Flex Your Job: 3 Ways To Master Remote Work and Why It Helps Women Most
If you think remote work means pursuing your dream job in your pajamas, you may be right.
But that may be just one reason why more people now than ever are interested in –and doing –remote work. Other factors are child care, family obligations, commuting costs, continuing education and the time to pursue side gigs.
In a new survey, FlexJobs reports that 77 percent of workers say they are more likely to take a job offer if it includes telecommuting or remote work some of the time.
In the study of 50,000 companies in the first half of 2018, Flex Jobs put together a list of the Top 25 Companies to Watch for Part-Time Remote Jobs. Part time, for this purpose, is less than 40 hours per week.
“Working part-time can be a great solution for many people, such as working parents, caregivers, semi-retirees, career changers, and others who for whatever reason don’t find a full-time schedule appealing,” says Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.
“The good news is that we have seen significant growth in the depth and variety of opportunities for professional remote, part-time jobs over the past few years. We hope this list of companies serves as a great resource for workers who are interested not only in a reduced schedule, but also prefer working outside of a traditional office setting,” Fell says.
Pay rates, according to the study, vary from $18.50 and hour for copyeditor to $47.50 an hour for software developer, with bookkeeper, graphic designer, tutor, writer, all around $25 an hour.
Of 14 ways that an organization can best move to gender parity in the workplace, the commitment that “virtual/remote working is widely available and is common practice,” is one of the simplest to install.
“Accenture’s economic models predict that by creating female-forward environments, ‘globally, for every 100 male managers, there could be up to 84 female managers, as opposed to the current ratio of 100 to 34.’ What’s more, women would be four times as likely to reach senior manager and director levels, and see their pay jump by 51 percent, which represents an additional $30,000 per woman each year, ” Hill writes.
According to Forbes, “Last year, Gallup estimated that 43 percent of employed Americans spent at least part of their time working remotely. This number has more than quadrupled since 1995, and it doesn’t even account for the growing number of freelancers in the United States, many of whom often prefer to work from home.”
The advantages to working remotely are often touted, writes Alexandra Douwes in Forbes. “Higher productivity levels, lower absenteeism, and improved morale, are just a few of the benefits cited in a recent study by PGI. The remote employees themselves also report feeling happier and experiencing lower stress levels as a result of a flexible schedule.”
Douwes adds, “But like anything, there’s a dark side to this freedom. A recent study by Buffer found that loneliness (21 percent), collaborating and/or communicating (21percent), and distractions at home (16 percent) are some of the biggest challenges remote workers face.”
The future may well be remote, particularly as it pertains to women.
“Working parents, semi-retirees, people with health issues or disabilities, caretakers, military spouses, millennials, career changers, side-gig workers, and people seeking better work-life balance are some of the of people groups seeking part-time, remote work. With a remote job, they have no commute, can work from a comfortable home office, and generally deal with less distractions. More work can be done in less time, making part-time, remote jobs ideal for those who have limited time to devote to a job,” says Rachel Jay, senior writer at FlexJobs.
According to InHerSight reported in Motley Fool, “More than 50 percent of mid-level, senior, and executive women in our network select the ability to telecommute as one of their must-haves. On the other hand, just 33 percent of early career professionals select telecommuting as something they are looking for. Nearly 75 percent of women over the age of 35 identify the ability to telecommute as a core requirement from their next workplace.”
As workers’ needs changes, workplace culture must adapt and shift as well.
She adds,” A 2017 study by professional recruiter Robert Walters and leading UK job board Jobsite found that remote working opportunities are top priorities for women in tech. Seventy-six percent of women surveyed said that the chance to work remotely was necessary if companies wanted to retain long term staff.”
So how can you maximize your productivity, satisfaction and career management away from a structured office and make sure you climb the ladder, not just stay in a holding pattern? Here are three quick tips.
Organize your day in chunks. Set up a schedule of two-hour periods throughout the day dedicated to completing or advancing on a task. Reward yourself with a five to 10 minute break—a quick walk, fresh cup of coffee, stretch, social media peek—when you have completed the work in the time period. Then get right back to work. The feeling of checking off tasks on a long list goes a long way to feeling and being productive. And do not let your home-related tasks leak into your work day. “While you may have more flexibility to contribute to chores and obligations during the day, don’t let others take advantage of your work situation. Set clear boundaries, make chore lists so all the work isn’t being dumped on you, treat your home office like any office, and keep regular hours,” writes Meredith Boe in InHerSight.
Schedule regular check-in conference calls. You may be off-site but you do not want to be out of off the radar on big projects, deadlines, news and announcements. Make sure your requests to be included on meetings by phone, Skype, Zoom or any video conferencing app are heeded. At Take The Lead, we have weekly meetings by Zoom for the mostly remote staff. We get to check in, laugh, smile and have a face to face. It makes a difference, and that difference is trust. “The biggest point of difference between audio and visual communication is also the most powerful argument in the latter’s favor–with video, you can see each other,” according to Video Conferencing Daily.” We’ve all heard the adage that communication is 93 percent nonverbal (the actual research shows 55 percent is visualand the majority of the rest both your words and your tone) but the visual advantage goes beyond mere comprehension. Research has shown that video communication is the best way to build trust between people who can’t share an in-room experience.”
Be transparent. Many people still are convinced of the myth that you don’t work as hard when you work remotely. That you are either laying on the couch at home or sitting in a coffee shop tweeting. Delegate, communicate and show your team and your managers the outcomes from time spent. It’s hard to argue with measurable success. “The advice I would give is that you can’t just try it and then give up on it really quickly,” says Michelle Hickox, vice president and chief financial officer of Independent Bank, in Slate. “If one thing doesn’t work, you have to try, try again, and be willing to be flexible and to see if you can do a couple of things to try to make it work. Because I think had I given up that first year—I really could’ve given up easily.”
Remote work affects millions of women employees, as well as the organization’s bottom line and future. Making the most of your time from anywhere can help make the transition to remote work optimal for you and your organization.
Loubier writes, “Modern companies need to embrace remote work as a way to level out they playing field and invest in the women who are here now.”
About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldonwww.micheleweldon.com