Are you interested in remote work? Looking to understand the basics and the lingo related to working from home? Have no idea where to start? This is a quick overview of all the basic remote work terms that beginners can get a quick synopsis on. Let’s dive right into our remote work glossary below 👇
The term agile in remote work refers to the project management method of simplifying tasks and tracking progress in manageable portions. This helps break up large projects into smaller and attainable goals.
The term all-remote is another way to say a company is fully-remote. This describes a company that is completely a remote workplace and does not have physical office locations. These companies typically hire in various countries and time zones around the world.
Some companies that are all-remote include Zapier, Automattic, Gitlab, and Buffer. You can find more of the top companies hiring remotely.
Some companies will offer annualized hours, in which remote workers’ total working hours are defined for the year but the schedule of when those hours are worked is up to the employee. This becomes a more flexible option, where remote employees can choose to work the days and times they prefer.
Asynchronous Work (Async)
Asynchronous work, communication, and collaboration mean that employees are working on their own time and getting projects done without the constant expectation of immediate responses. This work encourages employees to be proactive in their work, instead of the need to be reactive.
If you hear the term “blended team,” this means that the company has some remote workers and also in-person employees. Sometimes this is better known as a hybrid, which offers employees some flexibility. Some companies that have blended teams include Google, Twitter, and Shopify,
Another term similar to a blended team is the blended workweek. This is when weeks are split between going to the office and working from home.
A co-located team is a group of employees that work remotely only from a few different locations, instead of all over at their own individual spots. These teams share many of the same office spaces and are common with remote-friendly organizations.
Coworking is a common practice among remote workers to share spaces to work with others. When you are coworking, you’ll have access to different resources, amenities, and a community to network with while working in the space. This is also popular among freelancers as well. WeWork is probably the most common name out there but there are others too.
A coworking space is a place where individuals or different companies work together in the same office building. This allows smaller organizations to save money and use common equipment, utilities, and additional services.
Compressed work is a flexible arrangement where employees have the option to work 4-days per week, instead of the traditional 5 days. Now pending the organization, your options are to get 40 hours in those 4 days or you may be paid for 40 hours, but only be working 32 hours each week. Not all companies that offer this are remote-first, but it is more common for remote work. Check out these companies that offer 4-day workweeks.
The term “creator economy” is the continued growth of businesses that now rely on content creators, social media experts, and digital nomads to generate revenue for their businesses.
Deep work is your ability to focus on projects without distractions and boost your productivity to the next level. It’s a process and skill you can apply in remote work to expertly reach the next level of your work capabilities.
Dematerialization refers to making things more digital and having fewer physical materials to manage. This means uploading things to the cloud, increase of remote work and fewer physical business locations, and knowledge being saved on computers.
A digital nomad is someone who does not depend on a specific location and works from all over the world using various technologies and the internet. Digital nomads might work from different countries and in places like cafes, the beach, and hotels. These are remote workers that are not tied down to a corporate or home office.
Digital work is the term used to describe how work is done today with the modern use of various online tools and software solutions to accomplish results. With a computer and the internet, every part of the job can be done virtually.
When you hear the term digital workspace, this describes how remote teams collaborate, stay oranged, communicate, and get work done from anywhere in the world. Typically, these are workspaces that are cloud-based. Some popular platforms include Notion, Gitlab, Trello, and Basecamp.
A distributed workforce simply means the company has multiple employees working in various locations around the world. This could be a combination of remote employees and various company office locations.
Employer of Record (EoR)
An employer of record (EOR) is a service that many remote companies use to help hire international employees, manage their taxes and payroll, handle benefits, and more. Each country has different requirements and laws, which can be difficult to navigate for companies. But an EOR simplifies and handles everything that is needed to be compliant. Remote, OysterHR, and Remofirst are common platforms for EOR.
An expat is generally used to refer to remote workers or digital nomads that are working remotely from abroad in various locations outside of where they were born.
In remote work, explicit communication is important to ensure projects and processes are followed and aligned. This form of communication means that verbal or written communication is clear and very direct to avoid misunderstandings.
Flex time is also know as flexi-time or flexible work is a work policy more remote or hybrid companies are offering to employees. This allows workers to have more freedom in how they work and structure their schedules, as long as the total work hours are met. For example, companies offering Fex Fridays.
Freelance work is typically short-term or contractual work that does not include a long-term commitment to the company. Many freelancers will work from home or remotely for given periods of time with organizations. And freelance work allows companies to find global talent for specialized needs or projects, which can be more efficient than hiring full-time employees.
