What Does Work Remotely Mean | Experience Own

You may have seen the word work remotely thrown around a lot in today’s economy, and you may be wondering what it really means. Can you really work from home? Or does that just mean your employer lets you telecommute from time to time? When someone says they work remotely, what are they actually talking about? Understanding the full definition of working remotely will help you decide if it’s right for you.

What Does Work Remotely Mean

Most people seem to think working remotely means you can work from wherever you want, whenever you want. In 2005, 37Signals founder Jason Fried published Rework, a book that outlined his philosophy on remote work. He wrote about why companies should consider hiring people who can work from anywhere and included real-life examples of employees working remotely for his company.

Nothing could be further from reality unless, of course, you happen to be a long-haul truck driver. For most people who want to telecommute or who are permitted to telecommute, there are rules and regulations in place for what is required and what isn’t. Telecommuting has numerous benefits (for both employers and employees), but just like anything else in life, there are pros and cons that need to be considered when deciding if working remotely will benefit your situation. 

How it Started

If you want to learn more about what it’s like to work remotely, we recommend checking out that book; there are also several blogs dedicated to remote work and how to do it well. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few good starting points How To Start Working Remotely (And Get Your Boss To Approve), 10 Tips For Working From Home Successfully, and Tips For Setting Up A Virtual Office. 

But before you go crazy Googling remote work, keep in mind that it might not be for everyone—just because someone works remotely doesn’t mean they don’t miss face time with their colleagues or bosses. We’ve talked to remote workers who love their job because they have flexibility but others whose biggest complaint is feeling isolated from their coworkers. 

There’s no right or wrong way to approach working remotely, but make sure you understand what it means before deciding if that kind of job is right for you.

The Pros 

If you work remotely, you’re typically not chained to a desk all day. That can be good and bad. On one hand, it’s great to have that level of freedom—no need to slog into an office, no forced interaction with coworkers who just aren’t your cup of tea. On the other hand, if you really do prefer working in an office setting (or at least near other people), working remotely isn’t for you. 

Also, while it might sound nice to wake up when you want and go for a jog or grab some fresh air before heading in to work—and then work from home all day—that sense of freedom can also lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation that are hard to shake on a daily basis.

The Cons

The biggest downside of remote work is that it can be harder to feel connected to your co-workers. You lose some of those natural interactions you would get from a close office, Canfield says. While chatting in person about lunch plans or showing off a new outfit are ways for coworkers to build relationships with each other, chatting over Slack doesn’t have quite the same effect. 

Canfield suggests making an effort to connect with your teammates and ask them about their day outside of scheduled chats if you want a better sense of what they’re like. And consider using video chat services such as Skype or Google Hangouts so you can see what your colleagues are up to even when they’re working remotely.

Why you Should try Remotely Work

If you’re a working professional, chances are at some point in your career you’ve thought about working remotely—being unshackled from your desk and freed from corporate shackles. After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to slip out of their office for a quick lunch or catch up on emails from home in their bathrobe? But what does work remotely really mean? It means whatever you want it to mean. 

No one is asking you how many hours you plan on spending out of your office every week. If a week full of video calls and Slack messages suits your lifestyle just fine, then it works for you—and that’s great!

How it works

Before you can begin a remote career, you’ll need to make sure your company is set up for it and there’s an expectation for employees to work outside of a traditional office. This might be communicated through a formal policy or unspoken culture, but either way, it’s important that everyone is on board with working remotely before they begin. While many companies allow their employees to work remotely on occasion (i.e., work from home one day per week), starting a career as a remote worker means foregoing in-office interactions and immersing yourself in an online community built around your niche. 

This can be scary if you’re used to chatting with coworkers over lunch or exchanging ideas during brainstorming sessions, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be socially isolated—far from it!

Tips to make it easier

  1. 1. Understand what it means to work remotely. This can vary from employee to employee and company to company. While you’re figuring out your work setup, decide what you need from your team, your boss, and yourself in order to feel comfortable working remotely. Make sure all those needs are being met before you make a move. 
  2. 2. Establish an effective communication strategy for all your remote employees. Before you transition into remote work, outline how often (or how rarely) and under what circumstances you plan on communicating with people at work—whether that’s via email, phone, or Skype video calls—and stick to it as much as possible while maintaining a healthy amount of personal life balance. 
  3. 3. Ask for help if you need it. If you’re new to remote work, there will be times when you don’t know what to do next or how to handle certain situations. If something comes up where you feel like your job is on the line because of something that happened at home, talk about it with someone who has been doing remote work longer than you have and see if they have any advice or resources they can share with you. 
  4. 4. Remember why we work remotely in the first place: flexibility! Don’t let working remotely become another thing stressing you out during your day-to-day routine—remember why it’s great!


Just because a job is remote doesn’t mean it’s a good match for you, especially if you have little or no experience working remotely. So as you consider applying for remote jobs. 

Ask yourself these questions: What’s my unique advantage in a work-from-home role? Will I be able to manage distractions while working remotely? Do I feel comfortable communicating effectively and using different types of tools (voice, video chat, text, etc.) with co-workers and clients around the world? Can I comfortably stay motivated without having to physically be around people on a daily basis?

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