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Remote work: definition, concept, jobs, tips

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It is a mega-trend: remote work (freely translated: "remote work"). Working from home or from any location. WLAN and a laptop are usually enough. Digitization and New Work make it possible. With numerous advantages: Employees - more precisely: the "remote workers" - often make the concept of location-independent work more satisfied and productive. It is said to ensure greater well-being and a work-life balance. But, it has to be said, the “remote work concept” also has a few veritable disadvantages. What these are, where you can find remote jobs and what you should pay attention to - you can find out here ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: what does remote work mean?

According to the “Cambridge Dictionary”, “remote work” is “when an employee mainly works from home and communicates with the company via email and telephone”. Wikipedia, on the other hand, knows a number of - sometimes bizarre - synonyms for remote work:

In addition to these synonyms for remote work, there are a number of paraphrases:

The employee does not work permanently in one office, but somewhere else. That doesn't necessarily have to be your own four walls, but can also be a mobile office or a bar in Bali. There are, however, some differences between these terms. Ultimately, every company that practices remote work defines the term for itself. Because you can work completely remotely or only partially. And there are a variety of tools that the team uses to keep in touch with the remote worker (see also graphic).

Professions in which you mainly write, design, program or make phone calls are ideal for remote work, for example:

  • Accountant
  • developer
  • programmer
  • Graphic designer
  • Online marketer
  • Project manager
  • Copywriter
  • Blogger
  • Ghostwriter
  • translator
  • Virtual assistant
  • Web designer

In other professions, however, presence is required: retail salespeople, nurses and craftsmen cannot work “remotely”.

What is the concept of remote work?

Most of the work in these jobs consists of working on the computer or on the phone. Even if they are done from home, they can be designed as full-time or part-time work like other professions. With working models such as home office and teleworking, the employer often expects the employees to be present occasionally and to work from the company office or, for example, to be present at meetings.

Virtual jobs, on the other hand, are 100 percent dependent on remote work. Often the job titles are appropriate, such as Virtual Administrative Assistant or Virtual Teacher. The subtle difference with a remote job is that it just does not take place at a fixed workplace in a company. This means that not only virtual teams can be referred to as remote workers, but also regional sales employees and sales representatives.

Remote work platform: where can I find remote jobs?

In common parlance and many vacancies on job boards, there is often no distinction between home office and remote work. As a job seeker, you should read the job advertisement correctly so as not to get a nasty surprise during the interview.

There are also a large number of job exchangeswho mainly or exclusively specialize in remote workers. Many German job portals are primarily aimed at freelancers who can flexibly arrange their place of work and their working hours. Including the following:

  • DNXJobs: Remote jobs for social media managers, online editors, key account managers and the like in product management, customer service, IT and programming are offered here. At DNXJobs.de the palette ranges from internships to freelance or permanent positions.
  • Freelance.de: A job exchange especially for freelancers, freelancers and the self-employed. Interested parties can look out for projects in the areas of finance, design, languages, media, purchasing, research and marketing for remote work at Freelance.de, for example.

Many remote work jobs are in the fields of design, programming, marketing and management. English is often the lingua franca, so international exchanges are of great importance for remote workers. Here you will find job advertisements in English:

  • Remote OK: Job offers en masse for CSS, Java and other developers. But also product managers, marketers, SEOs, recruiters and copywriters will find what they are looking for at Remoteok.io. The makers of NomadList are behind the job platform.
  • Remotive: Remotive.io is clearly structured. Users worldwide can search for remote jobs in seven categories: Education, Engineering, Human Resources, Marketing, Product, Sales and Support.
  • Working nomads: Popular contact point for digital nomads. Workingnomads.co also have job offers in the areas of health, consulting, finance and administration in store.

Benefits of remote work

There are a number of advantages in favor of remote work, both for the employer and for the employee. The main pluses are:

productivity

The home office promotes productivity. Scientists have already proven this. Distractions from noisy colleagues and interruptions from meetings are eliminated. And the employees themselves confirm in most of the surveys that they can do more at home. Not to mention the enormous time savings that can be gained through remote work.

Commute

The longer the journey to work, the more unhappy the commuter is with his life overall. Belgian researchers found out. Commuting stresses out, kills relationships, costs time and nerves. And yet more and more people commute to the office from year to year. In 2016, according to the Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research, it was already 60 percent of all employees in Germany - a record! In 2000, only 53 percent of the workforce were commuters.

health

Remote work enables you to do many things: You save the journey, you can sleep longer in the morning. You can sprinkle ten minutes of yoga. Have a power nap at lunchtime. Or go for a jog through the park. Remote work can be a boon to health and wellbeing. But be careful: If Remote Work increases the level of work and stress, the opposite effect occurs (see disadvantages).

