Millions of people around the world now work remotely for some, or all of the time. This is made possible by advances in technology and wireless Internet connectivity, but also a realization that working remotely can greatly improve the speed and efficiency at which work is completed, and therefore enhance a company’s overall productivity.
Remote work isn’t just about working from home. There are many different ways to work and collaborate when working virtually, and as new ideas and innovative technological solutions continue to surface, the world of remote work will continue to change and diversify. This glossary reflects some of the key terms currently associated with remote working.
The practice of making use of telecommunications – such as the Internet, email, and a cell phone – to work from home rather than commuting to a central office location. Telecommuters can also work from other ‘third place’ locations such as coworking spaces, business lounges and coffee shops.
Work from Home
Also known as ‘telecommuting’. Some entrepreneurs and freelancers, as well as permanent employees, can carry out their regular work tasks at home by making use of the Internet, email and a cell phone along with digital tools such as video conferencing and collaboration apps.
Working remotely is the practice of working outside of a traditional office environment, usually at home or in a third place location such as a coworking space or a coffee shop. Remote workers collaborate with their team members through digital apps such as video conferencing and instant messaging, alongside traditional communication tools such as email and phone.
Remote working is usually associated with digital work, or ‘virtual work’, which can be carried out using mobile devices such as laptops and smartphones. It also relies on Internet connectivity, usually with a wireless connection, and digital apps and tools to help workers communicate and collaborate effectively.
A term used to describe people who combine remote work and travel. As the name implies, digital nomads are nomadic in nature, moving around from place to place and working remotely on a freelance or contractual basis, or as an entrepreneur. Digital nomads normally require a work visa or a travel visa and are able to enjoy their work/lifestyle with the help of mobile technology, wireless Internet connectivity and cloud computing. Typical occupations include travel blogging, freelance writing, web development, design, and consulting, among others.
A person who works on a self-employed basis for different companies. Freelance workers, sometimes known as ‘gig workers’, typically charge by the hour or by the task and often work remotely, using a home office or a coworking space to carry out their work. The rise in freelance work is largely attributed to advances in mobile technology and cloud computing, which enables freelancers to advertise their skillset and work for companies without the need to commute daily.
Similar to freelancers, ‘gig workers’ are usually self-employed and carry out short-term tasks, known as ‘gigs’, for different companies. The ‘gig economy’ is the term used to describe this labor market, which is characterized by short-term freelance jobs – which can be anything from a delivery service to data entry work to web development.
A virtual office provides a combination of services, a workplace, technologies, and processes for remote workers. Virtual office services include a business address, mail forwarding, monthly access to meeting rooms or desk space, live receptionist services, a business number, and a VoIP phone system. Businesses can choose which services they need, and can often add or remove services depending on their requirements.