Navigating the global remote work landscape
In 2020 Covid forced companies to allow their people to work remotely. Many said it would be a fad, but fast forward three years and now a Gallup survey in June of 2022 found that 8 in 10 people are working hybrid or remote, while only 2 in 10 are entirely on-site. This has spurned a whole new industry where recruiters are recruiting for remote jobs, and workers are getting to choose a better work life balance at a very decent salary.
Remote jobs offer a range of benefits, including increased flexibility, reduced commute times, and a better work-life balance. They also provide opportunities for workers to live and work from virtually anywhere, which can be particularly attractive to those who are looking to escape the high cost of living in big cities.
It would appear that this new work model is a win-win for both employers and employees but as always there are advantages and disadvantages to it. To discuss the finer points and how people can go about navigating the global remote work landscape to both discover and succeed in remote positions Jennifer Bangoura, EdD, Nexford’s Director of Career Innovation, Ana Catarina Miranda, the Sales Development Representative at Remote, and Weh’yee Barkon Founder of Internally, got together to thrash out the details on a recent Nexford Webinar entitled, ‘Navigating Global Remote Work: Tips for finding and succeeding in remote positions.’
Ahead of the curve
Living in Dakar, Senegal, Weh’yee has been working remotely since 2016, so one could say that he was already laying the groundwork to promote remote working as early as that. He tells us that in that region of the world there has been a huge shift to remote work and to meet the demand he founded a company called ‘Internally’ that is helping bring remote jobs to the African continent.
Of that he says, “I think for me, the biggest thing that remote work really does for people’s lives is to open them up to a lot more opportunities than would otherwise be possible were they to be tied to a desk in an office. A lot of people talk about the flexibility that remote work offers, but what seems to come through time and again is the improved work life balance and increased career opportunities that remote working offers.”
Catarina on the other hand works in the sales team for a company called ‘Remote’, that is helping companies hire remote talent legally in any country around the world. So, you could say that Weh’yee and Catarina work on opposite sides of the supply and demand scale. Catarina says that remote work is about changing lives. Talent is everywhere, but opportunities are not always, so Remote’s mission is to make it easier for companies to find and employ talent, and for that talent to find hiring companies.
Not all remote jobs are created equal
It seems fairly obvious to say that remote work is not the same everywhere, so obviously there should be different pros and cons to various aspects of remote work.
To answer this Weh’yee stepped up to the plate, saying that by his own experience remote work was both rewarding and very challenging at times. He says, “The first time I was working remotely, the company was headquartered in New York City, and I was sent out to San Francisco to launch our second location. And so I was remote in the sense that like it was mostly me until I built the team. I did a lot of travelling across the west coast of the country. And then more recently, here, I've actually been globally remote, fully distributed, even super flexible as well, where the company didn't care what time I worked.”
“Sometimes I would stay up all night until six in the morning, go to sleep, sleep all day, and then wake up and start working again. So it was a lot more flexible, a lot more free. Whereas when I was in California, because most of my team was on the East Coast, I was having to wake up early, and it felt a little bit more restrictive than what I'm doing now.”
Weh’yee went on to say that if you are considering a remote job, it’s important to think of the style of work the company offers, and what systems they have in place in order to enable remote work, as that will vary from company to company. And that's going to determine your experience. So it's very easy to say I want a remote job, but to be happy in a job and succeed in it, you first need to ascertain what kind of remote job you want as not all remote jobs are created equally.
He gave further food for thought by saying that before considering a remote job you need to look at the culture. Is it hybrid? Is it fully remote distributed? Is it going to be very time intensive where you have to be in front of the computer for a certain number of hours a day? Those are all things that normally we don't think about when we hear remote, but we should.
Always read the fine print!
Before leaping straight into applying for a remote job it always pays to really comb through the job description because sometimes a company may say that it is a remote job, but when you look closer you might find that the company dictates that you have to remain in the country where the job is located. This can be very frustrating if you do end up landing the job.
