Remote Work Tips For Employees & Employers

In Digital Nomad Blog 0 comments

Remote Work Tips: How Employees & Employers Can Thrive From Anywhere


Table Of Contents

The traditional office grind is giving way to a new era: remote work.

Whether you're a seasoned freelancer or a curious cube dweller, the freedom and flexibility of remote work are undeniably appealing. But ditching the commute doesn't mean ditching productivity. This guide equips you with the tools and strategies to thrive in your remote work haven.

Remote Work Tips For Employees

Skill up! Having in-demand skills is vital to landing any job, remote or otherwise. Have a clear career in mind that you’re shooting for, and do some research to determine what skills are most sought-after. Once you have a firm idea on skills required, head to Coursera or Udemy to get started.


Remote Work Tip #1: Find A Remote Job

If you want to find a remote-friendly job, Once you’ve skilled up to be a viable candidate, there are loads of online resources to help you find your dream remote job. Here are some popular remote work boards; 

Full-Time Remote Jobs Boards;


Freelance Remote Jobs Boards;

Remote Work Tip #2: Determine Self-Employed Vs. Employed

There are two main paths to consider in the remote work world: self-employment and employment. Here's a quick guide to help you decide which is right for you. 



The Basics Of Self-Employment 

What Is Self-Employed?

Self-employment is basically working for yourself, rather than a company. You call the shots, find your own clients, and are responsible for your income.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Self-Employment?

It offers freedom and flexibility, but also comes with finding work, managing finances, and taking care of taxes yourself.

Who Is Self-Employment Good For?

Self-employment is ideal if you have an area of expertise you can monetize, some savings to get you started, and enjoy the hustle of finding your own work. This is certainly the path of uncertainty, but can also potentially be more rewarding in the long run.


The Basics Of Employment

What Is Employment?

Employment is when you work for a company or organization in exchange for a regular payment, like a salary or hourly wage. The company tells you what to do and when to do it, and they might offer benefits like health insurance. It's basically a trade - you provide your skills and labor, and they provide you with income and (often) some stability. 

The Pros & Cons Of Employment

Employment offers a steady paycheck, benefits like health insurance, and opportunities to develop your skills. However, the trade-off is less flexibility, with set hours and limited control over your work.  

Who Is Employment Good For?

Employment is ideal for those who value stability, with regular income and benefits. It's also ideal for people who enjoy working in a team environment, as self-employment can often be more of a lonely experience.


Remote Work Tip #3:Create A Productive Remote Work Setup


Here are some tips for creating the most productive remote work spaces; 

  1. Create A Dedicated Space: If you plan to work from home, designate a workspace that minimizes distractions and promotes focus. Even a well-lit corner with a couple succulents can work wonders!
  2. Ergonomic Essentials: Invest in a comfortable chair and a monitor that’s going to make you more comfortable while you work. If you’re on the go, a 2-in-1 laptop case works wonders for your posture.
  3. Reliable Computer & OS: Choose a computer with the processing power for your workload. This may also mean strategically updating your laptop so it doesn’t “mysteriously” lose battery after an update (here’s lookin at you, Apple). 
  4. Remote Work Essentials: Make sure you grab an external keyboard, reliable wifi, noise-cancelling headphones, a bluetooth mouse, backpack, and think about adding a ring light and an external webcam to your remote work arsenal.


Remote Work Tip #4: Practice Remote Work Etiquette

You don’t want to be “that guy” - the one who shows up with bedhead, a messy room, bad lighting, and who makes your manager reconsider remote work altogether. Maintaining professionalism is essential, even when working remotely. Here are some basic remote work etiquette tips:

  • Blurred Background Or Tidy Background: Keep your video call background professional and free from distractions. A background of you on the moon? Definitely, quite distracting. But a clean room? Quite profesh.
  • Mute Your Mic: Mute your microphone when you're not speaking to avoid background noise.
  • Test Tech Before Calls: If you haven’t opened Zoom or Teams for a few days, proactively avoid technical difficulties by testing your microphone and camera a few minutes before meetings.
  • Calendar Availability: Keep your availability updated on your calendar so colleagues can easily schedule meetings with you. Gcal is fantastic for this.
  • Clarify Hard Stops: When scheduling meetings, ask if there can be a "hard stop" a few minutes before the end time to allow everyone to transition smoothly to their next task.


Remote Work Tip #5: Employ Time Management Techniques

Staying focused and productive can be challenging for remote workers. Here are some tips to help you master your time;

Time Management Tip #1: Create A Daily Routine

Remote work can make sometimes blur the line between personal and professional life. One of the best ways to help you maintain a clear division here is to develop a daily routine. Here are some tips on doing that;

  • Structure is Key: Establish regular work hours and stick to them as much as possible. This will help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Develop A Morning Ritual: Develop a morning routine that sets you up for a focused day. This could include exercise, meditation, or simply enjoying a healthy breakfast.
  • Ditch Social Media: Omitting social media does wonders for productive mornings.

Time Management Tip #2: Prioritize & Execute

  • Nightly To-Do List: Create a daily to-do list and prioritize your next day’s tasks based on urgency and importance. You can use an app, or even just Notes to do this.
  • Time Blocking Techniques: Break down your day into time blocks for specific tasks (in the mornings I’m heads-down working, in the afternoons I’m answering email). Whatever works best for you.
  • The Power of Breaks: Schedule short breaks throughout the day to prevent burnout, and get some fresh air or do some light exercise!

