The Remote Work Revolution: What It Means and Why It Matters

By Rad Aswani

If you’ve been living anywhere besides under a log, chances are you’ve heard of the term remote work.

Even before the pandemic, working remotely wasn’t unheard of. But once lockdown hit and companies started closing their offices…well, that’s when the remote work revolution really began.

But what exactly is remote work? Is it simply working from home? Getting the job done outside of the office? And why has it stuck around even after almost everything else has settled back to normal?

We’re here to answer all of your burning questions about remote work, its importance, and how to make it work for your company.

The True Meaning of Remote Work

Remote work is an employment model that allows employees to work from any location rather than gathering at a central office. Remote work can happen anywhere from a spare closet to a hotel office to a hip café or coworking space.

Many terms are used interchangeably with remote work, including hybrid work, working from home, and telecommuting. While all of these models share certain similarities, each one is slightly different.

  • Remote work:  A flexible work model that allows employees to work anywhere rather than commuting to a central, company-owned office space.
  • Telecommuting: A short-term practice where employees complete projects outside the office using emails, computers, and the phone.
  • Working from home:  An arrangement that requires employees to complete tasks from their homes. Employers hiring for WFH positions may provide employees with the necessary equipment or even a dedicated home office budget.
  • Hybrid work: A model that allows employees to work remotely on certain days with the stipulation they work in the company’s physical office on other days.
  • Distributed work: A workplace model where groups of employees work in various locations. Some employees may be located in the physical HQ, while others may work remotely or from home.

The Benefits of Working Remote

Remote work has exploded in popularity over the past few years, and it’s easy to see why. The freedom, the flexibility, the extra half hour of sleep since there’s no commute….sheer heaven. But that’s not all it has to offer.

A better work-life balance

Taking work online can do wonders for your work-life balance and can improve everything from your relationship with your family to your mental health. With no commute time, less need for sick days, and potential travel opportunities and workcations, remote work gives employees more control over their lives and the chance to break free from the traditional 9-to-5.

Greater autonomy

Remote work gives employees greater control over their workday and environment. Free from the constraints of traditional office jobs, many professionals flourish and become more independent, productive, and invested in their job.

Don’t mistake autonomy for lack of guidelines or accountability, though. Remote workers are just as responsible for their work as team members who commute to the office daily. Likewise, remote workers still need the same leadership, feedback, and human connection as traditional teams.


Flexibility when working

Everyone’s schedules vary, but some remote work jobs offer flexible solutions. While some positions still require more rigid hours, many remote jobs allow employees to work mostly when they want to (providing they’re still being productive, of course). This is great for employees who may have other obligations throughout the day — like picking kids up from school — or who just prefer to work odd hours.

Increased adaptability

Unlike in-person offices, virtual workspaces are inherently changeable and adaptable. This makes them an appealing option for growing businesses, startups, freelancers, and other organizations which may be experiencing big changes. In addition, this scalability means that any big changes are virtually hassle-free — which is great for organizations and employees.

Access to great jobs (and great talent)

Remote work opens up exciting opportunities for professionals and organizations alike. Companies who hire remotely can access and onboard top talent from around the globe that might not otherwise be available if the company only hired locally. Likewise, remote professionals who don’t find the right fit amongst the companies in their city can expand their search to remote jobs outside of their state — or even their country.

How Remote Work Impacts Us Today

The prevalence of remote work has far-reaching effects, some of which are just starting to become apparent.

The economic impact

Remote work has turned out to have a huge impact on the economy. How?

  • World level. What? You think that remote work doesn’t have a global impact. From a reduced carbon footprint (see, we always knew that daily commutes were evil in more ways than one) to establishing global connections with diverse peoples and places, remote work has changed how we interact with the world.
  • City/state level. The remote work boom was very quickly followed by an almost equally sizable travel and relocation boom as workers realized they weren’t tied down to one geographical area. Many remote workers took advantage and moved to more affordable areas, while others embraced the digital nomad lifestyle. These population shifts are still affecting local economies.
  • Organizational level. Done right, working remotely is often much more productive than traditional methods. Additionally, as organizations gain access to amazing talent (and aided by excellent technology), these employers will be able to create even more effective and efficient teams. It also creates opportunities for organizations to save money on rent, utilities, office equipment, etc.
  • Individual level. Not only does remote work create opportunities for professional development and growth, but it also does away with the dreaded commute. And with gas prices just about as high as they’ve ever been, simply not driving or taking public transportation to work daily leads to huge financial savings. Add in reduced costs for things like lunch, coffee breaks, other social events, and wardrobe expenses.

