These 3 reasons prove working a remote job can boost your career development & help you stand out to hiring teams as you climb the ladder.
Is working remotely good for career building?
Though critics claim you can’t grow your career remotely, the research doesn’t back this up.
In fact, several studies reveal that remote workers are more productive, have lower stress levels, and even earn more than their in-office counterparts [*][*].
All those perks allow remote workers to fully engage in their projects and achieve fantastic results. Those career wins enable them to quickly climb the ladder and land their ultimate dream roles.
So in this post, we’ll break down exactly why working remotely makes a smart move for your career development.
Many people wonder how the differences between working remotely and on-premise at an office can affect one’s career building.
While it’s true that both types of workers typically have the same skill sets/certifications and use the same kind of office equipment and software, that’s where the similarities end.
Working remotely is a no-brainer for career growth because you get to:
1. Learn All the Skills Needed for the Future of Work
The future landscape of work will be almost entirely digital.
From collaborating with colleagues in the metaverse to training with real-time AI assistants, employees must have high digital literacy skills to keep up with emerging tech in the workplace.
Fortunately, experts say remote workers have contributed more to “dramatic advancements” in the way of innovation, automation, and digitization than ever before or thought possible [*].
Working remotely teaches a specific set of skills that will be desirable to future employers and leadership teams scouting candidates to promote, such as:
Asynchronous communication is communication that doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone. Remote teams have this down to a science, as employees often work in different time zones around the world.
Rather than feeling pressured to answer an email as soon as it hits their inbox, async teams reply to messages when it’s most productive for them to do so. They don’t have to disturb their deep focus work.
The result? Projects flow seamlessly and on schedule, and nothing slips through the cracks.
To master async communication, remote employees must:
- Respond clearly with the most accurate answers/data/attachments, etc.
- Leave no room for vague or ambiguous messages
- Anticipate questions their recipient may have or roadblocks they might encounter, and provide answers or workarounds
Async communication prevents needless back-and-forth convos and time-wasting email threads. It also leads to fewer “this could have been an email” meetings.
So why is this skill so valuable in the workplace?
Because async communication requires impeccable communication skills to get right. And high communication skills are associated with higher employee engagement, productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction — all things employers value.
On the other hand, stats show miscommunication costs small businesses an average of $420,000 per year and large companies an average of $62.4 million [*].
So hiring teams and leaders know anyone with async communication skills on their resume is worth snatching up or promoting.
Collaboration is an essential ingredient for teams to innovate. But you need high emotional intelligence to hear and find value in others’ ideas and then work cohesively to improve upon them.
Author Steven Johnson said remote work has “widened the pool of minds” who can collaborate and drive progress on creative solutions [*]. Many businesses prioritize these skills over any other.
Whether innovations to processes or products, employees with stellar collaboration abilities are valued as team players and leaders. They’re also more likely to boast skills such as:
- Goal alignment
A remote job can help you add all those skills to your resume and get a leg up on your competitors as you grow in your career.
2. Remote Work Helps Level the Playing Field for Women
Remote organizations are often on the cutting edge of employee engagement and diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives. For women and minorities seeking career advancement, this means:
Caregivers Don’t Have To Put their Careers On Hold
Research shows that “upwards of 75% of all caregivers are female, and may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than males [*].”
That’s why it’s all too common to hear about women with promising careers dropping out of the workforce to care for young children or aging adult relatives.
But remote work upends this situation entirely.
With a more flexible schedule and a work-from-anywhere mantra, 77% of caregivers say remote work has made career advancement opportunities more equitable [*].
Natalie Mayslich, the Consumer President of Care.com, noted that remote work is “probably the most progress we’ve seen for women in the past couple of decades [*].”
Women of Color, LGBTQ+ Women, & Women with Disabilities Can Get Ahead
McKinsey research reveals that “for every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level roles to manager positions, only 87 women are promoted, and only 82 women of color are promoted [*].”
Their research further shows that when women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities work remotely at least some of the time, they experience fewer microaggressions, higher levels of psychological safety, and greater trust and respect from their managers.
With more control over their work environment and less toxic coworker interactions, remote employees can let their expertise shine and propel them up the career ladder.
These two reasons may be why 57% of remote women reported being promoted in 2021, compared with 35% of in-office women [*].
3. A Healthier Work-Life Balance Leaves More Room for Career Growth
A healthy work-life balance means there’s room in your schedule to crush your work tasks and devote time to activities that contribute to your mental, physical, and emotional health.
As a remote worker, you’ll have an advantage over on-site employees because you’ll get to:
On average, a remote worker saves 8.5 hours a week by not commuting to work. This adds up to 408 hours per year [*]!
Those gained hours can be spent on meditation, career journaling, networking, personal website work, etc., to improve your career development.
Create Your Personal WFH Schedule
Schedule flexibility grants morning larks and night owls the opportunity to work when they’re most productive, rather than fit themselves into the one-size-fits-all 9-to-5.
When it’s easier to reach deadlines and get your work done remotely, you’ll be empowered to complete your tasks and ask for stretch assignments to prove you’re capable of more. You may also have time to cross-train in a different role or department.
Leaders will take note of your initiative and put you at the top of their list for promotions. You’ll also have the chance to learn new skills to add to your resume and wow potential employers or recruiters.
Invest More Time Into Your Career Development
Remote employees are more likely to report that their companies are invested in their career growth than their in-office counterparts [*]. Many remote organizations offer continuing education benefits such as:
- Tuition reimbursement
- Student loan forgiveness
- Learning and development stipends
- Remote training and upskilling
- Attendance to webinars, networking events, and virtual conferences
With so much time back in your schedule, penciling in a remote online course to boost your skills or add a new certification to your toolkit will be a piece of cake.
And when your mental, emotional, and physical health flourishes, you’ll feel energized and confident to spruce up your resume, apply for new remote positions, and impress hiring managers during your interviews.
Ready To Build Your Career with a Remote Company?
These three reasons prove remote workers have all the necessary ingredients to grow, thrive, and advance in their careers.
But sometimes career growth means outgrowing your current organization.
If you’re stuck in a company lacking room for advancement, it’s in your best interest to scope out remote teams with more growth opportunities.
We Work Remotely is the largest remote work community in the world and the number one destination to find incredible remote jobs. You can browse remote roles all over the globe and filter them by job type, time zone, regions, and more.
Click a company’s profile, and you’ll see information about how long they’ve been remote, what benefits they offer, and how they invest in their employees’ career growth. Then you can follow them to receive notifications as soon as they post a new job (and be one of the first to apply ASAP!).