Family friendliness

Those who have to work concentrated at home can hardly take care of one or more small children. Separation of professional and private life also makes sense for remote workers. Nevertheless, remote work improves the family infrastructure: drive the child to daycare. Shopping in between. Call grandma briefly and ask how she is. Go for a walk with the dog. Everything easier to manage.

satisfaction

In a US survey of programmers, 53 percent of those surveyed named remote work as the ultimate benefit. Only additional vacation days were even more popular. Anyone who wants to make their employees happy and retain them should think about out-of-office solutions as soon as possible. This is especially true for IT professions.

environment

Remote work reduces the energy consumption of employees. You need less petrol, produce fewer traffic jams, emissions and fine dust. Unless you interpret remote work as a long journey with work in your luggage.

costs

If you work remotely all day, your employer will save a lot of money. Office, parking lot, canteen, elevator, toilet, lighting, telephone, printer and the associated repair and maintenance costs - none of this is required for the remote worker. For employees, however, the following applies: the resources that you tapped for free in the office must now be covered by yourself. Electricity, water, heating costs, coffee, drinks, fruit. However, the bottom line is likely to be a plus for employees. Simply because of the lower transport and catering costs.

concentration

At home there are fewer sources of interference and noise pollution than in the office. Remote workers also have more control over existing sources of interference. TV and radio can be switched on and off, windows opened and closed - just as you would like. This reinsurance is missing in the workplace. Chatting colleagues, flashing printers, ringing telephones, beeps and ring tones everywhere - hardly to be influenced.

Disadvantages of remote work

But we don't want to hide the disadvantages of remote work either. Remote work is not right for every employee. For these reasons:

isolation

The game at the table football, gossip about colleagues, the joint after-work beer - over! Remote work can degenerate into total isolation. With devastating consequences: According to doctors and psychologists, lonely people develop high blood pressure more often, have a weaker immune system, and suffer from insomnia. Loneliness may even reduce brain activity - not a good argument for remote work. But: Social isolation is by no means inevitable. Remote workers can also maintain social contacts.

Time management

Those who work at home have to have their self-management under control. The outer framework is missing here and sometimes the weaker self has to be defeated. In the morning, remote workers get an overview of what is going to happen in the course of the day in order to then plan the tasks accordingly. Motivational words from colleagues or a spontaneous brainstorming session are usually left out.

flow of information

The radio already ensures a constant supply of information. Remote workers are cut off from this stream. That can be detrimental for team cohesion, for coordination within a project, even for your own advancement in the company. On the other hand, a well thought-out communication mix - whether that includes Slack, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and / or Skype - can ensure the flow of information.

salary

Clearly: if you are not present, it is more difficult to impress your boss. Can draw less attention to himself. Stanford scientists have also scientifically supported this assumption. Their result: Home workers get less pay increases and fewer promotions than office workers - even if they are demonstrably better performing.

Workload

This is also no longer a secret: those who work remotely usually work longer. Remote work is actually supposed to have the opposite effect, freeing up resources and preventing loss of time. Scientists from Basel calculated the number of six hours that home workers work more than presence workers - per week! A huge difference that testifies: In remote work, the emphasis is often on “work”.

How many people already work remotely?

Remote work is booming. According to an evaluation by Quartz, 2.6 percent of all employees in the USA no longer leave the house for their work. Fun fact: This means that there are more people who work remotely than those who walk to work or come by bike. The remote trend is favored by the so-called gig economy, the advance of free forms of employment and the desire - especially among millennials - to work independently. But not only they are interested in remote working.

In fact, it is mainly older employees who benefit from remote work. That's what a study by the Pew Research Center says. In the US, 18.8 percent (around nine million people) who are over 65 years of age already work full-time or part-time, and the trend is rising. And these are by no means jobs that suggest sheer hardship, but rather jobs in management, for example. According to surveys, 74 percent of all older employees would like more flexibility in their job, 34 percent could imagine remote work.

Remote work in Germany

Germany has always lagged a little behind the trend until the end. On the one hand, the feared career disadvantages for employees were too great. On the other hand, the company objected that the transfer of knowledge between permanent and temporary experts only works on site. The development of many digital products also requires a high speed of decision-making and implementation.

The corona pandemic is currently showing that there is another way. Companies and authorities are turning around where until recently remote work was unthinkable. The world of work is still changing. It is quite conceivable that remote work will soon be the standard.

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[Photo credit: Bplanet by shutterstock.com]