The social impact

When it comes to the social impact of remote work, things get a little trickier. However, there are plenty of ways in which remote work has positively impacted us as a society, including:

  • Providing increased opportunities to spend time with family, friends, and loved ones.
  • Increasing diversity in the workplace and introducing people to others with different life experiences.
  • Allowing employees more time for other activities such as volunteering, personal and professional development, etc.
  • Introducing more opportunities for underutilized workforces, such as military spouses, individuals with health concerns, retirement-aged professionals, or others who may not be able to work an in-person job.
  • Positively impacting employee engagement, happiness, health, and well-being.

However, remote work is not without its pitfalls.

For the remote professional, working online presents a unique set of challenges. Remote workers are much more likely to deal with unclear work policies, micromanaging managers, a loss of motivation, increased feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and frustrating work disruptions. Moreover, for remote workers who are not tech-savvy or prefer to meet in person, remote work can be particularly draining and disheartening.

So, while most remote professionals would opt to continue working online, there’s still a portion that would prefer physical offices instead of virtual ones.


Make Remote Work…Work: Best Practices for Taking Your Team Online

We wish working remotely was as easy as investing in a great computer and headset and jumping into Kumospace. However, if you want your remote work strategy to succeed, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind.

1. Consider the hardware.

Your team will need reliable internet access and access to a desktop or laptop. You may also want to invest in optional extras like a headset or headphones, speakers, and perhaps even office tools like a scanner or printer.

2. Invest in features that make everyone’s job easier.

When you take your team online, you will want to provide them with access to as many relevant virtual tools as possible. Communication and collaboration tools like video conferencing, chat or instant messaging capabilities, and file sharing are an absolute must, as is safe and secure file storage. If your team requires specialized tools, be sure to provide access to those as well.


3. There’s no such thing as too much communication.

The best remote teams are the ones that know how to communicate and aren’t afraid to put those skills to good use. Make communication a priority and approach it in a variety of ways! Team meetings, one-on-one meetings, and quick chats at the virtual water cooler… will improve your team in the long run.

4. Don’t focus on time in the office.

You need to give your team a little trust here. Rather than rewarding or penalizing team members for the number of hours spent in your virtual office, look at the results of their work instead. If someone’s performance is slipping, don’t automatically assume it’s because they’re not spending enough time on their screen.

5. Set expectations early and stick by them.

Your team needs clear policies, procedures, and guidelines if they are going to be successful in your virtual workspace. Talk with your team early on about what you expect regarding time spent in the office, company and individual goals, acceptable safety and security measures, etc.


6. Spend non-working time together.

Don’t underestimate the importance of team building and camaraderie. Even if you don’t work together in person — especially if you don’t work together in person — you need to make sure that your team feels like a cohesive unit. A strong team will be invested in each other’s goals, successes, and solutions. Create opportunities for your team to interact outside of work; for example, by hosting an offsite, a virtual game night, or even taking your office party online.

7. Ask for feedback.

Want your team to be the best it can be? Listen to your team members when they’ve got a concern or want to point out something that’s going particularly well. And don’t wait for your team to volunteer this info, either. Be proactive — ask for feedback in one-on-one meetings, during your weekly team-building exercise, etc. Then, once you know what is and isn’t working, start making changes to your approach.

8. Choose a virtual office platform that’s built for remote work.

Technology is changing the world of remote work (ready for virtual reality meetings, anyone?), and you can choose plenty of platforms for your virtual HQ. Choosing the best is imperative to your team’s success. When you’re picking a platform, look out for features like:

  • Real-time communication capabilities
  • Public and private meetings spaces
  • Cloud-based file-sharing capabilities
  • Project management software
  • Collaborative tools like whiteboards

So, pretty much everything you’ll find in Kumospace (plus some exciting extras you’ll have to experience for yourself). How convenient!


Watch these best practices in action

Seems like a lot of work, right? And it is for most people. But the work is doable, and the rewards are so worth it. How do we know?
We’ve asked organizations just like yours to share how using Kumospace and implementing these best practices has changed the way that their team works. During our journey, Kumospace has helped:

  • A disconnected remote team of 150+ creates a personalized space to gather, collaborate, be social, and reconnect with each other.
  • A global space exploration company host an internship recruiting event that welcomed over 500 students.
  • A community college keeps campus events alive even in the depths of the pandemic.
  • A community-oriented non-profit hosted an unforgettable (and interactive!) holiday party — all online.
  • A mid-sized, totally remote tech company crafts a company culture that keeps employees involved, happy, and connected.

The point is that with a great platform and a little work, your remote team doesn’t have to feel so…well, remote. It can be just as effective and efficient as an in-person team — sometimes even more so. When you and your team put in the effort, your digital workspace will give back benefits tenfold. (Pssst…you can read all these stories and more by visiting our customer stories page.)


The Remote Work Revolution — Looking Towards the Future

Remote work has changed drastically in only a few years; so what might the future hold for it?

