Interested in remote work but don’t know where to start? This one's for you.
It’s a tale as old as time - the age old remote vs office work debate. Dating all the way back to ancient 2020, when everyone actually started caring about not working in an office. I wonder why? All jokes aside, thanks to COVID, the door of remote work has been opened to the masses, and to the dismay of commercial real estate tycoons, it cannot be closed again. We currently have over 300 remote roles on our site. Understandably, some loved working from home because they were in their PJs waist down for a year (I think the kids are calling it a Zoom mullet? Business on top, party down below). Also understandably, some people hate it. Then again, if we all associated working from home with being in lockdown then I don’t think any of us would like it. There’s so much more to it than that!
When it comes to office/non-office work, there are so many pros, cons and options it can be overwhelming. Some people know exactly what they’re looking for (“I never want to go to an office again”), while others still can’t work out the difference between hybrid, work from home, home office, and remote (don’t worry, we’ll cover this!). Here at Work in Startups, we’re a fully remote x hybrid team, so we know the ins and outs of it all. On top of this, as a job listing site, we’ve seen the influx of startups hiring remote jobs, as well as the ever increasing demand for remote work from candidates. For these reasons, we believe it’s really important to get to grips with what this all means for the future of the working world.
We believe if you’re a job seeker, the first and arguably most important step is:
Now I won’t sit here and lecture you like I’ve had 30+ years in the field, because to be frank, I haven’t. I will, however, tell you what I think is some of the best career advice I’ve ever received:
“Don’t find a job you love, find a job that allows you to have a lifestyle you love.”
A twist on the cliche ‘do what you love and never work a day in your life’, this quote slips away from the idea that work should be the central focus of our entire lives. This might seem far away from the ‘love your work’ rhetoric typical of startups, but I think it’s actually perfectly aligned with their employee-first culture. When am I performing my best? When I’m happy. When am I happy? When I have the time to engage in my personal life, hobbies and self-care. The conclusion? To perform my best at work, I need a job that suits my lifestyle. Of course it’s important to find a work environment you enjoy, in a sector you’re enthusiastic about; it’s just not the only thing to consider. At the end of the day, even if you like your sector, work is work, and for some people it will always remain that way. In this case, it’s important to find a job that suits your lifestyle, so you can stay happy, motivated and be your best self, both at work and at home.
Enter remote work. While it may not suit all, remote work can open a lot of doors. Want to be at home to say hello when your kids get off the school bus? Remote work. Want to live in a small coastal town and go surfing on your lunch break? Remote work. Want the time and energy in the evening to work on your side hustle rather than commuting for an hour (plus)? Remote work. Don’t want to leave your fur babies home alone for 8+ hours a day? Remote work. Want to finish your work day and step out into Rome one week, Lisbon the next, then Paris the next? Remote work. It’d be a little far-fetched to argue that all problems can be solved by remote work, but most of them can!
I want to finish this section off by saying that the important message here is to find a job that suits the lifestyle you want for yourself. If you, like many others, prefer working in-office, post-office drinks, and eating lunch with your co-workers, then more power to you! If you would prefer the remote-work lifestyle described above, way to go! If you’d prefer a mix of the both, hello hybrid! Here at Work in Startups, we love the freedom remote work can bring, and don’t believe in the idea that office working is inherently better/more productive/more successful. We know the world of remote work is new to many, and it can be unclear how to achieve your remote working goals. If you’re reading this article, in all likelihood, you’re curious about remote work. We want you to know that it is possible, and that Work in Startups is here to help you find your perfect remote role.
Check out the remote startup roles we have currently available here; which leads me to my next point:
Startups are renowned for their focus on cultivating…well, culture. As small businesses with big dreams, it’s often a top priority to find passionate and motivated employees, and keep them that way. The easiest way for this to be achieved is by creating an optimised ‘employee-first’ working environment. Some perks we have seen from hiring startups include:
If you take a quick browse of our website, you’ll see these perks are common. If you’re looking for remote work, we really believe the startup world is the place to begin your search. The added benefit being you’ll probably get some perks you never knew existed as well! We’d know - we’re a startup with a remote x hybrid team, and some great perks too. If remote is a perk you’re looking for then it’s really important to be able to do the following:
So you want to work remotely. Or is the term work-from-home? Or hybrid? Or having a home office? It can all get a little confusing, so we’ve decided to put together a list of ‘definitions’ so you can understand what companies are offering and/or what you’re looking for.
