Remote work has now revolutionized the way people carry out their day-to-day business. The Covid’19 pandemic forced employers to bend the boundaries of traditional working space and find a feasible solution for conducting their business without endangering the lives of their workers.
Pre-pandemic, remote work was practiced by only a small percentage of workers, mainly freelancers but since then almost two-thirds of the US workforce has started working from home. Even though work from home has increased productivity by 5%, many businesses are reverting to working from office spaces again as the Covid’19 restrictions are being lifted.
A flexible model of working is encouraged by most companies which is an amalgamation of physical and remote work. It is important to ask the right questions when interviewing for a remote job to ensure that it is completely remote, and you won’t be expected to come into the office a couple of times during the week.
Start off by asking the following most basic questions during your interview to make sure that this job is a good fit for you.
What Are The Work Hours?
This question is very important, especially if you are working in a different region compared to your employer and may follow different time zones. If you are a full-time employee rather than a contractor make sure to understand the expectations you can take with your work schedule.
It can be likely that you might support a certain time zone or region. This can lead to your schedule closer to the traditional office hour 9 – 5. You will want to make sure to talk about outcomes over scheduling with your new boss. More and more companies are becoming comfortable with the idea of knowing employees are completing tasks by a deadline instead of making sure they are online most of the time between nine and five. Being able to communicate with the team seamlessly is a huge value.
In some cases, the entire team is remote and distributed all over the country which leads to flexible work hours and majority of the communication exists in the form of emails, not zoom calls.
Discuss the working hours with the interviewer and gain a better understanding of the work culture. If it is flexible and goal-oriented then as long as you meet deadlines, your supervisor will not be bothered about when you work.
How Does The Team Communicate?
The best way to progress in any organization is to ensure that you are in constant communication with your colleagues, supervisors, even the CEO. No matter how different the nature of each organization may be, communication is always key. This is a factor that many remote workers struggle with because not being present physically tends to make it harder to connect with your co-workers on a daily basis.
Ask about zoom meetings and any other recurring meetings that take place so that you can volunteer to participate. Learn about the modes of communication used throughout the company to update employees, whether it’s an email blast or a group on some social media platform.
Learning about the tools that the team uses will also help you understand what you may be in for in the future. For example, if it’s a lot of video conferencing then you can expect to have to look presentable even when working from home. The company may also opt for emails or an open Slack channel, either method can get the job done but finding the right fit for you is important.
Will I Be Provided With Work From Home Equipment?
Being hired as a full-time employee comes with perks like bonuses, insurance, and most importantly a fully setup workstation at your disposal. With remote work, the rules of providing employees with work equipment had to be revised because a remote workstation can be somewhat different.
The computer or laptop that is provided has to be properly updated to ensure that the employee faces no issue when working from home because the IT team will no longer be present to tackle minor technical issues every day.
Since you will be attending a lot of Teams and Zoom meetings, it is important to ensure that you will be provided with a high-speed internet device. Some companies go a step further and offer noise-canceling headphones, a wireless keyboard, and mouse, and even an office chair to complete the workstation.
How Does Your Company Tackle The Challenges With Remote Work?
Remote working is a lifestyle now but not every company is well-adjusted to this new method of work. The HR departments of many companies are still working to create a well-balanced remote work environment that is inclusive and makes it easier for employees to remain productive within the comfort of their homes. Recognizing these challenges is the first step towards solving them so if your interviewer can enlighten you about the hurdles the company has faced, then that’s a good sign.
Besides asking about the challenges faced, do ask about the steps they have taken to solve problems with remote work in the past. Learn about any new rules or benefits that they plan on introducing to ensure that remote workers can achieve their maximum productivity and add value to the company.
To work remotely is not an easy task, especially when you are focused on building your career and attaining personal growth. Try to have more in-depth conversations with your employer to learn about the responsibilities that this role entails and what promotions can you look forward to in the future.
As more and more companies are realizing the benefits of encouraging remote work, the responsibility of finding the right remote job lies on your shoulders. Asking these questions and using your interview to your advantage can give you the best insights to help you decide if this organization is well-suited for your career or not.