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How to Become a Remote Worker in Covid Times

20 Feb 2022 - Ronald

The more Corona-virus spread, the more normalized remote working became. Find out how to get started in the Teleworking space.

Working remotely

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In 2019, Covid struck. As borders closed, companies laid-off workers, the world as we know it, changed.

People were stuck at home for the first time in a long time. The jobs that were able to go online, did. The occupations needing in-person workers took a hit.

What happened in your world? Did you switch careers? Learn something new?

Covid made the whole world stop and think about what the future workplace really looks like. As percentages doubled, going from 17% pre-pandemic to a whopping 44% during lockdowns, the future looks remote.

What is Remote Working?

Remote working, also known as teleworking, is defined directly as “the practice of an employee working at their home, or in some other place that is not an organization’s usual place of business.” (source)

In employee terms, it’s freedom!

Teleworking directly eliminates the added times you don’t get paid for. Your morning traffic commute? Canceled. Working in pajamas? As long as you’re not scheduled for any zoom meetings, feel free.

Remote Work Variants

There are four different terms associated with remote work you’ll want to know before you send off your CV, consisting of:

  1. Work From Home (WFH)- only home-based. This could be for a short/long period of time. Some jobs offer workdays both in-person and WFH.

  2. Flex Work- no more 9 hour days for you. You’ll be given assignments to complete in a time of your choosing, deadline-dependent.

  3. Telecommuting- 80% of online communication, 20% in-person meetings.

  4. Hybrid- these job postings will show “remote work- temporarily” in their job descriptions. Employees working for a hybrid company will have shared office hours and WFH hours, so it is not technically fully remote.

Remote Job Growth- From 2019 to 2022

Share of job postings mentioning remote or onsite

Share of Hacker News job postings mentioning “remote” and “onsite” (Three-month rolling average, %)

According to Glassdoor, job searches containing the search term “remote” sky-rocketed by 360% between 2019 and 2022. The numbers could be pushed even higher if you total in the remaining searches for hybrid work. Now, the burning question, who’s hiring?

If you are on the hunt for a job in project management, human resources, or graphic design, competition is fierce. However, for the finance-savvy bunch, you’re in luck! Check these statistics to see how much the financial and technical work sector has grown during the pandemic.

It’s been very enlightening to do research into remote working, seemingly as it wasn’t considered “popular” until 2020. Here are some noteworthy key points:

  • In 2018, Global Workplace Analytics reports over 16.8 million Americans were working remotely. The Future Workforce Report predicts this number to boost to 32.8 million in 2025.
  • Gartner forecasts 31% of all workers will be remote by the end of 2022.
  • 37% of US-based jobs can be performed at home.

Why Remote Working?

The benefits of switching to a remote work lifestyle will surprise you! Not only do employees report being more productive, happy, and focused- they say the change did wonders for their mental health too.

The stress of a daily commute, office politics, and an unbalanced work-life schedule leaves people feeling dim and burnt out. The remote working niche reflects a 25% lower turnover rate than their in-person career counterparts. In fact, 24% of remote workers are so content with their newfound working freedoms, that they would be willing to take a 10-20% pay cut to keep out of the office.

Data doesn’t lie!

Remote working statistics

Whoever said, “Home is where the heart is,” wasn’t lying!

How to Become a Remote Worker

You’ve gotten this far, and you’re ready to make the switch. Congrats, you just completed the first step in your remote working future.

Step 1- Find out if remote working would work for your personality style.

Extroverts have a difficult time adjusting to a remote workplace since it drastically cuts down on workplace socializing. You’ll need to uphold your own working habits as well. Would you consider yourself a procrastinator?

Step 2- Find a career that matches you.

Woman working

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

The teleworking space is heavily saturated with jobs such as writing, web developing, virtual assisting, IT troubleshooting, and more.

There are tens of hundreds of online job boards advertising remote work openings. Once you find a field that works for you, determine if you want to be contracted or freelance.

Here are three reputable sites for contracted remote work:

  1. This site! Remote Gecko’s job board.
  2. FlexJobs
  3. Remote.co

And three reputable sites for the freelancers:

  1. Upwork
  2. Fiverr
  3. Freelancer

A note to keep in mind for new freelancers, word of mouth, and positive feedback are ideal. A lot of clients hiring a newer employee to the field want some evidence that you can walk your walk.

Step 3- Prepare your resume.

Your CV is your first impression, so it’s key to market your strengths well. Try out a resume builder to keep it professional, or design your own in Canva.

What do remote employers look for?

  • Solid communication skills
  • Knowledge about tools: For example, if you’re applying for an SEO-Specialist role, speak about your proficiencies in Ahrefs, Semrush, etc. For programming, discuss coding languages. For Virtual Assisting, speak on communication and management platforms, such as Asana, Slack, Trello.
  • Results: Companies don’t want to know how well you can market, they want to see results. Can you back up your skills?

Step 4- Set up a digital workplace.

You got the job, now what comes next? As you’ll be working from home, make sure your working space is organized and to your liking. You’ll be spending a lot of time there, and I cannot recommend enough to have a place designated for plugging in/out of a work mindset.

Efficiency is everything. From managing applications, to computer speeds, and internet access.

Remote Work Checklist

Checklist

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Before you go, don’t forget these essentials for working from home!

  • Workplace Lighting and Setup

It’s not good for the eyes to work in dim-lighting. Your focus will fade quickly if the lighting in your home office isn’t adequate. Prep the place to be clutter-free, and throw in a plant or two to keep it fresh.

  • Supportive Equipment

Have you ever tried to work on an assignment from the couch? Miserable, isn’t it?

Invest in yourself. Invest in your body.

The strain from improper chairs or laptop height causes back pain, neck cramps, and lowers your efficiency to perform well in your new job. I recommend a laptop stand and an ergonomic chair for your new home office.

  • Grab Some Gear

Depending on your new position, you’ll want to invest in some nice headphones for meetings and blue light-blocking glasses for long nights on the web. Other bonus equipment to level up your setup can be found here. 

  • Set a schedule

Although it seems obvious, setting work hours and home hours is cardinal. Know when to take breaks, actual breaks. Working from your home allows distractions such as errands, cleaning, or snacking. A break is a break, just like you would take at an in-person workplace. Your mind needs it.

Remember, if this is your first go at a completely online working lifestyle, there will be oddities and adjustments. Many remote workers talk about loneliness, unproductivity, or inability to clock out mentally. Call a friend on your break. Use the Pomodoro method to manage work and time.

If you feel lost or have difficulty with these new changes, it’s totally normal, take a deep breath, you got this!

Unplugging- Final Thoughts

Woman working from home

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Before we sum everything up, how do you feel? Are you ready to take the leap into a freer career path?

In times of Covid, remote jobs are flourishing. It’s never been easier to work in your chosen field from the comfort of your own home, anywhere on the globe. If you’re aching to get out of your hometown, take this chance to go worldwide and check out the best destinations for digital nomads.

I’ve been working remotely full-time since 2020, with no plans to return to the normal, American 9-5. I’ve found more time to explore my hobbies deeper, manage my goals, and start-up side businesses.

The future is remote. Step into newfound working freedom today and send off some applications!