For some professionals, terms like ‘Work From Home’, ‘Remote Work’, and ‘Hybrid Work’ are essential aspects of any job search. Regardless of what term you prefer, flexible work remains a hot-button topic that’s been popping up more and more in listings as job-seekers eagerly search for the next opportunity.
Employees in the post-pandemic workforce are keen to make the most of this alternative-to-traditional-work model as it more readily fits into the new norm for their 21st-century lives. While everyone who pursues a flexible work option will have their reasons for preferring it (like flexibility, cost & time efficiency, better work-life balance, etc.), I have five career-related reasons why many professionals are looking for Work From Home, Remote Work, or Hybrid Work options.
For ease of reference, I will refer to Work From Home as WFH, Remote Work as RW, and Hybrid Work as HW.
Why are flexible work options so popular?
87% of Americans would choose flexible work if given the chance and the most dominant factor contributing to its popularity is this: the pandemic has made flexible work opportunities more accessible than ever and employees have embraced it because it provides greater freedom and a better work-life balance, which can include working internationally or from anywhere, depending on the arrangement.
But there still seems to be a gap between what workers want and the flexible work options they actually have as only “58% of Americans reported having the opportunity to work from home at least one day a week.”
Flexible work options used to be something only a select few had the opportunity to experience because of their position and job requirements. We all wished we had the shot at levelling up our careers, in hopes of building them outward from the local/domestic space — and now we can! WFH/RW/HW brings the flexible work experience to right where you are – opening up a whole new world for you to advance your career.
Work from home vs. remote work vs. hybrid work
You may have heard all these terms before but they aren’t interchangeable, so here’s a quick explainer on WFH, RW, and HW.
Work from Home: This one is pretty self-explanatory! It is when employees are allowed to complete work-related duties from their home/residence during company work hours.
Remote Work: This is somewhat similar to working from home but with one addition. Employees are allowed to complete work-related duties from their home or another location (domestically and/or internationally) during company work hours, although some employees may require prior approval before working from a location other than their home.
Hybrid Work: As the name implies, this model merges elements of WFH and RW with traditional office work as well. It is when employees are allowed to complete work-related duties from home and the company office. Hybrid work usually involves a schedule or set number of days required for employees to physically be in the office during company work hours.
Some companies that went fully remote during the pandemic transitioned to a post-pandemic Hybrid Work model. They saw it as the best of both worlds for employees to work from home (or remotely) part of the time while still getting the in-person collaborations that can be so important to company culture.
5 reasons why work from home, remote work, or hybrid work can boost your career
Now that we have a better understanding of the different flexible work terms, let’s examine how flexible work can take your current career on a new trajectory filled with greater opportunities.
1. Get exposed to different cultures and clients that you otherwise wouldn’t
Using platforms like LinkedIn allows you to search for opportunities outside of your local area while also exposing you to a new world of people and clients that can further develop and inform your professional worldview.
Not only does this expose you to diverse work cultures and develop relationships outside of your local work landscape, but it also helps you navigate cross-cultural connections — an essential skill for continued professional growth in a global economy.
As part of an international company and team here at Viral Nation, I have the opportunity to work and interact daily with teammates, clients, and content creators/influencers based in Canada, the United States, Barbados, and the United Kingdom. My team is also one of the best examples of cultural diversity I have seen in my career so far, made up of many different ethnicities like Chinese, Brazilian, Filipino, French, Indian, and Nigerian just to name a few.
Collectively, we are all sharing our expertise and learning from one another, not just about the work we do but also on a personal level, where the stories and experiences of others are helping us better understand the world around us — while becoming better marketers in the process.
Our team collaborates with a myriad of international clients in different industries including Education, Digital Finance, Gaming, Wellness, and the list goes on. The marketing industry is hardly a localized space, so mirroring this feature within the Viral Nation team makes sense.
Our client pool is expansive and ever-growing and includes well-known industry players and even some of the biggest brands in the world, and I would not have had the opportunity to work with them had it not been for flexible work.
2. Bolster your CV/Resume and be more desirable to hiring managers
There comes a time in everyone’s career when we need that ‘extra edge’ that sets us apart from the rest of the candidate pool. One of the best ways to do this is by updating your CV or resume with your most recent and relevant flexible work experiences.
In many cases, WFH/RW/HW often facilitates international work experience due to the lack of geographical restrictions, giving job seekers increased access to global industries and employers. You can even leverage your remote work experience on your CV/resume because working for an international company shows you got it based on your merit and that you stood out amongst the local and international competition.
Where international companies can serve clients outside of their physical location, you too can display that same level of flexibility and prowess by showcasing the international companies and/or clients you have worked with on your resume.
Highlighting your previous flexible work experience can also help you land your next flexible work opportunity. Hiring managers prefer someone with previous remote work experience because it’s seen as less risky than someone who has never done it before. It can create a springboard into the next leg of your career with the added benefits of the exposure and credibility associated with international work experience. Think of it this way: Getting in gives you more places to go.
