Remote work is a trend that has been gaining popularity over recent years. There’s no doubt that despite all the difficulties the pandemic came with, expanding the availability of remote jobs has been one of the biggest benefits. The proliferation of online work and collaboration platforms like Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams has allowed a lot more flexibility within the workforce.

In years past, it was unheard of to have a job where you didn’t have to go into the office every day. The growing push for remote jobs started with the digital revolution, allowing employers to provide hybrid schedules for their employees, where they would have set days that they came into the office and Saturdays that they worked from home. The increasing ability of collaboration and video conferencing platforms to provide all of the conveniences and connections you would have while working in the office, despite being in your home, is allowing employers to offer full-time virtual roles. If you’re wondering how to get in on this growing trend, read along to find out how you can work remotely and still be a productive and valued employee.

Top remote jobs and industries

Remote roles are not only attractive to employees, but forward-thinking employers are using this movement to reduce their overhead by downsizing office space and attracting skilled employees that prefer remote work. By leaning into remote roles, rather than fighting against them, innovative companies can save money by paying for less square footage, utilities and consumables, all while being an attractive employer for top-tier talent

While many careers can be adapted to remote work, some are, by nature, more conducive to this style. If your daily workflow sees you making lots of phone calls, sending emails, communicating with clients, or doing in-platform design or writing work, chances are you can easily convert it to a remote role. Requiring a high level of trust from employers, remote jobs are often based on commission, have clear milestones and project deadlines, and are easily measured with key performance indicators (KPIs). Below is a list of the most common remote job titles:

  1. Accountant
  2. Engineer
  3. Teacher/ faculty/ tutor
  4. Writer
  5. Consultant
  6. Project Manager
  7. Customer Service Representative (CSR)
  8. Business Development Manager
  9. Account Manager

One of the great things about remote work is that there are a lot of freelance opportunities. If you’re considering a career change, you can go after entry-level roles and maintain a full-time in-office schedule until you build up enough experience to move into fully remote work. It can be a bit hectic once you reach the tipping point where your side work is getting busy and it’s tough to juggle both jobs, but it’s all part of the process!

Easing into remote work is also a great way to test the waters and see if a career change suits you. Consider factors such as understanding remote work tax implications. Instead of fully diving into a new type of job, you can take on small freelance projects that fit into your current schedule and see if you think that type of work would suit you on a full-time basis. If so, great! If not, you’ve tried something in a low-risk way, and it might still be something that works for you to make extra money on the side — if not full-time. 

Improving your skills

Another plus of the digital movement is that learning new skills can now be done easily online. Instead of gaining new certifications by registering for an in-person night class or attending an off-site training program, employees can now enrich their skillset on their own schedules online. Staying current on new technologies and methods is a top-notch way to help you to stand out from your peers and can be the thing that enables you to beat out the competition for the best roles, thereby facilitating your career growth.

If you’re not sure where to start, working with a career coach can be a great way to help you work out what you want and how to get there. Career coaches specialize in assisting people in distilling their strengths and desires for their careers and will work with you to set up a plan for how to get there. 

If you’re thinking about doing some online education, here are a few areas that you could focus on to add another level of knowledge to your resume:

  1. Coding
  2. Digital marketing
  3. Technical writing
  4. IT & Technical Studies
  5. Project management
  6. Business management

Remote-first companies

A new advent in the past decade, remote-first companies work oppositely from remote-friendly companies that are primarily office-based but with some availability for remote roles. The default for remote-first companies is that the majority of their workforce is remote, with only specific essential roles being office-based. 

Remote-first companies understand that keeping employees engaged and connected is crucial to the success of their business. Regular virtual events, like happy hours, training sessions, and employee appreciation gifts can foster a sense of community and help to build strong relationships within the team, even when employees are physically dispersed. In addition to improving employee engagement, this type of participation can also increase productivity and boost overall job satisfaction.

How to find a remote job

In the wake of the digital age, new remote worker opportunities have been flourishing, catering to various skill sets and professional backgrounds. These opportunities range from full-time remote positions in large corporations to freelance gigs for independent contractors. Startups, digital agencies, tech companies, and even traditional businesses are increasingly embracing the remote work model, expanding their talent pool globally. This trend is not confined to tech-related roles; remote work opportunities now extend to diverse fields such as customer service, sales, education, healthcare, and more. For job seekers, this means a broader array of options and the possibility of finding a role that not only suits your professional skills but also accommodates your lifestyle and preferences for work-life balance. Remember to scrutinize each opportunity carefully, considering not only the role itself but also the company’s culture, its stance on remote work, and its track record in supporting remote employees. The right remote job can offer not only flexibility and independence, but also exciting challenges and rewarding career growth.

Not every job will be the right fit for you just because it’s remote. Similar to in-office jobs, each company will have its own culture and style, even if you’re remote. Taking time to learn about the company, its culture, and its expectations is critical to finding the best fit for you. It’s important to also keep in mind that companies are increasingly turning towards pre-employment assessment solutions to help vet candidates in addition to their resume and portfolio.

When you’re first getting started looking for a remote role, there are a few apps and websites that you can turn to for opportunities:

  1. Indeed
  2. LinkedIn
  3. TECLA
  4. UpWork (freelance only)
  5. AngelList
  6. ZipRecruiter

Always go through well-known websites when looking for online work, and keep an eye out for scams. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Any job offers that come from strange email addresses that don’t end in the company’s email client are likely bogus unless you can verify that they’re from a legit recruiter. 