Where do we go next?

Remote work was once considered an uncommon occurrence, a nicety but not a necessity. And now? Now many workers have had a taste of the perks of flexible and remote work and most of them don’t want to go back to the way things used to be.

Organizations are changing with the times, and so is their stance on working remotely. As more and more employees demand flexibility in their jobs, employers are meeting these requests by creating or expanding their remote work policies and strategies. We can only imagine this trend will continue in the future for those jobs that are lucky enough to be able to take advantage of virtual workspaces like Kumospace.

How could remote work change our future?

Remote work — whether that be fully remote or hybrid models — is here to stay (at least while Millennials make up the bulk of the workforce, anyway). So, what does that mean for your future?

Unlike traditional in-person offices, the remote work model places a heavy focus on the well-being of the employee as well as that of the company. If you’re a remote work employee, you can expect that remote work technology is only going to get better. And with that, your job is only going to get easier to do. You can expect a continuation or expansion of some of the main benefits of remote work: a better work/life balance and greater flexibility and autonomy in your job.

Organizations can also expect good things to come from a future where remote work is still going strong. Companies who invest time in perfecting their remote work approach will be able to attract some of the best talents in the world and can expect related benefits like increased productivity, exceptional efficiency, and overall growth. In addition, many industries will benefit from this global talent pool — as well as consumers in general, as competitive positions continue to draw in exceptional candidates.


Pitfalls to watch for as remote working continues

While remote work (both now and in the future) offers oodles of benefits, these perks can only be expected if organizations are smart about implementing a remote work program. Unfortunately, from inception to launch, there are plenty of dangers awaiting the companies who think they can just toss their remote workforce on Zoom and call it good.

If your organization is considering embracing virtual workspaces, here are a few common pitfalls and how to avoid them.

1. Forgetting the basics. Things like setting goals, outlining expectations, and establishing communication avenues are often forgotten in the excitement of going digital. If there’s one sure-fire way to fail at working remotely, it’s this. Take the time to go over these things with your team — then you can dive into all the nifty virtual features you’ve been itching to explore.

2. Forgetting the not-so-basics. You’ve got your video conferencing tools, your file-sharing tools, and your real-time chat…but what else does your team need to succeed? Whether it’s something simple like Trello for workflow management or something more specialized like the Adobe Suite, make sure your team has it ASAP.

3. Mistaking “remote” for “isolated.” Just because you’re working online doesn’t mean you can’t communicate. If anything, it means you need to communicate more! There’s no such thing as overcommunication here, so don’t hold back if you need to ask questions, send messages, call a meeting, etc.

4. Micromanaging. Now that you can’t see everything your team is doing, it’s tempting to put on your micromanager hat. Don’t do it. If you want to oversee a successful remote team, give them a little trust. Remember that remote work actually boosts productivity. Focus on that, keep your lines of communication open, and give your team a little freedom, then watch them shine.

5. Too much screen time. Going along the same lines, don’t think that just because you’re remote, it means that you need to log a certain number of hours at the computer. Similarly, avoid the idea that you need to call a meeting for everything. Instead, see what you can get done through more natural communication methods, then lean on scheduled meetings, calls, etc., as a backup.

6. Burnout. Last but not least, one of the worst things that can happen to your remote team is setting them up for failure by requiring too much at once. Avoid toxic productivity like the plague, and let your team know that you value their health and overall wellness. You want your team to be effective, yes, but not at the cost of their mental and physical health.


Experience the Revolution Yourself

The remote work revolution has been coming for a while, and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. But, more importantly, we’ve seen just how far-reaching of an impact remote work has on everything from individual employees to states, countries — even the world.

There are numerous benefits associated with remote work. Still, employers and employees must work together to achieve these by implementing remote work best practices and remaining flexible as technologies continue to evolve.

We don’t know exactly where the future of remote work will take us next, but we do know that establishing a virtual office today will only be beneficial in the long run. So get yourself acquainted with your new online office (or transition entirely to remote work if you’re ready for it!). Kumospace is a great virtual office software tool to consider. Here you’ll find the internet’s most delightful mix of fun online spaces and essential remote work features. Our platform is perfect for hosting everything from meetings to virtual date nights to large online events.

Jump into the world of virtual workspaces today (or reach out to one of our reps if you need a hand to hold while you’re making the leap).


Transform the way your team works from anywhere.

A virtual office in Kumospace lets teams thrive together by doing their best work no matter where they are geographically.

Headshot for Rad Aswani
Rad Aswani

Rad has over 7 years of experience in Marketing. Currently, she is the fun Digital Marketer at Kumospace. She leads initiatives such as influencer marketing, SEO management, and social media to name a few. Outside of work, Rad enjoys traveling, working out, and spending time with her family and friends.

Transform the way your team works.