The Remote Work Terminology
The most important terms you need to know about Remote Work.
Hi, it’s Lark! 👋🏼 Welcome to my newsletter series How To Remote Work. I summarise learnings about Remote Work, how to set it up, the transition and work needed, wins and failures, yeah.. pretty much everything that’s related to it. Subscribe to get this newsletter and level up on Remote Work 👇🏼
Remote Work is becoming more and more popular as I mentioned in my previous newsletter. In order to understand each other, we need to speak the same language.
Do you work remotely? Remote-First or All-Remote? Maybe Hybrid?
What about communication, do you communicate sync or async?
Are you a Digital Nomad or do you simply WFH?
Do you work in a Co-Working Space? Or Co-Living Space?
The purpose of this newsletter is to clarify the terms used in relation with Remote Work.
It’s important for transitioning or already transitioned remote companies to express and understand the same thing when talking to each team member. This is especially crucial as communication is one of the most essential skills to master when you are working remotely.
Here’s my glossary of the most relevant terms currently associated with Remote Work. The list focuses really on the most important ones and it will be adjusted as Remote Work continues to rise. If there’s one missing, leave a comment. I’d be happy to add it!
Working remotely refers to doing work outside of a traditional office setting, such as at home or at a third-party location like a coworking space or even a coffee shop. Along with tools such as email and smartphones, remote employees engage with their teammates using digital apps like video conferencing and instant messaging. (For example Slack, Zoom, etc.)
Work From Home (WFH)
Also known as Telecommuting. Using the Internet, email, and a smartphone, as well as digital tools like video conferencing and collaboration software (Zoom, Slack, etc.), entrepreneurs, freelancers, and employees, can carry out their usual job activities from home without any downside.
Remote working is frequently linked with digital work, sometimes termed "virtual work," which may be done on mobile devices such as laptops and smartphones. It also relies on Internet access, commonly via a wireless connection, as well as digital apps and tools to enable employees to communicate and cooperate efficiently with each other.
Any company, whose employees work away from a physical office location. Remote-first indicates that working away from an office is the default and not the exception. In a Remote-First company, employees are empowered to work remotely. My Partner and Co-Founder at dua AG and I decided to transition to a Remote-First company.
Note: There’s a big difference when companies have offices and still require employees to be in the office for a certain amount of days per week or month. This is not a Remote company. It’s a hybrid-company with Remote-Friendly culture.
Allowing employees to work once in a while from Home while still requiring them to be present in an office on fixed days. Employees are still forced to live near the office and the remote advantages can not be practiced as in a Remote-First or All-Remote company. For single Remote Employees - this way of working can cause communication and motivational challenges and/or other problems.
More on Remote challanges in a separate newsletter.
Also known as Fully Remote. This term indicates that an organization doesn’t have any physical office nor headquarters for its employees to meet in person. Employees need to “get the job done” from home (WFH), co-working, or co-living spaces. Usually, All-Remote companies are spread across multiple time zones. Well-known examples of All-Remote companies include GitLab, Buffer, and Zapier.
Teams that are both co-located and remote. This is something many founders, chiefs, and managers misunderstand. Hybrid work means that you can work some days per week or month from home (WFH) while still being required to be present in an office for other working days. While this is nice for some employees (mothers, fathers), it usually is experienced in a negative way for employees who want to take full advantage of Remote Work and choose their own living place and not be forced to live near the office and commute. More on Remote Advantages in a separate newsletter.
When going Remote, companies set up a company-wide handbook with all information needed so employees have a single source of truth for any question that arise when working remotely. The company handbook helps employees to search for answers before asking and interrupting co-workers. It also enables a Written-First culture where any decision, process, and meeting is documented.
More on How To Set Up Your Company Handbook in a separate newsletter.
A Remote company is usually very transparent with every information. Be it in the company handbook internally and/or even externally. Remote companies tend to be very transparent because they need to over-communicate as there is no office where information can be shared verbally.
Someone who works remotely and independently travels - internationally or nationally.
Freelancers are self-employed and ususally work for multiple clients. Lots of freelancers work as Digital Nomads or WFH and they run their business through platforms like Upwork. They usually work on a contract basis.
Distributed Teams / Distributed Work
Examples of distributed teams and work can be an entire company, department(s), or a project-based team. At this type of work, the team is geographically distributed, in most cases without a physical office.
Objective Key Results (OKRs)
OKRs are a goal system used by many Remote and Non-Remote companies. It is a simple tool for goal setting to create alignment and engagement around measurable goals and track their outcome. Companies working with OKRs rely on an employee’s success in achieving a goal instead of tracking their time in an office or screen time.
A conference call that includes both audio and visual components so that participants can see and hear each other while conversing.
Sync (Synchronous Communication)
Also known as “real-time” communication. This communication type expects participants to be all present at the same time. The best example is slack or zoom calls or in-person meetings.
Async (Asynchronous Communication)
This type of communication happens slowly and is, as the term explains, not synced. Some examples are email, comments, slack messages, and loom videos. The biggest advantage is that participants do not need to be present and instantly available - which gives you more time to focus to get the work done. Usually, remote companies decide within what timeframe it is accepted to receive a response giving the employee freedom to manage their work themselves.
A company with a physical office environment. Many software companies (who are able to) are getting rid of their physical offices and let employees rather choose their working places, such as WFH, co-working, or co-living spaces. There are cases where Remote companies still want to have an office, but it is more used for company events and socializing than getting work done. --> Even though there are much cooler places for events than an office!
Workers (typically freelancers, digital nomads, and entrepreneurs) who are not employed by the same business share a workspace. Office supplies such as internet, printers, meeting rooms and food stations or kitchens are frequently available in co-working spaces.
A co-living space is a sort of “BnB "Hotel” with all its facilities such as kitchen, bathrooms etc. where workers live and work. It has an integrated co-working space with everything needed to work remotely. There are several online platforms where you can easily book co-living spaces.
Short for “Flexible Time”. It means that the employees working hours do not necessarily need to happen during the “normal” workinvg hours throughout the day.
A meeting that takes place in a new, typically remote location, such as a coworking space, hotel or café.
A phrase invented by Yonder's Jeff Robbins to characterize brick-and-mortar companies that are interested in learning more about how to Remote Work and are attracted by the benefits of Remote Work.
An employee who works from home or gets his/her job done in a company without ever being physically present at the employer's office (if there is an office).
Employees are being hired only remotely, with no in-person interviews.
Retreats are yearly, semi-annual, or quarterly events in which all employees of a remote organization go to the same location for 1-7 days to work and to develop culture, enhance communication, and increase productivity. …and let’s be honest, have some fun! :)
There are two definitions to check here. Agile company and Agile work. An agile company is a business that has the ability to swiftly adjust to market changes or shareholder matters. Agile work is the process a company uses to get its work done. This is normally used in product companies working with the framework Scrum, enabling a company to deliver results in a much faster way than non-agile companies.
Daily Standup Meeting
Associated with agile management, a very brief meeting (typically done daily) in which team members effectively answer three questions: What did I achieve yesterday? What do I want to get done today? Is there anything in my way that might block me from achieving my goal for today?
A brief period of intensive productive work for a specific team, during which interruptions are avoided and distractions are kept to a minimum. Usually sprints last two weeks and are recurring.
Next, we will be going in-depth about what stages and phases a company goes through when going Remote. 😎
If you think this newsletter can help you and your team master Remote Work consider subscribing if you haven’t already 👇🏼
Show some love ❤️ - share it with your friends, co-founders or co-workers.