A guide to remote-first companies (definition and benefits)
Updated 10 May 2023
Remote-first companies do not require their employees to work from a physical office. In organisations that adopt this strategy, all staff can work remotely and may do so from almost any location. If you're interested in working remotely, understanding how these companies operate may be helpful. In this article, we define what remote-first companies are, explain how you can find a job with one, discuss the benefits of this type of working arrangement and provide examples of companies that prioritise remote work for you to consider.
What are remote-first companies?
Remote-first companies operate completely remotely. This means there's no physical location from which to work. Rather than an office-based arrangement, all the company employees work remotely from their respective locations. Typically, the only requirements are a computer or laptop and a stable Internet connection, although having a microphone and a webcam can be useful for interacting with colleagues. An organisation may start as a fully remote company or operate as a traditional company and transition to fully remote work.
These companies have policies and technologies that enable them to offer fully remote working arrangements. They typically use software applications that enable colleagues to interact, chat and send files. They may also have browser-based platforms for allocating and completing work. Due to their fully remote setup, these companies can employ people from almost anywhere, and their staff are free to move and travel as they please, provided they can continue working.
How to find a job with a fully remote company
If you want to work for a company that offers fully remote working arrangements, consider the steps below:
1. Assess the feasibility
Determine if working remotely is the most appropriate option for you and whether it's feasible. If you worked remotely in a previous role, either temporarily or permanently, this might make it easier for you to decide. While working remotely has many benefits, you may prefer the experience of a workplace where you can collaborate with other people. This's a personal choice that depends on your unique perspective. If you have experience working remotely and in a physical space, you may already know which arrangement you prefer.
If you're considering full-time remote work for the first time, it may be helpful to research other people's experiences online or make a pros and cons list to help you decide. If you can work remotely temporarily in your current job, it may be a way to find out if a remote working arrangement suits you. Establish if your field of work is compatible with working remotely. While a job as a software developer or writer may only require computer and Internet access, a construction manager or lecturer role requires you to be physically present.
2. Prepare a workspace
If you work remotely, you could work from your bed on a laptop, at the kitchen table or on the living room sofa. While this may be possible, it might not always be optimal. It's often beneficial to have a dedicated workspace in your home to establish a boundary between your professional and personal life. It can also make it easier to avoid distractions and remain focused. If you have a spare room, consider turning it into a home office.
Make sure that you have a suitable computer or laptop that you're happy with. If your device lacks a built-in webcam and microphone, acquiring these may be useful for video calls or online meetings and can be a requirement for some jobs.
3. Use a job search service
Job search services like Indeed typically have filter options that enable you to search specifically for remote work. When starting a search, type in your job title in the relevant box, leave the location box empty and click on ‘Find jobs' to generate a list of all the vacancies with that title in the country. Search through the filter boxes at the top of the results page and click on ‘Remote'. This gives you a drop-down menu containing the options remote and temporarily remote. Click on ‘remote' to filter your results.
You can then search through the results and determine if any jobs are with fully remote companies. Another approach is to look online for a list of remote companies and check their websites for vacancies.
Once you find a job that interests you, prepare and send your application documents, including your CV and cover letter. Consider tailoring your CV to highlight skills relevant to remote working. When you apply for a position with a remote company, you can usually expect an interview via video chat. Some remote companies may also send you a task to complete to assess your skills, so ensure you're ready to complete one within a specific time frame. Check your emails regularly so you can respond promptly.
Benefits of working for remote companies
Working for a fully remote company has benefits over traditional or hybrid work. These include:
In fully remote companies, the culture is built on the concept that all employees are remote. There're no expectations for you to work from a physical workplace. You may also find that these companies emphasise output and results over hours worked, as tracking working hours remotely can be challenging. Rather than a requirement to work a certain number of hours, you may be given certain tasks to complete within established deadlines. Employees who work remotely are typically available and responsive during specified times of the day.
If you have a laptop or similar portable device and an Internet connection, you can travel while working. This means you aren't going to require time off to travel, provided your travels aren't interrupting your work schedule. Because you can move to any suitable location without the requirement to stay close to a physical workplace, you can choose a locality based on family, costs or other commitments and keep your job.
Due to the nature of remote work, you're more likely to work without direct supervision. This may be due to the challenges of interacting online or because staff and supervisors are in different time zones. Working remotely can enable you to develop your autonomy and time management skills. You may find that the opportunity to work independently and unsupervised feels empowering and enables you to be more productive in your professional and personal pursuits.
Fully remote companies can employ people from all over the world, which typically means they have a very diverse workforce. Working for such a company may be an opportunity for you to interact with a wide range of people you'd normally only encounter while travelling. You can meet people from different countries with cultures and backgrounds that vary significantly from yours.
Many companies offer remote options. The following is a list of companies that operate on a remote-first basis for you to consider:
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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