To continue with this train of thought, Catarina says, “Often we need to remind ourselves that obviously, not every role can be done remotely, it's just not possible, there are some roles that are required to be done on site. So check the company’s policies on remote work as for example they may dictate that their employees go into the office two to three times a week. That is a classic hybrid position, so it will be a little bit more difficult to work in a different country if you're required to go to the office two times a week. You find a lot of these on LinkedIn, so be aware of this when you apply.”
Pros and cons of remote work
With anything you do in life, and especially when it comes to remote jobs, there are advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed up.
Picking up on this point Catarina talks about discipline. Even if you are working in your pyjamas you need to have a professional mindset that a job needs to be done, not the washing. With freedom also comes a lot of responsibility. So you need to be productive, and master your workflow and your hours when you're most productive. Then track that. Constantly remind yourself that regardless of the task, big or small, you are always accountable! Turn that on its head and it could also be an advantage because you can then follow your own workflow.
Another positive of working remotely is that if the company is a global one you will get to work with different people of different cultures, and get a fresh perspective of things which may improve the way you work and you’ll get to solve global problems. Plus you get the social aspect where some companies do a Zoom social hour, or a coffee break, where everyone jumps on the call, and it's supposed to be fun.
Remote learning best practice!
When it comes to remote working, many struggle to find the best way to do things because different things work well for different people.
On that subject, Catherine says that a great tool that we use a lot of remote and a lot of other remote teams use is video. Too many find it easy to use Teams, Slack, or emails and that lacks the personal touch and things can be missed or misconstrued as when you type things, people can’t pick up tone.
She goes on to mention, “With a video you can see how the person reacts, and how they're talking. You can use any tool, we use Loom to record short videos to send to a person and then you build that communication. The number one thing is to have clear communication between yourself and the people you're working most closely with.”
Going back to discipline, when you work remotely, best practice is to define your work hours and stick to the schedule like you would in an office environment or else it is easy to fall into bad habits. You can set the schedule through Google calendar if that if that's what your company is using.
You also have to exhibit a strong sense of self awareness. Companies want to hire people who have a high sense of self awareness, because that's going to translate to how you work with others. And that, of course, has a cascading effect on your team, your company, and your work. So having that self awareness, knowing what you know, knowing what you don't know, understanding how you work with other people. This is something that throughout Nexford’s courses, you can build that emotional intelligence.
The skills to succeed
The best companies are realizing that if they really want to be competitive, then they need to look everywhere and source talent from everywhere across the planet, and not just in specific time zones.
In order to better position yourself to be able to get a remote job, and be competitive, one of the skills that you need to bring to the table is competitiveness, because if you are working remotely, you are coming up against far more candidates than just if you were applying for a job in your country, or city. And that entails having more skills than others to stand out from the crowd. And if you don’t it’s time to find ways to upskill or reskill.
Below skills the way to stand out as a candidate for a remote job is to use a video resume, and if you’ve bothered to find the decision maker, their contact information, and send them a customised video on LinkedIn, that is going to immediately separate you from the pack. By doing that you are going to leave a lasting impression and one that shouts, “This is a person who is innovative and they took the extra step to do something different.”
Where to find your dream remote job
You have got to do your research, you have to treat your job search and landing these really competitive remote roles, like a research project and really getting with tools like LinkedIn, looking on their social media on Tick Tock, or on other channels on Twitter, seeing what their executives are posting about opportunities, or the company culture. Never use the word ‘random’ in your job search though.
You understand the benefits of remote work, such as a flexible work schedule, freedom to work from anywhere in the world, having a better work/life balance and many more. But where do you go to find the hottest jobs?
Google Trends shows how more and more people have searched for remote work opportunities during the last ten years and here are the top 10 remote job boards to upload your CV to.
So, whether you’re a Software Programmer, Cybersecurity Expert, Content Marketing Manager, or Mortgage Lender, this list of remote job boards can help you find your dream remote working job.
To find out the why the remote working sector is becoming a gold mine for future employees check out this enlightening webinar.
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Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.
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