Remote Work Glossary

Table of Contents

What Is a Remote Worker?

A remote worker is an employee who performs their job duties entirely outside of a traditional office setting. While some work from home, many prefer a coworking space or an international destination. Remote workers have flexible arrangements regarding their work schedules and workspace that vary according to their level of responsibility within their organization and their employer’s needs.

Remote work has become more popular in recent years, with the number of open positions across industries increasing rapidly on job boards. Embracing this employment trend offers businesses numerous benefits, such as reducing overhead costs and potentially increasing employee engagement.

Who are considered remote workers?

Remote workers can be full-time employees, part-time workers, freelancers, or contract workers who perform their duties off-site. They may be hired on a permanent or temporary basis, according to their core duties and project requirements. However, regardless of their specific work conditions, they are still expected to meet all performance expectations. In addition, they must adhere to employment policy in the same way as on-site employees.

Because many traditional desk jobs have successfully transitioned to remote settings, remote workers come from any sector or industry. Remote work attracts employees from many roles, including accountants, lawyers, software engineers, project managers, and developers.

What companies hire remote workers?

Many companies, ranging from small startups to large multinational corporations, hire remote workers for various reasons. These businesses tend to prioritize results over in-office presence and maintain a strong digital infrastructure to keep teams connected. They also value clear communication and collaboration, and their policies support flexible work arrangements.

Remote work has become more popular in recent years, with the number of open positions across industries increasing rapidly on job boards. Embracing this employment trend offers businesses numerous benefits, such as reducing overhead costs by letting them keep a smaller office space.

Companies that hire remote workers operate in some of the following industries:

  • Technology: Companies in this industry are at the forefront of remote work, with many offering fully remote positions. This is partly due to the nature of the work, which is often done independently and doesn't always require face-to-face interaction.
  • Customer service: Agents in this sector usually support customers over the phone, email, or chat and have no problem working remotely as long as they have the right equipment.
  • Education: Online learning is taking the world by storm. Many educators and instructional designers now work from diverse settings that don’t necessarily involve a classroom.
  • Writing and editing: Workers in this industry collaborate with clients and colleagues online, facilitating remote work opportunities.
  • Design: Graphic designers, web designers, and other creative professionals work with remote teams since design work is often done independently.
  • Marketing: Social media managers and content creators typically find remote work and telecommuting opportunities. Many of their tasks are done online, so they’re not always needed in an office setting.
  • Healthcare: Most positions in this industry require professionals to be present at the workplace. However, contrary to popular belief, it’s becoming increasingly common for physicians, therapists, counselors, and other healthcare professionals to conduct appointments through telework.

Are remote work and work from home the same?

Both employers and employees often use these two concepts interchangeably. However, the key aspect of remote work is location independence, which doesn't involve working exclusively from home. In other words, as long as employees have a reliable internet connection, they can be productive regardless of their work setting.

Alternatively, work from home specifically refers to working from a personal residence. While working from a home office is a common type of remote work, it doesn't encompass the entire spectrum. Some employers prefer that their remote employees work from home to minimize distraction and eliminate technical issues that may be encountered elsewhere.

Tips for managing remote workers

There are significant advantages to remote work. For instance, companies can tap into a wider international talent pool, potentially finding the best candidate with the requisite KSAOs for the job—regardless of location. However, when hiring remote workers, fostering a strong team spirit and ensuring clear communication may be difficult without the natural interaction that comes with a physical office. Here are some tips to keep remote workers engaged and motivated:

Shift your management style 

Remote work demands more trust and autonomy. In many cases, tight supervision may be tempting for untrained leadership. However, not giving remote workers enough room to make their own choices and carry out their tasks damages morale and productivity—potentially affecting employee retention.

Set clear and measurable objectives

When hiring remotely, organizations should focus on SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. This measure empowers remote teams to take ownership of their work and holds them accountable for achieving results. 

Perform regular check-ins

Monitoring all remote teams helps human resources track progress and address any roadblocks. However, these assessments should be focused on solutions and support, not micromanagement, to prevent employee turnover.

Offer the necessary tools

Remote workers often rely on technology such as computers, video conferencing software, cloud-based applications, and project management tools. These allow them to collaborate effectively with colleagues and complete tasks more efficiently. 

Encourage self-discipline and communication

These skills are necessary to overcome challenges related to potential isolation in remote settings and maintain productivity during these periods.

How to measure remote worker productivity

In remote workforce management, monitoring what remote team members are doing is essential to ensure efficient workflows. This approach allows employers to identify whether their current policies are helping meet business goals or if they need readjustment. Additionally, measurement helps identify potential obstacles that remote workers face so that businesses can give them the resources they need to succeed.

Without clear metrics, however, it becomes challenging to evaluate an employee's performance and identify areas for improvement. Some ways employers measure remote worker productivity include:

  • Goal achievement: Businesses should align individual and team goals with overall company objectives. To achieve this, it’s necessary to continuously track progress toward these goals and use them as a benchmark for performance.
  • Project management tools: These provide visibility into individual and team workloads. They help team leaders and other members track task completion, deadlines, and resource allocation. 
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs): These could include metrics like sales figures, customer satisfaction ratings, or the number of completed tasks. Employers should identify KPIs specific to each role or department to better understand accomplishments.
  • Communication and collaboration: These elements are critical to a healthy team relationship and significantly contribute to project success. Businesses must monitor their communication channels and team meetings to assess engagement and information flow.
  • Self-reported metrics: Regular self-assessments where employees report on their progress and challenges help keep people accountable. This measure also helps build trust while allowing team leaders to understand productivity.

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