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What Are Remote Workers?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated: May 16, 2024

Remote workers work on a telecommuting basis, often from their homes. Some people working remotely do so while traveling on business for their employer. Many remote workers are independent contractors that aren't employed by a company, but rather pay their own taxes and insurance. Businesses save money on overhead costs and don't have to have benefits such as medical insurance plans for these workers. People working from home can arrange their work hours around childcare and other responsibilities as well as save money on transportation and clothing.

While some people say that remote workers represent the future of work, like Breanden Beneschott, CEO and co-founder of Mechanism Ventures, others aren't as quick to forgo the traditional on-site type of working arrangement. Some people argue that face-to-face communication and creating a physical workplace environment are important, while others maintain that the real problem is that people are caught up in assumptions and conventions because on-site work has been such a large part of our culture for so long. These workers can be in any industry and at any experience level.

Working remotely keeps more people from the daily commute and this is better for the environment as well as traffic congestion. The time spent traveling to and from an on-site job can be better spent on completing work. Yet, not everyone is suited for telecommuting. Some people are extroverted and prefer to work in teams rather than alone on a computer from home. For introverts who prefer to think things through on their own, however, being a remote worker may seem ideal.

Communication is a main consideration for managers working with remote workers. Technology such as email, instant messaging, video conferencing and regular or cell phones can help remedy communications problems. Clear expectations about job performance should be given to workers who telecommute.

Although some people argue that those working at home aren't likely to accomplish as much as they would at an on-site work environment, studies show these workers often accomplish more since their work is always in their preferred environment. Just as at on-site jobs, attitude plays a big role in the quantity and quality of work accomplished by remote workers. Self-motivated individuals who learn quickly and work well without a lot of supervision tend to make the best remote workers. Motivated people who are permitted to work remotely, and are given reasonable work and decent pay, often greatly appreciate the working at home arrangement and are likely to produce efficient, quality work in return.

SmartCapitalMind is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By edselmendoza — On Aug 13, 2013

I totally agree with the part about people being caught up in negative assumptions, thus hindering them from even considering the option of remote work. Company heads must realize that remote workers can be such a boon if the concept is given a chance.

And as parkthekarma stated, it's important to hire the right people to make sure you don't have to be worrying all the time if work is being done. Companies can turn to reliable remote staffing services to make sure of this.

By anon338025 — On Jun 10, 2013

Working at home not only saves time, but is also rewarding because this may also eliminate all the regular hustles that you may encounter going to work every day, like traffic for example, and being late to work.

By anon335182 — On May 18, 2013

Now there is a trend to go for Remote workers worldwide.

I have personal experience with Remplo. I hired a data entry operator and a live chat agent. So far, I've had excellent service.

By MaPa — On Jun 15, 2011

I love working from home, but I can definitely see how it may be hard for people to stay on track with little supervision.

Personally, I do medical transcription, so my boss can see every day how much work I do. I don't really have a problem working when I am supposed to anyway, but with this type of job it would be easy enough to spot and correct if I did.

Other jobs, where you might work on something for some time before turning anything in, it would be easier to get behind.

By parkthekarma — On Jun 13, 2011

@winslo2004 - I definitely understand why people like to work from home, but as a business owner I can tell you that managing remote workers can sometimes be a little bit like herding cats.

There are a lot of distractions in life, and many of them are located in our homes. Children and other family responsibilities, roommates or others in the home, visitors, nice weather, Xbox, they can all be very tempting alternatives to work for the stay-at-home worker.

The lesson I have taken from my experience in having people work remotely for me can pretty much be boiled down to the following: Make sure you hire people who have a proven track record of productivity, and who do not need constant supervision to do their job. If you do that, everyone's life gets easier.

By winslo2004 — On Jun 12, 2011

I think we are going to see a lot more of this if gas prices stay as high as they are. Even if gas goes back down, the idea is really appealing.

Personally, I would even take a reasonable pay cut to be able to stay home, rather than have to get dressed up every day, spend hours in traffic, and deal with office politics and endless meetings.

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