How does remote working work?

Andrew Pyle

What's actually involved on a day to day basis?

This video outlines what it's like to work on a remote team, and some of the daily / weekly tasks you can expect.


Hey everyone, this is Andrew from HelloRemote and today we’re asking the question “How does remote working work?”

This video is for you if you’ve heard about working remotely and are interested to learn more about how it works at an individual level and what it’s like.

If that sounds like you then stick around because I’m going to explain it all step by step, and if you’re interested to learn more you can visit HelloRemote and sign up for our free online course, which is your one stop shop for discovering remote jobs and being in the top 1% of applicants.

So, it’s a really good question “How does remote working work?”

Well the first thing you have to understand is that working remotely is not a good fit for all industries and sectors.

If a job involves direct contact with customers or colleagues, then working remotely probably isn’t going to be suitable.

Remote work is generally best suited to the technology or information sector. This means that people can complete their work on a computer, and stay in contact with their colleagues and customers via phone, email and direct messages.

So where a chef in a hotel can’t work remotely, because he or she needs to be physically present to cook the food for customers, the sales & marketing team at the hotel could work remotely, because they can still work effectively as long as they have a laptop and communicate regularly with management.

Each person on a remote team will have their own job role and responsibilities, so a software engineer will be focused on writing code, a customer support adviser will be helping customers, and a marketer will be focused on generating traffic to the website. 

One of the main features of working remotely, is that everyone on the team is focused on working towards the same objectives, whether that's at a company, department or team level. This is possible through strong leadership and management, who communicate very clearly what everyone should be working on.
Once the leadership team has outlined objectives, each department will interpret and agree how those objectives will be met. Once everyone agrees on the “what” and the “how”, then each person gets to work, based on their particular role and skill set.

Remote companies manage this process in different ways but it’s common to batch work objectives into weekly or 2 week slots, commonly known as “Sprints”. So at the start of the two weeks, everybody knows what they need to do, and what the end goal looks like.

Once a team has started their two week “slot”, they will typically have a call once a day to talk about their progress. Everyone on the team gets to say what they did yesterday, share what they learned, and then update everyone on what they intend to achieve in the next 24 hours. It’s also a great opportunity to ask for help, if anyone is faced with a “blocker” which is something stopping them from progressing towards their individual objective.

This way, everyone is clear on who is working on what, and can offer help and advice if people are struggling. It’s also a great way of communicating any issues which may have an impact on the work somebody else is doing.

As I said before, lots of remote companies approach this in different ways, but hopefully it demonstrates how remote teams can plan and execute their work, and communicate effectively, so that everyone knows what’s going on, even though nobody’s in the same building, or sometimes even the same country!

This is why you might see on job ads for remote vacancies, that the candidate must live in a specific country or timezone. Getting everybody on a call every day, to share updates is absolutely vital, so if you have employees that need to get up in the middle of the night to attend a call, it isn’t going to be great for their work life balance, and they’ll soon look for another job.

So as a remote worker, you’ll probably start your day as you usually do. Many people enjoy the flexibility of dropping the kids off at school, or getting some exercise in at the start of the day. Once you’re ready to start work, you’ll power up your computer and will probably see some messages come in overnight from colleagues that work in different time zones to you. Many remote workers like to batch their communication at set times during the day, like at the beginning, middle and end of the day. This way, they’re not constantly reacting to messages all day and can get on with the tasks they need to complete.

Then, with minimal distractions, you’ll be able to get into your work with deep focus, which is why many people say that remote work allows you to be more productive. At some point, you’ll have your daily call where you update your team on the progress you made yesterday, and what you intend to work on in the next 24 hours. 

Then, aside from making yourself a nice lunch and making sure you take some breaks away from the computer, you’ll be free to get on with your work as you see fit.

A few times a year, remote companies like to get the entire team together face to face, so they’ll fly everyone to the same place and all work together for a week or so. These “off site” trips are great for forging relationships with your teammates, building a great company culture, and have everyone on the same page for any forthcoming company objectives. Spending quality time with people who you normally communicate via phone, email and direct messages can help improve collaboration on future projects.

So hopefully you now have a better understanding of how remote work works, you might want to take a look at some of my other videos to learn more. If you’ve found this video helpful, you can let YouTube know by clicking like & subscribe. Or head over to HelloRemote to see our free tools and training to help you land a remote job, fast.

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