While some companies are transitioning to a hybrid model or going back into the office full-time, there are many companies who have adopted a fully-remote workplace. If you are in the market for a new job, you may be interested in trying remote work (or have enjoyed working virtually in the past). Remote work offers built-in flexibility, opportunities for increased productivity, and can suit any family or health needs you may have.
Finding the right remote job may be a bit different than your usual Indeed or LinkedIn search. We’ll walk you through how to search for remote work and find the best job for you.
What is remote work?
Before the right technology existed, remote work meant something very different. With no easy way to get in contact with a colleague (besides a landline, pager or fax), working from home was a lot more independent and siloed.
As Samantha Lambert, director of human resources at Blue Fountain Media, said in an interview, “Ten years ago, remote employment basically meant a telemarketing or customer service position…it rarely was connected with a full-time career. Now, technology affords us the ability to get the same job done, no matter where in the world we are.”
IBM was one of the first companies to offer employees the opportunity to work from home – allowing five to do so in 1979. Just four years later in 1983, 2000 IBM employees worked remotely – the same year that the Internet was created.
By 1987, 1.5 million Americans telecommuted. This was later transformed with the invention of Wi-Fi in 1991. Digital tools like Slack (2009) and Zoom (2011) facilitated more remote work-friendly environments over the years. By 2018, 70% of the world’s population worked remotely at least once a week.
Today, remote work is defined as work that can be done from anywhere besides a corporate office. While it can be known as ‘working from home’ or ‘telecommuting’, the term ‘remote work’ highlights how flexible it can be with varied hours and workspaces. Today, 27.6 million people work from home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Benefits of remote jobs
There are many benefits to remote jobs. In fact, a new study shows that remote work increased employee happiness by as much as 20%, and that happiness at work is directly correlated to overall life happiness.
Other benefits include:
Increased focus – Remote workers are only unproductive for 27 minutes compared to 37 minutes for office workers – a 37.04% decrease in unproductiveness.
Productivity – Remote employees work 1.4 more days a month than office employees – adding up to 17 additional days a year.
Flexibility – The decreased commute time, ability to work from anywhere, and flexibility that remote work affords can increase work-life balance and overall employee satisfaction.
There are also other valuable benefits to working remotely, like having the opportunity to work with people from all over the country and the world, and learn from their experiences and cultures. Even though you may not have to leave home to work, you can still transcend your own bubble and expand your personal horizons in a remote role.
What kind of roles can be remote?
Today, a variety of roles can be remote. The pandemic was a good indicator of just how many jobs can be done from home. While some teams may prefer more in-person work for collaboration or client interaction, others have found that remote work suits them more and enables more productivity.
Typically, these industries are the most remote-friendly:
- Management & Consulting
- Media & Communication
- Information Technology
- Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology
- Personal Consumer Services
There are also specific roles that offer the most flexible work arrangements, including:
- Database architect
- Salesforce developer
- Solutions engineer
- Machine learning engineer
- Product marketing manager
As you’re seeking remote opportunities in your field, don’t hesitate to ask your network and prospective employer how a role may work in a remote setting. Companies may differ by department – while one team may have flexible hours, another could keep a strict schedule to make communication and collaboration seamless.
How to find remote work
Traditional job posting sites may not be as friendly to finding remote work as newer platforms, although some job sites like Indeed have added ‘Remote’ as a location option. Consider the following sites as starting points and tools to jumpstart your search.
- Truly Remote
- Work at a Startup
- Job Board Search
- Remote OK
- Wellfound (formerly AngelList Talent)
- We Work Remotely
Technology-specific sites like Built In are also good resources, considering the amount of startups and tech companies they feature.
As you are perusing these sites, consider asking yourself the following questions to narrow your search – and to vet companies for your job application process.
- Are there any in-person components to the job? For example, are there quarterly or biannual events where all employees are expected to be in attendance?
- What time zones are the team members you will be working most closely with? Are there any time zones that are preferred for your position to be located?
- Are there expected hours that employees must keep? Or does the company practice flexible work and employees have the opportunity to create their own hours?
- Are there special benefits for remote work, such as a stipend for office supplies or Wi-Fi?
Who is hiring for remote jobs?
If you’d prefer a strategy that is more company rather than policy first, the following list may be useful to you. Legacy companies have years of experience in adapting their own policies to fit what their people need now, while newly remote companies and startups may take an innovative approach to what benefits they offer. Explore the following below:
Applying for remote roles
Remember, finding and searching for a remote job is only the first step. The next step is to apply and interview! While the initial stages of interviewing may be similar to an in-person role with screening calls, it can be daunting to leave a lasting impression over Zoom when you start to meet with more of the team virtually.
It’s important to treat any video interview like you would if you were going into the office to meet people in person. Make sure you look presentable and camera-ready, that your background is neat and work-appropriate, and your equipment is set up properly. Then go and put your best foot forward!