Remote work is on the rise. It is no longer considered a trend because it’s been clear for a while now that it is here to stay.  Working remotely has become a viable option for many thanks in large part to the prevalence of high-speed internet. The beauty of working remotely is that people can choose to work in a way and place that makes the most sense for them. It might be from your kitchen table but it also is just as likely to be from a coworking space in Greece. 

Remote working is based on the idea that workers do not need to be seated in a specific place to be successful and productive. It’s a way of working that allows people to work outside of a traditional office environment. The remote workforce has been steadily increasing over the last decade. It has now become commonplace even in the most conventional organisations. It can be a great option for expats. 

global nomad
Remote work in here to stay

Benefits

The greatest benefit people desire from working remotely is flexibility. There are a few different reasons people want flexible. Some might just want the freedom of working from home so they can walk the kids to school with the time they would usually use for commuting. Others like the flexibility of a varied schedule that allows them to set their own working hours. There are also those that have other obligations that a remote job allows them to fulfil while still getting their work done. 

The second most sort after benefit is being able to work from anywhere. Many people prefer to work from their home office but others love the freedom of being a digital nomad. Digital nomads don’t tend to travel in the traditional sense of the word. They are more likely to spend 3-6 months in one place and then move onto the next. Obviously good internet is imperative but that is becoming the norm even in the back of beyond. A lot of working nomads rely on coworker spaces. 

Employers also benefit in a few ways when utilising remote workers. Studies have indicated people are more productive when they work remotely. Productivity increases with both full time and part-time remote employees. Remote workers are also less inclined to take time off when they are sick. These upsides have prompted some companies into having a permeant remote workforce. Others provide a salary top-up for people willing to working remotely.

Remote work
Cheap office space

Remote employees are also good for everyone’s bottom line. For an organisation, this is partly due to higher productivity. However, lower fixed costs are also a contributing factor. They can save a considerable amount on overhead expenses as a result of not having to rent and furnish office space. From an employee’s perspective, there is no transportation cost which can be a substantial saving, especially in some job markets. There is also the added bonus of no investment of time for commuting. 

The downsides

There are always downsides! The most prevalent is the inability for remote workers to switch off. For many remote work isn’t just a different way to work it is a whole different approach to life. This can mean setting boundaries for when to shut off can often be difficult. Sometimes the inability to set limitations comes from the employee and other times from the employer. This doesn’t seem to be such a problem with more conventional work. For example, if you are a lawyer who works from your home office it might be easier to set boundaries than if you are a social media marketing manager who needs to be out and about all the time. 

Loneliness is also a common complaint. The realities of working remotely and what you see on social media can be poles apart. Most people aren’t swanning around drinking margaritas on the beach while banging away on a keyboard.  Isolation, anxiety, and depression can be real issues for some remote workers. These are often reasons that people give when they move from being a remote worker back to a more conventional work environment. 

lonely remote worker
Remote working can become lonely

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Some organisations have workers who mix it up. They spend part of their week working remotely and part of it in the office. For a lot of people this is a great compromise. Obviously, if your desire is to be a digital nomad that’s not going to work. There are also a lot of organisations that just have a remote workforce so clearly not a go with them either. One way around it is to make use of coworking spaces where you can build a bit of a community and have daily social interaction. 

How do I get one of these remote jobs

Not all jobs lend themselves to being remote and not all remote jobs lend themselves to being nomadic but you will be amazed at what is out there. As mentioned earlier some organisations are even structured around only having a remote workforce.  So how do you get one of these jobs? All your questions on how to bag a remote job will be answered soon on YAY FOR TODAY. In the second article of our four part series, we have the talented Becca Rhew bringing you all the tips and resources you will need to snag a remote job for yourself! 

This is part 1 of our 4 part series on remote work. Check our second article on fulled with resources and know-how here.


Rachel Nelson is a New Zealand ex-pat who has lived and worked in the US, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, the UAE, Qatar and Germany.
Rachel has a background in International HR and has worked internationally her whole working life.