. Typically, digital and cloud-based tools power remote work, enabling cross-border and cross timezone collaboration.

Remote Worker (also Free-Range Worker)

A remote worker is an employee who works away from a centralized office location the majority of the time. On a day-to-day basis, these employees may work from home, work while traveling, or work from a co-working space. Despite being based out of a different location, remote workers collaborate with their team members using digital tools, and may even visit the main office location for events, retreats, or other occasional gatherings.

Remote-First

Remote-first refers to any company whose employees primarily work away from a physical office location. Remote-first means that working away from an office is the default for employees, and they are enabled and empowered to work from through remote infrastructure. This infrastructure can be anything from the communication tools they use to the remote-friendly equipment they are provided with.

Remote-Friendly

A remote-friendly company is an organization that, while primarily office-based, allows employees significant flexibility around working from home. This means that they might be open to allowing employees to transition to fully remote or hybrid-remote working arrangements. This may also mean that the company hires some roles as entirely remote from the start.

Retreat

A work retreat is a gathering for employees and management that allows them to bond and build rapport outside of an office setting. These gatherings are usually hosted at an offsite location and can include team-building games and activities, team meals, motivational talks, and more.

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Satellite Office

A satellite office is a separate office location or branch of an organization outside of its main office or headquarters. For instance, a business may open its main location and, soon after, build out several other locations that allow them to spread their operations across multiple regions and locations.

Single Source of Truth (SSoT)

A single source of truth is a system that enables organizations to maintain consistent, up-to-date, and accurate documentation. By using a SSoT, organizations can standardize how information is shared and distributed across teams. Storing critical information in one centralized location allows teams to avoid flawed decision-making and duplicate work.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Software as a Service describes licensed software that is accessed through the cloud, via a browser, as opposed to being downloaded onto a device.

Solopreneur

A solopreneur is a business owner who has founded their own venture and manages many areas of the business. Typically, a solopreneur takes on many parts of their business instead of relying on colleagues or employees in different departments to handle critical tasks and duties. 

Staying in the Loop

Staying in the loop is a term that means being involved and aware of the current state of plans or activities. When you ask someone to “keep you in the loop” about a situation, you are simply asking to be kept updated about its progress. 

Staying in the loop at work means that you are updated and oftentimes included in conversations pertaining to the issue or project. Plenty of apps and tools can help you stay in the loop, including Wrike. 

Synchronous Communication

Synchronous communication is a real-time communication style that relies on continuous back and forth dialog.

An example of synchronous communication would be communicating through instant messaging platforms designed to elicit immediate correspondence from the other party. This is ideal for pressing questions and matters that need immediate attention.

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Team Retreat

A team retreat is an offsite gathering where teams can bond and build a connection outside of their work environment. A team retreat may include events, games, team dinners, seminars, and even awards.

Telecommute

To telecommute refers to a flexible work arrangement where employees can complete their work responsibilities from a place other than a centralized office location. This is accomplished with the help of email, instant messaging platforms, video conferencing software, and other work management tools. 

Telecommuting

Telecommuting is the act of carrying out work from a location other than a company’s main office. This may mean working from home, a co-working space, or even another branch of the organization. Effective telecommuting is made possible with the help of tools like Wrike, Slack, and more.

Telework

Telework is an arrangement between an employee and their employer which allows them to work away from the main office site. This may include working from home, a co-working space, or some other location. Teleworking is powered by the use of digital tools like the internet, email, and project management software.

Time Management Apps

Adequate time management can be a huge hurdle for remote workers. Time management apps are applications that help you handle workloads in a timely manner. These apps assist with things like time and task batching. They are also useful with activities like note-taking, file storage, and task timing. 

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Video Chat

A video chat is a conversation held via video conferencing software. Popular video chat tools can include Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and Skype. Video chat tools allow families, professionals, and friends to remain connected from anywhere in the world.

Virtual Assistant

Much like an in-person assistant, a virtual assistant is a person who uses their organizational talents to help with administrative and other support-related tasks. Virtual assistants work remotely and may assist business leaders in scheduling meetings and coordinating complex tasks.

Virtual Machine (VM)

A virtual machine uses a “host” machine to test operating systems and run programs it may not be able to run otherwise.

Virtual Meeting

A virtual meeting is a meeting conducted via video conferencing software. Virtual meetings can be especially useful when participants cannot meet in-person for logistical, health-related, or geographic reasons. 

Virtual Office

A virtual office is an arrangement that allows businesses to have some of the benefits and facilities associated with a physical office space without actually having to be based out of commercial premises. Some of these benefits can include a business address, voicemail and receptionist services, storage space, and more. 

Virtual Phone System

A virtual phone system is a cloud-based service that allows users to field calls over the internet from their laptops or mobile devices. Because virtual phone systems operate via the internet, they allow an increased level of flexibility. A virtual phone system can be a valuable tool for workers outside a traditional office environment or even dispersed teams.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

A virtual private network allows individuals to establish a private, encrypted connection over a normal or even public internet environment. VPNs can be a valuable tool for remote workers who handle sensitive data or need to access information via their organization’s private network.

Virtual Receptionist

A virtual receptionist is a remote professional who acts in the same capacity as an in-person receptionist. Virtual receptionists take calls, transfer calls, make appointments, and use their skills to manage important incoming and outgoing correspondence.

VoIP

VoIP is an acronym that means voice over internet protocol. VoIP describes a method of placing phone calls over the internet.

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Work From Home

Work from home describes an environment where individuals are able to do their jobs from inside their own homes rather than from within an office. Working from home is facilitated through the use of software and virtual tools that enable communication, collaboration, and coordination.

Work Management Software

Work management software describes any digital solution that enables users to efficiently perform their work-related tasks. Work management software can have a variety of features. For instance, it often helps individuals manage due dates, track time, balance budgets, and work efficiently as a team. Wrike is a perfect example of a work management platform.

Workation

Workation is a blending of the words “work” and “vacation”. As its name suggests, a workation involves working while on vacation or on a trip. This is a popular option for digital nomads, who may work from exotic locations or simply while traveling. Instead of logging on to work at a certain time, professionals on a workation may instead have tasks they complete for the day and balance their work duties with leisure activities.