Introduction to remote working

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Introduction to remote working

How do you go about creating an efficient remote or work-from home work force? As remote working becomes ingrained in our daily lives, employers and employees alike are realising that many business and operational transactions can be done from home or in a remote working space. With studies revealing a 173% increase in remote workers since 2005, it demonstrates that remote working is here to stay. RecruitMyMom, an advocate for flexible working, has been placing skilled women into office and remote working jobs since 2012. The company is a multi-award winning online recruitment agency with all its staff working from home. 

The purpose of this remote working series is to provide business owners, managers and Human Resource managers with a comprehensive guide when contemplating migrating some, or all of its workforce, to work from home, or a combination of work from home and the office. 

This series of articles will explore the types of contracts and roles suited for remote working, the company benefits, best practices for implementing remote working and practical guidelines on how to implement them. 

What is remote working?

Remote working means that either some or all of the work is completed outside of the company’s office environment. Oftentimes employees are required to work a combination of work from home and in-office.

Rather than having dedicated desks for each employee, smaller office space is required consisting of hot desks and meeting rooms that are occupied as needed. These are booked through an online booking system so that employees know which desk and meeting room they will be occupying when arriving at the office. 


Virtual teams and remote workers

Virtual teams, which is where people work on one or more projects with co-workers from across geographical locations, has risen with 25 percentage points from 2010 to 2018 and is expected to increase even more after 2020. Remote working and virtual teaming is found across industries and is not limited to a particular service sector. Virtual teams often include various skill levels, from a junior intern to a senior manager and are mostly centered around skills required and not job titles. 


Employment contract types for remote workers 

There are different employment contracts which can be used for employing a remote workforce. In South Africa there are three contractual types described below.  Permanent and fixed-duration contracts are governed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.   Many economies including the USA, UK and Australia prefer to outsource to remote workers as independent contractors. Independent contractors give companies maximum supply and demand flexibility when building modular teams around a skill requirement.

  1. Independent contractor or freelancer

An independent contractor is a person or entity contracted to perform work for—or provide services to—another entity as a nonemployee. As a result, independent contractors must pay their own statutory taxes.  An example would be an IT developer, social media or content freelance writer that provides services to one or more clients and bills per hour or on a project output basis. 

  1. Permanent employee

A permanent employee works for an employer and is paid directly by that employer. Permanent employees do not have a fixed end date to employment. In addition to their salary, they often receive benefits like medical aid, paid annual, parental and sick leave, and contributions to a retirement plan.  Permanent employees can work full-time or part-time, depending on the hours agreed and the contractual agreement. 

  1. Fixed-duration (Fixed-term) contract employee

A fixed-duration contract is a contractual relationship between an employee and an employer that lasts for a specified period with an end date or agreed outcome. These contracts are often regulated by countries' labour laws, to ensure that employers still fulfill basic labour rights regardless of a contract's form, particularly unjust dismissal. An example would be a maternity cover appointment, or an HR contractor appointed for a particular project. 


Since Covid-19 everyone from CEO’s to support workers are able to work remotely. The amount and frequency of work from home will depend on the company, its culture and willingness to embrace remote working.  According to the Annual IWG Global Workspace Survey, conducted in January 2019  where 15 000 business people from 100 countries were asked about flexible and remote work, 80% said that they would take the job offer that included flexibility over the one that didn’t; while 85% confirmed that productivity in their business had increased due to more flexibility on offer. 


Popular remote working jobs

  • Customer service
  • Call centre staff
  • Sales
  • Cloud Accountants
  • Bookkeepers
  • Social Media Strategists
  • Writers & Content Generators
  • Personal Assistants
  • Digital Marketers
  • Software Developers
  • IT Support
  • Graphic Designers
  • Human Resource Assistants
  • UX and UI Specialists
  • Training Managers
  • Executive Coaching
  • Appointment Setters


The remainder of this guide covers the benefits of remote working for companies; practical aspects around setting up a remote workforce; how to manage onboarding;  training and leading remote teams.

RecruitMyMom has developed a remote working series to support employers with their transition to a more remote workforce. To view all the articles in this series, click here.