Every new trend or industry feels the need to come up with its own acronyms and terms. It’s almost like we want to confuse people so they feel left out. The same is going on right now in the remote work space.
You used to only see WTF and now we have WFH.
You used to have a plumber come in to do some sink work, now we have async work.
Then you’ve got digital nomads and co-working, remote culture and hybrids, and all of a sudden the Baby Boomers in the space hate the Millennials again, and viola, a new industry has been established.
These are all of the terms around remote work you may need to know at some point. I don’t really think many people will need this post, though, if we’re being honest. I mainly wrote it for the jokes.
Types of remote work
Digital nomad: A person who works from many locations as they travel. “I’m a digital nomad sipping my Vietnamese coffee and buying Dogecoin in Hanoi after I graduated from Cornell.”
Let’s not kid ourselves. These following three terms all generally mean the same thing:
Telecommute: To work at home by communicating electronically with a company office. “I was born in 1950 in London and now I telecommute using my fax machine and landline.”
Work from home (WFH): To do a job from your house. “Yeah I work from home. I mean, I know we all do now after COVID.”
Remote work: To do a job from any location (not just a home) rather than within a company office. “Millennials said in a survey to our HR team that they want remote work permanently.”
See Also: 105 Tips For Working Remotely
Types of remote company policies
Companies will declare their official policy toward remote work. These are the policies they choose from:
Optional: Employees have the option to work from home or the office. “Employees who are able to work from home (hedge) will have the option (hedge) to work from home occasionally (hedge) some of the time (hedge).”
Partial: Some employees, based on role and situation, are able to work from home. “We’re happy to announce a partial work from home policy for our white collar workers here at our blue collar business.”
Remote First: The processes required to work remotely lead the company’s operations, with in-office processes coming second. “We just raised $18 million to build a collaboration SaaS for pets. We’re hiring. We’re remote first.”
Fully Remote: The company does not have any physical office locations. “As a fully remote company, we have a communication Wiki. No one reads it, but it allows us to tell people we’re transparent on Twitter.”
Hybrid: The company plans to have employees working from home part of the time and in an office part of the time. “Our lease doesn’t end until 2045 but everyone says they want to keep working from home, so let’s announce a hybrid work policy.”
These are the terms related to where you do your job as a remote worker.
Co-working: An office that is used by multiple self-employed people or employees of multiple companies working within the same space. “I had a co-working space at WeWork until they went out of business.”
Home office: The dedicated room in a house or apartment where work is done. I turned the laundry room into a home office.”
Company retreat: A gathering for a distributed team of colleagues in a physical location. “We had a great ‘Craft Brew & Brainstorm’ session at our company retreat in Austin.”
Hoteling: A program in which multiple employees share desks rather than having one dedicated desk each. “‘We could hotel our desks,’ said an executive stuck in a lease with employees wanting work from home only.”
Asynchronous communication: Work done by colleagues does not happen at the same time. “‘Async [no one ever finishes that word] is the future of work,’ tweeted a SaaS founder who raised $80,000 from parents and grandparents.”
Synchronous communication: Work done by colleagues happens at the same time. “‘If someone says something positive about synchronous work on Twitter, meme their replies to death,’ tweeted the same SaaS founder.”
Distributed team: Employees of a company that work around the world rather than in one office and place.“‘I cant think of anything funny for a distributed team. Any ideas?'” asked the author of this article.
Remote onboarding: The process of training and integrating a new employee who works outside of a company office. “Send out the coffee beans, company stickers, and pens. We’re remote onboarding eight new people next week.”
Remote culture: The values and atmosphere of a business that does not work together in the same location. “Check out how strong our remote culture is in this screenshot of 36 people dancing on a Zoom call!”
Location independent: An employee or organization is not tied to a certain office, city, or country. “I live a location independent lifestyle. I get along great with my family. Why do you ask?”
Work-life balance: The tradeoff in time spent between work and non-work. “I have a pretty good work-life balance now, working about 50 hours per week and sometimes on the weekend.”
Work-life alignment: The time spent at work and life help each other toward a fulfilling existence. “Work-life alignment is a much better way to live than work-life balance. My employees use them interchangeably, though.” (Shout out to Lance Cummins, founder of Nectafy and Anyvoo, for coining this term.)