Additionally, the skills acquired from flexible work experience translate across industries, too, as you gain the ability to:
- Foster and build international connections
- Navigate relationships with cross-cultural teams and clients
- Show proficiency in numerous software applications and platforms
- Work within the cultural constraints of the client/project
Being a part of the administrative, strategic, technical, financial, creative, or design success of a project from a flexible work position is ‘experiential gold’ on the pages of your CV/resume.
3. Open your networks exponentially across territories for future connections and collaborations
Career growth is about future planning! On one hand, it requires plotting each step toward an expected end or desired outcome. On the other hand, it’s about creating the right mix of opportunity, timing, and connections to make those moves. No matter how detailed and precise your plan is, the adage ‘no man is an island’ and the oft-repeated advice from business gurus that ‘your network equals your net worth’, all surmise that your connections can take you much farther than your skill and abilities alone.
Luckily, there are so many ways to expand your network! Study groups, social gatherings, special interest groups, sports, and even social media comment sections can be great places to start (especially on LinkedIn). In fact, every connection you make has the potential to open up your network both locally and internationally.
For example, a friend of a friend you went to college with could be the one floating the next professional opportunity your way. Tapping into all of your connections as resources for your next opportunity is well worth the investment.
The importance of LinkedIn connections for career growth
Use LinkedIn’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-degree connections — your 1st-degree connections are those you’ve directly connected with, 2nd-degree connections are those who are connected to your 1st-degree connections, and 3rd-degree are those who are connected to your 2nd-degree connections.
Your job opportunities can double or even triple because you added friends, colleagues, and acquaintances from different territories or regions to your network, which is all due to your WFH/RW/HW experience. Think of the possibilities!
Depending on how intentional you are with creating and maintaining strong relationships, your chances of finding and securing future professional opportunities could be a direct result of the network you have built.
How flexible work can lead to higher salaries
Depending on your industry, access to more territories via flexible work can bring a higher salary as well because different job markets can pay more than others for the same position, which is a huge win for savvy job seekers if they get the job.
For example, the starting salaries for software engineers in the United States vary depending on which state the position is located. In California, software engineers make on average $115K versus their counterparts in Hawaii, who make on average $66K. Casting a wider net with flexible work opportunities could be the ticket to help you maximize your income and better leverage your skills and experience into a higher earning potential.
4. Enrich your personal and professional life by traveling and experiencing more
Millennials and GenZers alike are becoming more interested in travel and creating lasting memories through life experiences (or at least that’s what it looks like on social media). These generations prize flexibility and balance that allow them to work and still seek adventure, so they can feel like they are doing more than simply surviving.
WFH/RM/HW offers the most flexibility as it relates to travel. If it’s within company policy, many employees can travel and work from anywhere as long as they have WiFi, maintain their productivity, and are mindful of their colleagues in different time zones.
Many of my colleagues have taken work with them to places they have always wanted to vacation with little to no disruption in their meeting attendance or availability. Others have been able to stay employed while pursuing studies in another country. A few have had the opportunity to transition from remote work to a hybrid role, moving themselves and their family to settle in an entirely new territory.
Even though the outcome may vary depending on the circumstances, WFH/RW/HW can better facilitate non-work-related life goals and personal experiences that bring joy and fulfillment outside of the office.
5. Rapidly expand your knowledge and expertise for future career growth
Nothing trumps becoming a well-rounded professional. Being knowledgeable, well-versed, and always learning more about your industry will make you a true master of your craft. But reaching that level takes time, dedication, and experience — all of which can be aided by WFH/RW/HW.
Understanding the local and international parameters of any industry will help you make more informed decisions, establish a nuanced perspective, and gain a wealth of knowledge to pull from when faced with new challenges. This is the type of professional we all aspire to be and the more we know and experience, the more we can offer our teams as invaluable co-collaborators. Quickly growing outside of your comfort zone comes with a learning curve, but it’s well worth it in the long run for your career.
Pursuing opportunities that give you the chance to see the inner workings of your chosen career from a different perspective through WFH/RW/HW (whether full-time, part-time, or contract work) will sharpen your skill set at an accelerated pace, and that invested time can count toward making future career strides sooner rather than later.
Every day, the sheer magnitude and reach of social media marketing far surpasses what I previously thought possible. I continue to be challenged with learning more about every aspect of campaign management success, simply because there is so much more being done on a vast and rapidly changing scale. Having continued exposure to this level of marketing has added so much value to my professional growth and has fueled significant leaps forward within my own career.
No work model is perfect! We all have to make the best of every situation and squeeze as much success as we can from the opportunities we have. Considering WFM/RW/HW as an option can pay major dividends toward your career in the future. So why not give yourself the chance to experience something new and grow beyond the physical limits of your current location by adding flexible work opportunities to your career plans today?