Out of the Office, Back to Basics: A Student's Perspective on Remote Work

Photograph by Allyssa Harman
Allyssa Harman, Ontario Tech University  |  June 15, 2022

Introduction: Why Should I Consider Remote Work?

My workday was off to a productive start as I had just finished editing my final assignments for the winter semester. Satisfied with my efforts, I saved my documents and began my next project, all while sitting comfortably on my laptop at home. Future employment opportunities have quickly become the main topic of discussion amongst my peers. Like many students, I have submitted my resume to countless employers, though many of my peers have admitted they are unsure of where to go after graduating. However, I am explicitly targeting remote opportunities for long-term employment, and here’s why I think any student with doubts about their future should do the same.

You should know that uncertainty is normal in our constantly changing world, now more than ever. Sometimes you might be caught off-guard, unsure of where to go next or who to turn to, and that’s perfectly fine! Though remote work might not be for everyone, it is worth a shot for many to see if a viable long-term career option would best suit their needs. I was very hesitant to pursue remote work at first, especially considering the conforming nature that workplace culture has been founded upon. Despite my initial uneasiness, I now firmly believe that working from home will be the basis of future employment. As both companies and workers are realizing the benefits that come with this new model, there is no better time to join the remote workforce!

The Benefits of Working from Home:

There are plenty of benefits to consider when looking at the future of remote opportunities, especially as a post-secondary student looking for work. For one thing, international students have benefited from the shift to online environments and remote jobs, with many saving on travel costs and getting the chance to stay close to home while continuing their studies. Individuals who suffer from severe health and immunity issues find it significantly easier to take online courses or work remotely. Many students who have worked during the school semester admit to skipping classes because their shifts and in-person lectures overlap; online courses make it simple for students with busy lives to plan out their schedules in a way that suits them best. Online working environments can positively impact staff, with many corporations learning these benefits after disposing of the one-size-fits-all model for their employees throughout the global pandemic. Overall, it is hard to look past the upsides that come with skipping the commute to the office and working at home instead.

My Experience with Online Learning:

In March 2020, the global pandemic halted my winter semester. I distinctly remember telling my friend that I would see her on Tuesday for our next lecture, only to have all classes cancelled the next day. The online transition differed for all institutions, with some acting faster than others. My university was very quick to transition, with the aforementioned Tuesday lecture proceeding as scheduled in a digital environment.  The first semester was stressful for both students and professors, especially those unfamiliar with or not fond of online teaching and learning. Little did we know that this new learning format was far from a “one-time thing”, as every semester since then has consisted solely of online courses. During the ease of lockdowns and restrictions I had a class that was intended to be hybrid, though we only had a fourth of our lectures offer the option for learning in-person due to unforeseen circumstances. My experiences with online learning have only further contributed to my positive outlook on digital work environments, as I see no benefits when considering in-person learning now that we have comfortably adapted to these new formats.

My Perspective on Working From Home:

I have struggled to land positions regarding remote work opportunities due to my lack of experience. Many employers want upwards of three years in a specific field, something out of reach for those who have been trapped by the pandemic’s toll. Additionally, many jobs still demand that people commute daily or travel long distances for work. These jobs can be done remotely in many cases and often require employees to pay for travel costs out of their own pockets. I recently completed a remote opportunity where I worked part-time creating social media advertisements. From my experience, in-person training takes significantly longer than online learning and can detract from one’s adjustment to the workplace. Overall, the opportunity to learn online has significantly improved my skills and increased my chances of future employment.

The Future of the Workplace:

Many students that are looking for work today lack experience due to the pandemic, and several companies are hesitant about their next steps when hiring because of this. Furthermore, COVID-19 has forced companies to rethink how they structure schedules, operate work environments, and view their employees as a whole. Despite these points, I am quite optimistic when looking to the future, and I believe the ideal solution for many would be to seek permanent employment that they can do from home. There are plenty of people who enjoy remote work over traditional careers, particularly students with erratic schedules. Online work will bring significant change as more student’s flock to this emerging field, instigating a shift in workplace culture as we know it. Overall, I think the world of remote opportunities is largely what you make of it, as it provides many chances for you to improve your resume and learn new skills online!