The team fully remote can mean an individual, team, or company does not work from a centralized company office. For example, if your company has no office at all and employees working around the world, then your organization would be considered fully remote.
Future of Work
You may see this phrase in the headlines of news articles or on social media but what does it mean? The future of work is used to describe various new trends and patterns to predict “how” and “where” people will work in the upcoming years. Much of these predictions are generated by data, trends, technology, and societal changes.
Someone might describe their garden office to you, which is a workspace that has been set up in or around an outdoor area. Some remote workers have set these up in gardens or their yards, especially in places with great climates most of the year.
The term geographic arbitrage means moving and working from a place where the cost of living is less than where you currently reside. This new location can help you reach financial independence sooner, while working as a digital nomad or remotely.
The gig economy is the common description of the rise of temporary work, like freelance, contract, or quick job tasks being performed. Think of driving for Uber, shopping for Instacart, etc. In this form of work, you are an independent contractor.
Any company that hires international employees or operates in multiple countries is considered a global employer.
The Great Resignation is a term to describe the post-pandemic of the Covid-19 trend where many workers began leaving their current jobs, changing careers, retiring early, or looking for a new remote job. During the pandemic, many people began to re-examine their professional and personal priorities.
Setting up your home office means you have created a dedicated space in your horse or apartment for long-term remote work. This can be a room or just a spot in a specific room where you can work efficiently and comfortably.
Hybrid work is a modern work model where employees have the flexibility to work both remotely and in a physical office location throughout the week. Usually, there is a requirement to be in the office 2-3 days a week.
A business or person can be labeled an independent contractor when they are hired for a specific project or for a specific amount of time. For those individuals that are independent contractors, it gives more flexibility to choose how much work and what work they’d like to work on.
Implicit communication refers to communication based on body language, tone, facial expressions, and style that help convey meaning and feeling. This is the opposite of explicit communication, but can still be useful in remote work and getting your message across accurately.
IoT: Internet of Things
The term Internet of Things (IoT) describes a network of “things” that are connected through the internet via various technologies. These are devices and tools like computers, smartphones, appliances, and TVs. You may hear this term come up when working remotely or you may work in an industry where this is applicable.
Utilizing the term knowledge worker means you are describing a person whose work involves using and managing information. These are people with unique expertise in specific areas to solve problems and complete tasks. Think content writer, graphic designer, cybersecurity specialist, etc.
A live receptionist will refer to a person who is virtual but performs administrative tasks for a remote company. This can include answering calls, video chats, scheduling appointments, managing data entry, etc.
Location independent refers to remote workers or digital nomads whose work is not tied to any specific location in the world. These location-independent workers can perform jobs from anywhere with a laptop and internet connection.
A mobile worker is another term to describe a remote worker.
An office meeting is a meeting that takes place outside of any company office. These are typically done to get remote teams together, work and collaborate on projects for a bit, get some social time together, and go over the company results or goals. Sometimes can be referred to as a “team retreat.”
The term online storage is another way to say “cloud storage.” This is how data and files are saved and stored, which is across multiple servers. This storage allows people to access and edit files and data from various devices and anywhere. Online storage examples used by remote companies may include Google Docs, Dropbox, Airtable, etc.
Setting up a remote desktop allows companies to use software to access a computer from anywhere in the world. This application is useful for IT support when remote workers have issues with their company-issued computers.
A remote employee just means that the employee of a company works in a location outside of the main office. That person could be working from home, at a co-working space, or somewhere else.
Remote-first is a cultural focus by a company that ensures working remotely is the main option for most or all of their employees. This means that no employee is required to be active at a centralized office. Your company may have an office for people to work from if they chose.
When a company says they are “remote-friendly” it means employees have the option to choose where they would like to work. These are companies that do have office locations and do not require employees to be 100% remote. Typically, think of remote-friendly companies as those following the hybrid work model.
Remote hiring is how companies list remote jobs, recruit, and hire employees that work in various places around the world. This allows organizations to extend the remote talent pool and find diverse people from all over.
Employers check out our remote hiring guide and our remote job board to post open remote positions you are looking to hire for currently.
Typically you might see “remote ok” on job listings (you’ll find that on the Remote Work Junkie job board as well at times). This is just a common way for companies to say that a particular role is open to being remote.
