By now, most of us are more familiar with the concept of remote working than ever before. Although the pandemic year (and a half) has been extremely difficult for many, the option to roll out of bed five minutes before logging on, to prepare a healthier homemade lunch, and really focus on your work without the typical distractions of a modern office has provided a more rewarding working experience for many professionals.
That's before we even get into commuting.
But what exactly of the jobs themselves? Which are best suited to a remote working lifestyle and provide the most rewarding balance? Using insights from the last year we'll try to answer that question and explore why.
Product or project management has long been a role that companies are happy to hire remotely for, but since the outbreak of COVID-19, businesses have seen the benefits of letting their leaders work at a more relaxed and holistic pace.
Product management is an inherently stressful position, where your time is in short supply (and high demand) and the cogs of the machine need to be constantly checked for possible kinks. While there are significant obvious benefits to doing this in an office environment (countless professionals prefer to get up and have a chat with their colleagues rather than wait for a Slack message), remote working and the tools that make it successful can allow for a more complete overview of the situation and better control.
Remote tools have been the MVPs of remote working for many professionals and businesses throughout 2020 and 2021, but product managers have perhaps seen the greatest boost to their role.
Whether it's time tracking tools or collaborative message boards to analyze the progress of deliverables, the nature of remote working demands constant updates across the team, giving managers concrete progress they can refer back to when producing reports for clients or upper management.
Pre-pandemic, it was not uncommon for marketing professionals to work long and strange hours, often just as much from home as the office.
Tales of social media professionals posting on their wedding day and keeping track of campaign progress during family functions were all too common and highlighted issues with how the marketing world approached a work/life balance. While remote working hasn't necessarily solved this invasion of privacy, it has allowed marketers to take stock of their roles, without being pulled this way and that way by pushy managers and clients.
As a remote marketing professional, you get more time to:
- Focus on the data
- Develop multiple pitches for visual campaigns
- Analyze consumer and fan feedback across platforms
- Devote to producing quality content for your audiences
- Communicate with other team members through tools (and communicate tasks more clearly)
The modern office environment (particularly a marketing one) just doesn't allow for this. Sure, clients still want the world at the last minute, but this can be focused on without the prying eyes of managers. Likewise, rather than spending that commute home lining up the weekend's post on Hootsuite, professionals can take a more relaxed approach and do this throughout the day at their own pace. The role is still demanding, but remote working alleviates some of the pressures.
Much like product managers, software developers are typically working on highly complicated projects which demand increased levels of concentration of flexibility.
Once again, the office environment has its pros and cons in that regard,
Yes, being able to lean over to your colleague and ask them for some advice is sorely missed, but Slack or Zoom solve many of these issues and allow you to preserve the solution for prosperity, meaning you can track it along in your own time. Ideal for young software developers looking to make an impression. In addition, remote working once again provides the relaxed environment needed for idea experimentation and problem-solving, turning software developers into even better workers.
Whether they're working in-house for a major corporation or part of an agency developing e-commerce stores, software developers can lift inspiration from other sites, produce multiple concepts and really delve deep into what's causing site-breaking issues without the literal breath of a superior on their neck.
With the pandemic highlighting the potential of online services and stores, pushing more and more people to start their own business at the click of a Shopify subscription or Volusion build (here's an e-commerce Platforms review, for those unfamiliar), software and website developers are more in demand than ever before. Creating environments that let developers work to their full potential is essential for the continued success and productivity of these industries.
After all, who wouldn't rather develop software in their garden than a cramped office?
Like many of the roles touched upon in this list, sales is one where complete focus (the kind an office can rarely provide) is demanded.
Conducting sales calls from the comfort of your home doesn't just make you more relaxed, but allows you to work with no possible distractions, limited awkward face-to-face contact (company meals can really be a waste of time), and more time to research and prepare your pitch (once again, thank you no commute).
Likewise, the people you're trying to sell to are more than likely working from home themselves, giving them a more relaxed attitude and the proper time to consider what you're selling.
Nutshell developed a comprehensive guide to working as a salesperson from home, making multiple points around the importance of comfort in the workspace. Your home is inherently more comfortable than your office, making you a more focused and complete worker who can commit themselves to the pitch.
As long as you're comfortable with virtual demos, powering through technical issues, and working without the immediate feedback face-to-face meetings offer, this could be a hugely successful role for you.
Much like sales, remote customer support benefits from the removal of human contact.
While you can have difficult or even abusive customer interactions over the phone, having the time, privacy, and space to work through your routines and search for solutions allow customer service professionals to provide a more comprehensive response to consumers.
Whether it's e-commerce or B2B solutions, managing calls, emails and social media messages from the comfort of your home allows you to pause, drill down to the core of the issue and respond only when you have a solution that works for both parties. In a traditional office environment where managers want to see you work your magic then and there, you can be pressured into caving into demands or making obvious mistakes.
Having the opportunity to say you'll call a customer back or simply answer emails in your own time (within reason) isn't just good work practice, but conducive to worker mental health.
You don't have to be an introvert to see the benefits of remote working. While we've largely touched upon the importance of comfort and privacy in these chosen roles, there are even more lifestyle and productivity benefits to be had.
Remote working might not be a permanent fixture as we look to leave the pandemic behind us. Many companies will want to keep an eye on their workforce and retain the office spaces that play a role in their brand, but all companies that hire within these sectors (and more) should consider giving their employees the time and space at home to do their best.
Photocredits: Adolfo Félix | Unsplash