Time Management Tip #3: Tools To Help You Stay Focused

  • Silence Those Distractions: Apps like Opal are highly effective at blocking your access to distracting social media.
  • Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Grab yourself a solid pair of headphones for remote work so you can focus.
  • The Power of Music: Upbeat music can be a great motivator for some, while others prefer silence or white noise to focus. Experiment and find what works best for you!


Remote Work Tip #6: Manage Your Taxes

Remote workers often have slightly more complex (but not unmanageable) tax situations than in-office employees. Not only is this because of state and national borders, but also because most in-office employees are W-2, while remote work is a mix of W-2 and 1099.


W-2 Vs. 1099 Taxes For Remote Workers

The biggest tax difference for remote workers boils down to who withholds and pays taxes:

W-2 Employee: Your employer withholds income taxes, Social Security, and Medicare taxes from your paycheck. You'll receive a W-2 form at year-end to report your income for tax filing. Essentially, your tax burden is handled automatically through payroll deductions.

1099 Independent Contractor: You are responsible for paying all self-employment taxes, including income tax, Social Security tax (both the employer and employee portions), and Medicare tax. You won't have taxes withheld, so you'll need to estimate and pay them quarterly to avoid penalties. You'll receive a 1099 form from your client(s) to report your income for tax filing.

Location Considerations For Remote Workers Paying Taxes

  • Working Remotely in the Same State: If you live and work remotely in the same state, you'll typically owe income tax to that state on your entire income.
  • Working Remotely in a Different State: This scenario can get trickier. Some states have reciprocity agreements in place to prevent double taxation of remote workers. These agreements essentially say that if you live in one state and work remotely for a company in another, you won't owe income tax to both states. However, not all states have these agreements.
  • Working Remotely from Another Country: US citizens working remotely from another country are still required to file federal tax returns, even if they don't owe any taxes. You may qualify for tax benefits like the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (for employees working in foreign countries for foreign companies) or the Foreign Tax Credit, which can reduce your US tax liability. Note that tax treaties between the US and your host country may also play a role.

Important Resources For Remote Work & Taxes


Remote Work Tips For Employers

Building a remote-first team means having your pick of the best talent across the globe, but it also comes with its challenges. The efficacy of remote workers largely depends on effective managers and leadership. Here’s are some tips on creating successful remote work policy for your team.

Tip #1: Onboarding For Remote Workers

Onboarding is one of the most important parts of the employment process, whether you're in-person or remote-first. Here are some tips for employers on how to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible;

  • Onboarding: Just like you would walk someone around the office on their first day - introducing employees to your remote work culture is key to setting them up for success.
  • Set Clear Expectations: Establish clear communication channels, performance expectations, and project management tools to ensure everyone is aligned and on the same page.
  • Embrace Flexibility: Remote work thrives on flexibility. Many companies embrace flexible work schedules while ensuring overlapping core working hours to accommodate different time zones and work styles.
  • Invest in the Right Tools: Equip your team with the necessary tools for seamless collaboration. This means platforms like Zoom and Slack, project management tools like Asana, cloud scheduling solutions like Google Calendar and cloud storage solutions to enable everyone to be working on the same document, at the same time.

Tip #2: Communication For Remote Employers

 Communication between employers and employees is even more important in a remote-first work environment. Here are some remote work communication tips for employers;

  • Overcommunicate: Frequent communication is critical to bridging physical distance and fostering not only a sense of connection, but a sense of responsibility. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings, team check-ins, and even virtual coffee breaks where people talk about anything but work.
  • Embrace Asynchronous Communication: Not everyone needs to be online at the same time. Maybe your developers work best at night, while your salespeople are morning people. Allowing people to work when they work best, while maintaining accountability, works wonders for your team.
  • Transparency Matters: Maintain transparency by keeping your team informed about company goals, projects, and decisions. Regular company-wide updates help remote workers feel engaged and valued.


Tip #3: Culture-Building For Remote Employers

Culture doesn't mean cold brew on tap. Culture is helping employees feel valued and heard. Here are some tips on improving culture in a remote-first work environment;

  • Invest in Professional Development: Provide opportunities for professional development, regardless of location. Offering access to online courses, training programs, and conferences to empowers your remote team to grow their skills and deliver better work for the company.
  • Recognize and Reward: Everyone loves a pat on the back every now and then. Recognize and reward your remote employees for their achievements, perhaps via a Slack channel or a monthly awards ceremony. 

Tip #4: Cybersecurity For Remote Employers

Remote-first means even more potential for security issues; here's how remote-first employers can successfully prepare for cybersecurity threats;

  • Cybersecurity Measures: Data is sensitive - especially when it’s in the life sciences field. Robust cybersecurity measures help protect your company's data, and communicating clear guidelines for remote workers means they’ll know how to keep things secure.
  • Data Security Protocols: Establish clear data security protocols for remote access, cloud storage, and communication tools. Global VPNs and firewalls are excellent protocols for this.
  • Equipment and Resources: While some companies provide equipment for remote workers, others offer a stipend to help employees set up their home office. If you’re going to allow workers to select their own equipment, make sure you specify how often they need to update their operating system and other security protocols.