How Does a Remote Job Work?

woman working on computer next to her dog

Office-based work has been the norm for so long that we all pretty much understand how that works.

Commuting. Start and end times. Schedules. Benefits and perks. These are widely held norms in office-based jobs, but how does all of this work when you work remotely?

Here’s what you need to know about how a remote job works:

1. There’s No One Way to Work Remotely

Each company will have its own specific requirements, rules, and standards for remote work. Because each company designs its remote work program differently, each part of a remote worker’s day may be different depending on where they work.

You can learn a lot by carefully reading a remote job description to find out if the employer has set schedules or flexible hours, if it provides equipment, and so on.

Also, ask about the company’s approach to remote work during job interviews to get even more details, and research the company on sites like FlexJobs or Remote.co to learn about its remote work program.

2. Most Remote Jobs Require Workers to Be Based in a Certain Location

According to FlexJobs’ remote job data, about 95% of remote job listings require a worker to be based in a certain location. That means only 5% of remote jobs are true “work-from-anywhere” jobs.

The most common reasons for requiring remote workers to be based in a certain location, like a state, country, region, or time zone, include legal and tax issues, professional licensing, on-site training or meetings, travel requirements, or to be close to clients.

3. Some Remote Jobs Have Set Schedules, and Some Are Flexible

When it comes to schedules, some remote jobs require you to work during “business hours,” during “core hours,” or according to your own schedule.

Business hours might differ from company to company. For example, this could be the standard 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or a bit different.

Core hours are usually a block of three to four hours midday when most workers will be working. This way, you’re guaranteed to have some overlapping work time with your coworkers.

Another option is a completely flexible schedule, where you set your own hours. Your only requirement in these situations is to work a certain number of hours each week.

4. Remote Workers Are Often Responsible for Their Own Technology

There are four ways remote workers get technology and equipment for their home offices:

  • A company may have remote workers use their own equipment, provided it meets certain specifications (for example, a certain internet speed, a landline phone, or a laptop that is no more than four years old).
  • A company may have remote workers use whatever equipment they have on hand, as long as it can get the job done.
  • A company may provide specific equipment (laptops, headsets, etc.) for its remote workers to use.
  • A company may provide a stipend to help remote workers purchase new equipment on their own.

5. Remote Jobs Provide Pay Benefits Like Any Other Job

Remote jobs are subject to the same laws regarding the provision of benefits that traditional brick-and-mortar companies abide by. So, if a company provides its in-office employees with health insurance, 401(k) plans, vacation and sick time, and other similar benefits, those benefits should be available to the remote employees as well.

The only difference is in whether a remote worker is an employee or a freelancer. Freelance remote workers are always responsible for their own benefits.

For more benefits information, an article from The Balance about the types of employee benefits and perks does a great job breaking down which benefits employers are required to provide to employees, including remote employees, and when.

There are specific rules and regulations for each type of benefit, like COBRA, disability, family and medical leave, minimum wage, overtime, unemployment, and workers’ compensation, so be sure to read about each benefit to see what an employer may be required to provide.

6. Remote Employees Get Paid the Same Way as In-Office Workers

Depending on whether you’re part-time or full-time, as a remote employee, you’ll be paid either by salary or by the hour, just like in an on-site job.

Again, the only difference comes with freelancing. As a freelancer, you may be paid by the hour, by the project, or by retainer, depending on how you and your clients agree to your payment structure.

Similar Structures, Unique Designs

As you’ve probably noticed, remote jobs are structured very similarly to traditional, in-office jobs. However, each company designs its own remote work program, so each remote job will be different in some ways.

Written by: Brie Reynolds