The pandemic had a large impact on the way we work. Many people who typically went into their office to do their job had to work from home. This change has left a lot of people wondering not only what working remotely means, but also how do work remotely effectively.
While working remotely isn’t necessarily new, it is new to many people. So what does working remotely mean? It means you perform the tasks of your job wherever you’re located, not in the company’s traditional office. That could be from your home office, your kitchen table, your local coffee shop or the hotel room of a five-star resort.
As with anything, there is a spectrum for the many different types of remote, or mobile, workers. We’ll start with the one you’re likely most familiar with.
Pre-pandemic, being able to take half the day to work from home so you could let the plumber in was seen as a perk. Occasionally mobile workers may sometimes get the go ahead from their boss to spend a day working at home. Whether they’re expecting a package or maybe feeling a little under the weather, the expectation is working remotely is not a norm to get used to, but a perk to be treasured on rare occasions.
Post-pandemic, employees spend some of their work days in office and some at home. This generally follows company policy or department guidelines. Some businesses require their employees in Monday – Wednesday – Friday, others Tuesday – Thursday. Some want employees there at the beginning of the week, allowing employees to spend their Thursdays and Fridays at home. This approach to remote work policy can be done in a number of ways while maintaining company culture and providing employees flexibility.
For full-time mobile workers, that means their home is their office. While these existed pre-pandemic, more and more companies are going completely remote. No more going into the office, no more water-cooler conversations. Full-time mobile workers can enjoy the full flexibility of their telecommuting job. Companies concerned about engagement, productivity and losing company culture can look at the engagement and retention rates of their fully-remote peers to see their worries are unwarranted.
This finally category is mostly a difference in lifestyle. You know how all squares are rectangles but not all rectangles are squares? Well, all digital nomads are full-time mobile workers, but not all full-time mobile workers are digital nomads. Digital nomads can work from mobile, and they do. Whether they’re couch-surfing at friend’s places, AirBnB-ing across the country or booting up their hotspot in a national park, digital nomads make mobile their office.
It’s clear that the lifestyle isn’t be for everyone. And that’s okay! As long as those who do enjoy it are wary of income tax laws in the places they work, they have every reason to continue living the digital nomad life.
With the flexibility it offers, many employees are hoping to continue working remotely in some capacity, hybrid or full-time. Companies still on the fence about their remote work policy have to ask themselves: what does working remotely mean in our company? If employees value the flexibility it offers, perhaps company culture should change to align with that sentiment.
Interested in reading more about remote work? Check out our report on the topic.