Remote Work Glossary

Table of Contents

What Is Remote Work?

Remote work is an arrangement that allows employees to perform their job duties outside of the traditional office. Employees often rely on digital communication tools and internet technology to connect with coworkers, employers, and clients. 

Remote work allows for greater flexibility in work hours and location, potentially improving work-life balance and reducing commuting costs and time.

Types of remote work

Remote work is a general term encompassing various arrangements that don’t require employees to report to an office. Organizations should consider which type best suits their needs and clearly communicate a role’s remote status in the job description. 

Fully remote

A fully remote position means employees never need to report to an office. They work from any location in the world without it negatively interfering with their work. While some fully remote workers prefer to remain in their own homes, others may choose to be digital nomads, living and working in different countries that have access to the internet. Fully remote jobs typically require employees to be available at set times, which may affect the work location.

Telework vs. remote work

Telework is often used interchangeably with remote work, yet sometimes with subtle differences. It is similar to remote work in that employees can work at an off-site location for the majority of their work schedule. However, teleworking often requires employees to live and work near the office as they occasionally need to be on-site.

Hybrid work vs. remote work

Hybrid work models are also partially remote. Unlike fully remote positions, hybrid work entails commuting to an office periodically. The work accommodations of a hybrid model will differ depending on the organization’s remote work policy

Organizations may opt for remote-first or office-first models, determining where employees will spend most of their time. Some companies allow workers the flexibility to choose where they work most of the time. However, hybrid working models often require employees to work during regular business hours.

Flex work vs. remote work

Flex work jobs allow employees to work at any hour of the day from any location worldwide.  Some remote jobs may require employees to be available and work for eight-hour blocks per day. Flex work jobs are less about working a shift and more about completing a task. Project-oriented freelancers or contract employees may operate on a flex schedule more often than full-time employees.

Benefits of remote work for employers 

Remote work affords employers significant advantages that can lead to a more efficient workplace and organization. Some of the main benefits of remote work for employers include:

  • Increased productivity: When employees are comfortable and enjoying the advantages of working remotely, they’re more productive. Workers also develop a sense of autonomy and self-leadership that propels them to be more efficient. This leads to more work getting finished at a faster pace.
  • Cost savings: Organizations forego many expenses when their staff isn’t required to work from the office. Some of the many reduced costs include office rentals, equipment, cleaning, and utilities. Leadership can redirect the savings toward investments that will result in growth.
  • Employee satisfaction: Employees have increased job satisfaction because working remotely often allows for a better work-life balance. This positively impacts the business as it reduces absenteeism and increases employee motivation.
  • Wider talent pool: Organizations that open the door to remote work opportunities also create opportunities to utilize an international workforce. With more opportunities, attracting top talent and gaining interest from employees with job alerts set only for remote work opportunities is easier.
  • Loyalty: Remote work signals to employees that the organization trusts them. This helps increase loyalty, which results in less employee turnover and more endorsements. A loyal workforce reflects positively on the brand’s public image. 

Benefits of remote work for employees

Remote work's unique benefits often lead to higher satisfaction, loyalty, and employee retention. Some of the benefits of remote work for employees include:

  • Cost-effective: There is an obvious cost benefit for remote workers. Employees who work from home don’t need to pay commuting costs, go out to lunch, or spend money on work attire for the office. 
  • Flexibility: Flexibility is a strong reason to work from home. The ability to work from anywhere and wear anything can lower stress levels. Flexible hours also allow employees to work when they’re most productive.
  • Personalized environment: Remote work allows employees to maximize their workspace. This can result in a more comfortable atmosphere with fewer distractions from noise or other coworkers. A personalized environment can drive productivity and efficiency. 
  • Work-life balance: Planning daily work schedules allows for a better work-life balance. Employees can easily find time to attend appointments, spend more time with family, or take care of pressing tasks at home.
  • Location: Working from home can open up even more possibilities for housing. The lack of a commute allows employees to look outside the area immediately surrounding their workplace. Employees who want to work from a different city or country can also benefit from their employer’s remote work policy.

Remote work challenges

As full-time and part-time remote work continues to become commonplace among organizations, more difficulties emerge. For remote work systems to function, organizations must consider the challenges through careful workforce planning and create an effective policy to deal with these unique issues. Some notable remote work challenges include:

  • Technology: Issues with wifi networks or software applications can cause hiccups in workflows and productivity. Likewise, if certain employees are less technically savvy than others, they will require more training and guidance when working remotely.
  • Security: Keeping networks secure and sensitive information safe is imperative. Employees must clearly understand the company’s security protocols and the consequences for failing to comply.
  • Collaboration: Team members in different locations or time zones may find it challenging to maintain consistent collaboration. Policies that don’t have clear communication guidelines and tools may suffer from repeated miscommunication.
  • Onboarding: Integrate a comprehensive onboarding program with features such as introductory meetings, mentorship, and clear expectations.
  • Culture: Remote companies with international teams may need to increase training initiatives to educate employees about cultural differences and ensure a safe and supportive work environment. 

Remote work myths and misconceptions

The rise of remote work has led to several misconceptions about remote workers and what they can offer. Understanding the truth behind remote work misbeliefs ensures a more effective organization.

