Remote Work & Culture

Everything You Need to Know About What Remote Work is NOT

When you hear the phrase “remote work,” what pops into your head first?

Maybe it’s the idea that:

You finally get to escape the boss, meaning you can work whenever and however you please.

Or, it’s synonymous with working from homeor wherever you prefer (coffee shop, couch, coworking space). 


Did you find yourself nodding your head yes to the above?

If so, we feel it’s time we share everything you need to know about what remote work is not.

You ready for this? Sure you are. Let’s dive right in.

It’s not the same as “working from home” occasionally.

You may hear “remote work” and “working from home” used interchangeably. But, the two are, in fact, pretty different. The former refers to the idea that you’re consistently working away from your company’s traditional office setting. For that reason, you’ll have a designated remote workspace in your home and maybe even preferred spots to venture to for a change of scenery (whether that be a coffee shop or rented coworking space) and amplified productivity to hit deadlines.

On the other hand, working from home generally means that a company offers a flexible work policy. While you may work in the office five days a week, you’re allowed to occasionally work from home due to a schedule concern (e.g., appointment, a sick child) or a long commute. And because you’re occasionally working under the comforts of your own roof, you probably don’t have an optimal space to get the job done 9-5, Monday through Friday, as you would in your company’s office.

It’s not “easy.” 

Think remote work is easy just because of both the flexibility it affords and the fact that your boss doesn’t have eyes and ears on the inside of your virtual office space? Think again.

Remote work isn’t for everyone. Yes, you can typically get your work schedule to work for you, and you don’t have a supervisor over your shoulder. But it definitely requires the right personality to be able to get things done and stay on task with little supervision.

So, if you’re seriously considering going remote, get real about the heightened level of responsibilities that come with the role by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I work well alone?
  • Am I self-disciplined to work with little supervision?
  • Do I have a quiet space where I can work uninterrupted?
  • Do I have the technology needed for a job opportunity?
  • Do I communicate well through email or video conferencing?
  • Do my skills translate to remote work?
  • If I have children, do I have adequate childcare?

We’ll touch on those last two questions in particular in just a second.

It doesn’t mean all your “in-office” skills translate to remote work. 

Again, remote work comes with its own set of challenges. That said, the skills often deemed to be “winning” for an in-office position tend to differ from those for a remote work position.

For starters, you need to be organized, highly communicative, time-conscious, proactive, tech-savvy, and motivated.

Maybe you have room to grow on any of the above. (Don’t we all?) So don’t hesitate to be upfront and honest with your skill level when building or updating your Instant Teams profile. That way, you don’t end up pushing yourself to expand beyond what you’re qualified for and are comfortable with just to reel in more remote job opportunities.

It doesn’t guarantee you won’t need childcare. 

Here’s something we all know to be true: a significant challenge to spouse employment is the lack of available, affordable childcare. So, while a remote work opportunity may seem appealing because you can be there when and if you need to step away for an appointment or tend to a child who’s home from school or under the weather, it doesn’t guarantee you won’t need childcare on the regular.

Why? Well, think of it this way: you wouldn’t take your kids into an in-office setting and expect to be productive.

The same is true for your remote work setting. Depending on the type of work you’re doing (ex. Shift work where you’re on-call with customers vs. a writer or graphic designer working independently on projects), you may find you need to implement a childcare plan to initiate boundaries between your work and personal life, and create an effective work schedule.

It doesn’t mean you can wave goodbye to professionalism.

You get to work in a more laid-back setting – yay! That means you can toss virtually all professionalism out the door, right? Wrong.

If you want to master the art of working remotely, avoid rocking your sweats for a video call, and instead, dress the part. Even if that means business up top and comfort on the bottom. Go ahead and hide that full laundry basket that’s waiting to be tended to and file away paperwork to keep clutter out of view during work calls. Oh, and remember to communicate mindfully.

At Instant Teams, one of our core values is to communicate mindfully. What does this mean, exactly? We seek purpose and intention in all we say and do. We practice clear and respectful communication that builds relationships and leads to productivity. Because, ultimately, you won’t thrive in a remote work setting without putting top-notch communication at the top of your priority list.

Now, armed with the knowledge of what remote work isn’t, are you ready to start your remote work journey? Create or update your Instant Teams profile now.