What to Look For In a Remote Job
By Arielle Spears
When you think of a remote job or career, you might be envisioning video calls in casual attire, the ability to work from different locations, or escaping your morning commute. Regardless of your reason for wanting to go remote, one of the best ways to find a position that matches your goals is to know what to look for during your job search or career switch. Not all careers can be remote, and not all remote jobs offer the same benefits or flexibility. Here’s what to keep an eye out for when searching for remote employment:
A Track Record in Remote Work
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote positions have increased across the nation, and more are expected to open in the coming years. An economic report from Upwork, a U.S.-based freelancing company, predicts that 36.2 million Americans will work remotely by 2025. That is about 16.8 million more people than before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is an expectation that remote roles will increase, the variety of roles in all industries may not be. When looking for a job or a career with remote opportunities, learning about the industry, researching the role you intend to work in, and keeping up-to-date on industry news and trends can make a huge difference in your future.
Look for industries with a history of remote employment and compare the types of positions within this industry to the current and projected demand for each position. For example, remote work is not a new concept in tech. Remote jobs within the tech industry can include roles like web developer, cybersecurity analyst, DevOps engineer, and data analyst. Many of these roles have a high demand and offer lucrative salaries along with remote opportunities.
According to Lightcast™, the average U.S. salary for an entry-level cybersecurity analyst is $79,300. Cybersecurity has a zero percent unemployment rate for experienced professionals, and Cyber Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions globally in 2023. Plus, learning cybersecurity or leveling up existing skills can be achieved quickly with the help of online bootcamps and training. Considering all these factors, cybersecurity may be a great career or job choice for those looking to go remote.
Work From Anywhere vs. Work From Home
In order to find a remote position that's right for you, it's essential to understand the difference between work from home and work from anywhere and the pros and cons of each.
Work from home positions have many benefits like helping you to avoid in-office distractions, allowing for healthy habits and avoiding illness, eliminating your commute, potentially increasing your productivity, and reducing expenses like gas and childcare. These benefits can lead to a boost in your quality of life. Some work from home jobs require you to operate from a specific state, city, or even residence and might stipulate you to be within driving distance of an office location. Remote at-home roles can also require you to have a dedicated home office space. Some positions may even require you to follow certain security protocols and maintain tools and processes at-home to safeguard confidential business information. While out-of-pocket home office or tool expenses can be tax deductible, there may be upfront costs to working remotely from your residence.
However, people with goals of travel options and flexibility may not find working from home to be the best choice for them and instead opt for working from anywhere. Working from anywhere can be more flexible than working from your home. Some positions specify that you can work from anywhere within the United States. Others allow you to work from any location with a stable internet connection, opening doors for international travel. But between procuring a travel visa or finally making that move to a new location or country you’ve always wanted, you may incur additional expenses that can offset the cost savings of eliminating your commute. And, travel expenses for your work from anywhere adventure may not be tax deductible, unlike home office expenses. Be sure that when selecting between working from home versus anywhere, you keep your goals in mind.
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In a 2021 Harvard Business Review world-wide study, over 60% of knowledge workers surveyed expressed wanting autonomy in their employment future. Autonomy, the ability to own your actions, time and projects, can be a motivator and driving force in a role or career, as well as lead to an increase in job satisfaction. In seeking a remote role or career change for more remote opportunities, look for positions and paths that offer you the level of autonomy you need to feel satisfied in and outside of work.
For instance, in the tech industry, web developers are able to use many of their coding skills independently from other teams. As a result of their independence and the nature of their work, web developers are often able to have more autonomy, work remotely, and maintain flexible schedules.
Even though autonomy gives you some control over your job, it still includes accountability for projects, deadlines, and team communication. It can be helpful to create a list of what aspects of a future job you would like to control and what you are hoping to improve in your life. Then look for positions that highlight those qualities. If managing your own time is your motivation for seeking remote employment, try to avoid job listings that mention time tracking requirements or strict working hours. Autonomy can also be identified in job descriptions by words such as “lead," “manage," “accountability," and “flexibility," as well as statements surrounding choosing your own tools and owning your experience. Workplace autonomy can also be reflected by company values that emphasize employee happiness or well-being.
Remember, the move to a remote career or jobs can be very rewarding, but it's important to find roles and opportunities that best suit your unique needs. A track record of success, a variety of remote settings, and autonomy are just some of the qualities in a remote job or career to seek. Think about what you value, set goals, make choices that benefit you, and above all do your research.
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