Virtual recruiting process

Get your internet on point

Remote working is contingent on one central element — your internet. In many cases, employers will require you to submit verification of your internet speeds to be considered for a role. They need to verify that you have a stable and strong internet connection to be confident that you can be reliable. Even if this isn’t a prerequisite for the role, you’ll want to do this anyway since having patchy internet can make you look unreliable — the last thing you want to appear to be to a new employer. 

Creating an online portfolio 

Creating an online portfolio can be a huge factor in winning new clients if you’re a freelancer or landing a full-time remote role. Having a quick and easy way for prospective employers to check out your work history can give you a definite edge over people who only submit a written resume. Keeping your portfolio updated and organized, with descriptions of each item, is a great best practice to put your best foot forward. 

The ultimate resume 

When you’re putting together a resume to target remote roles, some key considerations will make you look even more attractive to potential employers. Making sure your resume is concise and updated is critical, but there are a few more specific things for remote roles. If you verify your internet speed, put that into an information section. Additionally, include your experience and familiarity with common collaboration platforms like Slack and Teams, as well as project management programs like Trello and Redbooth. In the same way, taking the time to develop your cover letter is a golden opportunity to express in a brief, concise and formal way what you are made of and how attractive your professional profile is to the employer.

Nailing online interviews 

Doing a great job in an online interview comes with all the same advice as an in-person interview, with some additional elements to consider. Your lighting, background, and camera position all contribute to your overall image, so ensuring you have a clean backdrop and good natural lighting is essential. In addition, take time to test your video beforehand so that you can ensure your camera angle presents you in the best way. 

Being professional in virtual meetings is crucial for remote job seekers. One of the key aspects of professionalism is mastering virtual meeting best practices. This includes preparing and testing your technology, creating a professional environment, being punctual and respectful of time, communicating clearly and effectively, minimizing distractions, and actively participating.

Working remotely 101

Optimizing your wifi

If you’re finding that your home wifi connection isn’t as stable as you’d like, there are some easy fixes you can try. If you can’t move your router closer to your workspace, consider installing a wifi range extender to gain a stronger connection. 

Wifi security

On the topic of wifi, be wary of working from coffee shops and other public wifi networks. The security is minimal and you risk having sensitive data stolen from your laptop. Research the different alternatives to protect personal data when working in public wifi networks and remember that unless you can connect to most private VPN, it’s best to only work from secure networks.

Creating a schedule 

Creating and sticking to a schedule is critical for people who work from home to maintain productivity and consistency. Chances are, whatever worked best for you in the office to organize your day will also work best for you when you’re working from home. Routines help us structure our days, which applies whether you’re working in an office setting or at home. Establishing a schedule will help you to be present while remote team meetings are taking place. Take some time and experiment with what type of routine works the best for you and what helps you stay consistently productive throughout each day, and make an effort to stick to that. It can be tempting to stray from routines when working from home because of the increased amount of flexibility. However, doing this can result in a varying level of productivity which usually spells trouble.

Setting boundaries

For other work-from-home employees, setting boundaries is incredibly important. It’s an easy habit to fall into to let random and spontaneous plans guide your day, but it rarely leads to good outcomes in your work life. Whether it’s letting your family know that just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you’re available to them throughout the day or enforcing a schedule for yourself, it’s essential to set boundaries.

To prevent this from happening, some types of routine scrum processes can be automated in virtual project management assistants . So set routine but crucial processes on autopilot, and you only look at statistics and prioritize tasks.

Making it big as a freelancer

Being a freelance employee means you work for yourself and contract out timelines or projects with clients instead of working for one employer full-time. There are many benefits to freelancing, including scheduling flexibility, choosing projects that interest you, and having the freedom to work where and when suits your lifestyle the best, and not worrying about things such as what happens if you fail a pre-employment drug test.

This isn’t to say that being a freelancer is all rainbows and puppy dogs, though. It comes with an increased risk of uncertainty and where your future income will come from, as well as the trials and tribulations of dealing with clients as a business owner daily. Learning to deal with demanding clients is a part of the freelance learning curve and you will make some mistakes and learn from them along the way, eventually finding your groove if you decide that freelance is the way to go for you. 

Becoming a digital nomad

People often mistake remote jobs for a digital nomad lifestyle, but the two aren’t necessarily the same. Well, digital nomads do technically work from home — home can be wherever they find themselves at the moment. Typical work from home employees do actually work from their homes. They have an address and a more traditional lifestyle that just happens to include working from home instead of a classic in-office space. Digital nomads, on the other hand, travel the globe while also working. This isn’t to say that they don’t have a fixed address, but they find themselves on the road in foreign countries more often than at home. In the same way, it is important to consider travel insurance while traveling as a digital nomad, which assists you in case of unforeseen events during the trip.

It’s important if you want to be a digital nomad to ensure that you have a solid understanding of what you need to function efficiently and productively while traveling. Things like ensuring a consistent Wi-Fi connection, run effect and knowing your travel schedule will let you be there for your clients and your team while also getting to experience different countries and adventures. 

There’s no doubt that there are different points of view on the value of remote jobs. While some take the dim view that employees are less productive and take advantage of employers in a remote work set up, what is increasingly being seen is that people are getting to experience life more fully, spend their time where it means the most to them, and live life in a way that makes them happy. It’s hard to deny that those are great benefits, but they mean that you’ll have to make sure you do your due diligence and are organized, responsible, and reliable. Once you’ve sorted out how that looks for you, there’s no reason that you can’t have an adventurous and fulfilling career working remotely.