Work From Home - Work from home is often confused with fully remote work, which leads some people to have negative associations with remote work, but these two are not the same! Work from home offers a little flexibility but can leave some people feeling ‘trapped’ home, whereas remote work offers A LOT of flexibility and freedom. Businesses will often call hybrid roles work from home too. Many contracts will say something along the lines of ‘office attendance required when necessary’, which may well turn out to be twice a week, aka hybrid. If you are happy with this, this is ok, but if you are intending to work from home all the time, we recommend clarifying this clearly with your potential employer.
Hybrid - this one does what it says on the tin; sometimes you’re in the office and sometimes you’re working from home. We recommend checking what the expectations are for the office/home split before beginning, as well as seeing if this is subject to change, so you don’t find yourself working for a company and suddenly being asked to be in the office more than you expected.
Home Office - if you see this keyword mentioned in a job listing, from our experience, this is a sign that you’ll be in the office most of the time and occasionally work from home. This may not be true in all cases but as with the others, it’s best to clarify what this actually entails.
Remote Work - now this category should mean total 100% remote work, but there can be some limitations, so be really careful when applying. Many companies will use the term remote work to describe all the categories above, so if you’re looking for more autonomy, we recommend clarifying what remote actually means for them and what their expectations are. Firstly, if you’re planning to travel and work remotely, we recommend you check your potential employers policies about this. Time zones can be worked around, especially for international startups, but how far and how long you can travel may be limited - this is NOT fully remote. Secondly, check if there’s any occasions where you will be required to come into the office and how often this may be - being needed in the office hybrid, NOT remote work. Some companies will not allow you to work in co-work spaces or anywhere other than home due to data protection - this is work from home, NOT remote work. One excellent way to find out what an employer really means by remote is to ask how the rest of the existing team works and how you will fit into this environment.
These definitions are all well and good, but what’s it actually like to work in a remote/hybrid/wfh team? I have some good news for you, I know just the people to ask:
As previously mentioned, Work in Startups is a remote x hybrid team. Our group consists of two fully remote employees based in the UK, one work from home employee based in Greece and one hybrid employee based near London. As a team who understands both the ups and downs of remote work, we thought we’d give you a little insight into our thoughts, how it affects our work and most importantly, why we love it.
Inja - General Manager (Remote)
“Remote work was a real game changer for my work-life balance. As a keen traveller, this setup is something I was aiming for long before the pandemic but the lack of suitable jobs made it seem like a dream only available to a few people. It is a true silver lining that came out of the pandemic for me that after 10 years in London I could leave my hour-long commute behind and move to Cornwall instead. Now I can do a yoga class on the beach or surf before work plus work from abroad whenever I want to visit family and friends - my quality of life improved dramatically as a result of this. I don’t think there’s any job that could lure me back to the office again!”. The image at the top of this article is Inja's typical office!
David - Accounts (Hybrid - UK)
"I think, like most people, pandemic-induced home working had a lot of benefits initially. Flexibility to both get more work done and help out with kids at home have both been positives. However, when you are at home too much in the day, and you feel like you have barely moved or done any exercise at all, the novelty wears off, so I was keen to get back to the office. The interaction with colleagues and sense of being in a team cannot be replaced easily in the remote world."
Lizzy - Intern (Remote)
“I have to start by saying I love remote work and the flexibility it brings to my life. As someone in their early 20s, I’m keen to travel and ‘see the world’, and being remote helps with this. Not only this, but it can make daily life easier. I'm at home to answer the door to the postman, eat cooked lunch over a packed lunch, and let my dog outside. It also makes it easier to do things like go for a run on my lunch break. I do see some downsides to remote work, as someone lower down the career ladder. There’s probably less opportunities to learn from colleagues or see people’s different skill sets in action. However, when you work for an almost entirely remote team, everyone understands this struggle and is happy to jump on a call and screen share to show me the ropes. I love remote work and would recommend it to anyone looking for more flexibility and the ability to use my time off more effectively without feeling stuck in one place by work.”
So if you’ve reached the end of this article and still want a remote job, we’re glad we’ve got you hooked! We feel there’s a distinct lack of pro-remote content that actually shows you what remote work is all about, and how to obtain a remote job, so that’s why we’re here today. If you can’t wait to get stuck in, the steps we recommend you take right now are:
We’d love to hear from you, so if you have any article requests or general remote work insights that you think we should share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.