Working as a remote worker for an employer
Working as a remote worker for an employer is now considered quite normal. There is now a greater emphasis on employees requesting to work from home on a full-time or hybrid basis. So what does it mean to work as a remote work employee?
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic the majority of staff were located within office buildings based in central locations. The pandemic however, made employers realise they needed to think about how they could continue to operate. They realized very quickly that they needed to keep both their staff and customers safe.
Not all employers embraced the idea of flexible working options. But it should be noted that in some countries (certainly the UK) any employee with 26 weeks service has a statutory right to request flexible-working arrangements. And employers have to seriously consider them!
In this article we are treating the remote worker as being based in a home office. If appropriate the work could also be carried out on a remote basis from other location such as a coffee shop or co-working space.
Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of remote working.
Advantages of remote working as an employee
- Flexibility – because you don’t have to commute you may be happy to consider working longer/shorter hours, or even cover evening/weekend shifts.
- Better working conditions – because you are remote working you can organise your workspace as to how you like it. You don’t have to fit in with other staff who maybe like the radiator on full all year round, or others who like the window wide open in the depths of winter!
- Staff can be based anywhere in the world – this is a highly recognised benefit for employers as it allows access to new talent pools of remote workers that would otherwise be inaccessible.
- Technology connects – Whatever platform you use (Zoom, Skype, Google Teams, etc.) there is a multitude of ways to remain connected to the outside world. TeamViewer, Remote PC, etc. also offer remote access to your equipment if you need critical input from an IT department.
- Financial benefits – no commuting costs, no lunch bills, and no concern about work outfits. It should be noted that in most countries remote workers may be able to apply for tax relief when working from home.
- Better work/life balance – as a remote worker you will not be required to do the daily commute, which will therefore give you more time at home to do the little chores that can soon mount up. (Let the dog out, empty the dishwasher, hang up the laundry…..).
Disadvantages of remote working as an employee
- Remember we are looking at someone who is working on a remote basis as an employee. They will be employed to work from home on a permanent basis, as opposed to a remote worker employee on a hybrid approach.
- Isolation – being a remote worker sounds like a great idea, but it is not right for everyone. Some people thrive when bouncing ideas off others, some like feeling they are part of the team. Some like the support of management and their peers whilst others enjoy the social aspect of working with others.
- Lack of management support – remote workers may feel they don’t get the support or recognition from management for the work they do. Especially if they continually go the extra mile to develop new ideas or finish off tasks but there is no-one present to see/recognise it.
- Possible burnout – can’t switch off. There is the possibility for remote workers to forget to walk away at the end of their working day. It can be very easy for them to think, “aw just 10 more minutes”, which then turns into a couple of hours. On one hand this can be very rewarding because the task is completed, but on the other hand the remote worker will burnout quickly as they overdo things.
- Lack of IT infrastructure – the employer needs to ensure that the remote worker has access to a solid infrastructure. Contact with the office, colleagues, and potential clients all need to be done through stable connections and clear interfaces and platforms.
- Distractions – remote workers need a dedicated area to work from within the home environment. This will ensure that family distractions don’t threaten to interrupt them during working hours.
If remote working on a full-time basis does not sound right for you then consider remote working on a hybrid approach. This would allow you to attend your workplace for a set number of days/hours and then work from a remote location for the remainder of your contracted hours.
Rights as an employed remote worker
Staff employed to work as remote workers have the same rights and conditions as other employees.
Individual countries have their own rules and regulations but there is plenty of advice online. Do a quick search and find what website best covers your jurisdiction. Ensure you have an employment contract that covers your job role. This should include areas such as salary, holiday pay, sick leave, healthcare, etc.
There are a lot of things to consider when accepting a role to work as a remote work employee. Is it right for you? Do you have the correct space to work from? Do you have the right tools to do the job? What are the terms and conditions of your employment? As a good starting point it is best to assume that whatever employee benefits and rules are applicable to someone based in the office then they should also apply to someone who works as a remote work employee.
Can you think of anything else we need to include?