Remote work is a flexible work arrangement that allows you to work from home or from a location outside of the traditional office environment. Remote work can be done each workday or a “hybrid” of in-person and at home.
Someone is labeled a remote worker when they either work from home or somewhere else outside the physical office location. A remote worker can be a full-time employee, freelancer, or digital nomad.
Remote Work Skills
To be successfully working remotely, there are various remote work skills that are necessary to master to do well. Some of these skills may include autonomy, communication, time management, organization, and more.
Company retreats are events organized by the company and held over several days in specific locations to get the remote team altogether. These are used to help team bonding, work, plan projects, and have a bit of fun together. Some remote companies will do these quarterly or annually.
A satellite office is simply used to describe a separate office a company has beyond its main headquarters. For example, companies that hire a mix of remote and in-office employees may have various co-working spaces or mini offices for remote employees in the area to go and work together.
Single Source of Truth (SSoT)
The single source of truth (SSoT) is a place where all information like data, processes, and project details are recorded and stored. This ensures that everyone is on the same page and is efficient in their work. This is important for remote work, where distributed teams can go to one stored location for anything they need.
A solopreneur is someone who starts and operates their own business, without other co-founders or employees. This person handles everything around the business and will work from home, remotely, or in a shared coworking space.
Synchronous communication is when information is sent and received in real time. This is usually through the phone, virtual video meeting, or face-to-face. And with synchronous, it usually implies a more immediate response, whereas asynchronous is where people get back to you when it’s best for them.
Telecommuting is a form of work where you complete your job duties from outside the traditional office. It also describes what a telecommuter does, which is getting work done from home via the internet, email, and the telephone.
The term telework is a bit outdated today, but you may come across it. Teleworking is the arrangement where you will work from an alternative location outside of the company headquarters, but are located near an office branch. Your work will allow you to work from home or that approved telework worksite.
Learn more about the differences between remote work, telecommuting, and telework.
Time Management Apps
Time management apps are software solutions that help remote workers manage and track time on specific tasks and projects. Productivity and time management are important when it comes to teams being distributed, so these apps can be valuable. Some time management apps include Toggl, Hubstaff, and Focus Booster.
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a popular authentication method for users that adds another layer of protection to passwords and logins. Typically this will be entering your password, but then receiving a code vide email or your mobile phone that you have to enter. This is a critical addition for remote workers, especially if working from unsecured WiFi.
A video chat is when someone is on a video call or meeting through a particular meeting software. This is also referred to a virtual meeting, but it’s a way for remote employees to collaborate and discuss various projects. Zoom, GoTo, and Google Meet are popular ones in this space. But Slack for example also has video options too.
Virtual Assistant (VA)
A virtual assistant is usually an independent worker that handles administrative work for a company or individual. These can be great hires for solopreneurs or executives who need additional help with schedules and other tasks. These virtual assistants can work anywhere and could be hired full-time or part-time. Looking for work as a virtual assistant? Find virtual assistant jobs posted on our job board.
Utilizing a virtual office allows companies to have similar benefits to a physical office location without actually being in one. For example, you can have a business address, phone system, storage, and even meeting rooms. This can be more cost-effective for organizations that don’t want a large company headquarters.
A virtual meeting is when you are chatting with people via a call or video. It’s the best way to collaborate with remote teams and ensure you can get some social time with colleagues. Zoom and Google Meet are two common options, but others do exist.
This is an acronym that stands for virtual private network and it is an encrypted network that allows remote workers and individuals to handle data privately without others accessing it. This is perfect to use if you work from unsecured WiFi connections, like in hotels or cafes. Some popular VPNs include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and IPVanish.
Work From Home (WFH)
Work from home is generally interchangeable with the term remote work, but there is one subtle difference: working from home means you work where you live, whereas remote work can be from anywhere in the world, your home, or while traveling.
A “workation” as the name might imply, is a combo of work and vacation. This essentially means you are taking a break or on holiday, but you continue to work remotely throughout the week. For example, you can go to the beach for a week and enjoy times to break, but you are still working at times that are most productive for you.
Work-life balance is all about ensuring you have a proper separation between your work and home life. Because there is no direct separation between the two, the lines can be blurred affecting mental and physical health. All remote workers should ensure they have a healthy work-life balance.
Zoom became a massively popular video conferencing platform during the global covid-19 pandemic. And now, it is just a super popular tool for remote workers. Although Zoom might not be used for all remote interviews, it has become a standardized phrase when it comes to any video interview.