When some people think of “remote” working, they think of a beach hut in a far away country, staring at the sea.  Others might think of working from home, whilst others could think of working from an office in a different country, or a different town in the same country. Remote working can also mean working in a satellite office down the road from Head Office.  Some remote working requires people to be in the same time zone, the same country, or have the ability to come to the office from time to time. Some remote working is anywhere, anytime, any place. Which do you prefer? 

Working from home was often seen as a temporary perk, or something you might do if your child was sick. Now it is seen as almost the normal way to do things. Many businesses have expanded their use of remote employees to keep operations running during these difficult times. It has mostly been a success, with companies reporting increased productivity and happier employees who aren’t commuting as much. People can spend more time with their families, they are spending less money on food, drink and petrol. There are several bonuses to working from home. 

For many individuals, one of the benefits of remote work is the ability to work from home, wherever that may be. Even as working from home (WFH) becomes increasingly common, a new kind of remote work is gaining traction: working from anywhere (WFA), in which people may live and work anywhere they choose, often inside a country, but in certain cases anywhere in the world with a decent internet connection. The vast majority of remote jobs, on the other hand, need a person to be stationed in a certain place. Some jobs have IP restrictions or require your internet connection to be secure and stable. 

The ability to work from home without having to go to a physical office is often what allows those with caregiving responsibilities to participate in the workforce at all. Furthermore, most companies have set “core hours” during which employees are required to be present. This gets challenging if there are too many time zones to cross. If a company wants its employees to connect digitally in real-time, they may need to live in certain time zones to ensure that work hours overlap and communication is feasible. Also, when employees transition to remote work status, particularly when remote workers are located out of the country, legal complications may arise. If workers reside in other cities, or countries, the regulations in those regions must be observed too.

To avoid such misunderstandings, firms should carefully specify the ground conditions when offering remote jobs, and employees should question how “remote” they could be if they’re thinking about transferring.