Remote work decreases productivity

A common misconception is that employees are less productive outside of the traditional office as they may face more distractions. However, the opposite appears to be true. Because remote workers can work at their most convenient times, employee engagement remains strong as typical workplace distractions are reduced. Studies show that remote workers often put in more overall time at work than their on-site counterparts.  

Remote work hampers innovation

Employees are traditionally believed to be most creative when discussing new ideas in the same room. However, remote work doesn’t stifle innovation. Allowing employees the freedom to work from remote environments may increase creativity, eliminate groupthink, or decrease bias.

Remote workers need special equipment

While the required technology for each job may differ, in most cases, there are enough online resources to allow employees to work from home with their basic office supplies. The number and effectiveness of tools, platforms, and apps that aid in remote work continue to increase. Many remote employees effectively work with a basic computer and internet access.

Tools for remote work

New technology continues to provide more advanced remote work solutions. Some of the most useful tools and software as a service (SaaS) applications for remote work include:

  • Video conference: Video conference platforms allow team members to attend meetings, webinars, and virtual events anywhere as long as they have internet access. High-quality video conference tools are vital for team unity, collaboration, and engagement. Some of the most used video conferencing platforms include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Webex Meetings.
  • Communication: Asynchronous communication capabilities are essential for global teams. While some communication apps have video conference capabilities, many provide features such as in-app messaging, shared calendars, task timelines, and coworking spaces. Examples of communication tools for remote teams include Slack, Lucidchart, Loom, and Switchboard.
  • Cloud storage: Cloud storage is an essential aspect of remote work. Working with a cloud storage platform allows team members to access, share, manage, and retrieve files. Cloud storage services also allow for version control, which is helpful with remote employee management. Some of the top cloud storage solutions include Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Dropbox.
  • Project management: Project management tools allow teams to plan and execute projects from remote locations. Comprehensive project management tools may include features such as video conferences, document sharing, whiteboards, and real-time updates. Popular project management tools include, Zoho Projects, Forecast, and Miro.
  • Time tracking: Accurate time tracking helps employers and employees better understand how the team spends its time and how they can be more efficient. Time-tracking apps that often enhance efficiency in the remote workplace include Clockify, ClockShark, QuickBooks Time, and Time Doctor.
  • Productivity: Productivity tools have various uses, such as helping workers focus on individual tasks, schedule meetings, keep to-do lists, block distractions, and automate repetitive tasks. Apps that include one or more features include Serene, Forest, Calendly, and Todoist.
  • Security: Security is crucial when workers access networks, handle sensitive information, and use devices from remote locations. Some tools that help prevent data breaches include VPNs, password managers, and multi-factor authentication applications.

Is remote work going away?

No, remote work is unlikely to end due to its cost-saving benefits and improved employee retention for companies. Start-ups are likely to continue using remote work to cut costs, and employees value working from home nearly the same as a pay raise. 

By 2030, it’s estimated that digital jobs will grow by about 25% worldwide, equating to over 90 million jobs. The report finds that new technological developments will continue creating more opportunities for employees to work remotely in high-wage positions.

Related Articles

See related items

What Is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is when a business contracts tasks, services, or functions to a third party instead of handling them with in-house staff.

Read more

What Is an Employment Agreement?

An employment agreement outlines the terms and conditions of employment between a company and an individual, defining expectations, both parties’ obligations, and legal rights.

Read more

What Is a Remote Worker?

A remote worker is a full-, part-time, freelance, or contract employee who performs their job duties entirely outside of a traditional office setting.

Read more

What Are In-kind Benefits?

In-kind benefits are non-cash perks, typically goods, services, or privileges, an employer offers employees to boost morale, retain talent, and ensure well-being.

Read more

What Is an Employer of Record (EOR)?

An EOR is a company that legally acts as the employer of a worker in the name of another business. It typically manages payroll, taxes, benefits, and other administrative or legal responsibilities.

Read more

What Is Remote Work?

Remote work is an arrangement that allows employees to perform their job duties outside of the traditional office, allowing for greater flexibility in work hours and location.

Read more

What Is Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB)?

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) is a framework to foster a workplace where everyone feels valued and respected.

Read more

What Is Benefits Administration?

Benefits administration manages and oversees employee benefits, such as coordinating and handling benefits programs like health insurance and retirement plans.

Read more

What Is Nearshoring?

Nearshoring is a business strategy in which companies employ remote workers or resources that are geographically close to them.

Read more

What Is a Remote Work Policy?

A remote work policy is an agreement that outlines the expectations of employees who work from home or another non-office space.

Read more

What Is Talent Acquisition?

Talent acquisition is the process of sourcing, recruiting, and hiring skilled employees to meet a company's long-term hiring needs.

Read more

What Is a Professional Employment Organization (PEO)?

A PEO is a company that serves as a co-employer and provides businesses with HR services like payroll processing, benefits administration, compliance assistance, and risk management.

Read more

What Is Payroll?

Payroll is the process of organizing and delivering an employee's wages and ensuring that companies pay their employees their expected salary.

Read more

What Is Global Payroll?

Global payroll refers to the end-to-end payment-related services that a company must provide to their international employees to comply with the regulations of each worker's home country.

Read more