Hybrid work is not remote work. The difference between Remote-friendly and Remote-First
5 min read

Hybrid work is not remote work. The difference between Remote-friendly and Remote-First

Learn deeper about the difference between remote-friendly and remote-first work environments.
People working in an office
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Companies around the world have started adapting to remote work ever since the Covid pandemic. Although some of these companies are going back to the office now, remote working is still considered to be a part of their working culture.

Many major companies still fancy staying fully remote even though the pandemic is slowly easing its threat. And this is what causes a big division around the working behavior of these companies.

Organizations are adopting remote work in two distinct ways - remote-friendly and remote-first. Although the names might sound a bit obvious, it’s only the tip of the iceberg that we’re seeing. So let’s discover the difference between remote-friendly and remote-first so that you, as a digital worker, know what you’re getting into.

Flexibility in remote working

woman working remotely
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Remote-friendly organizations aim for a hybrid work environment, where the employees can choose to work remotely although in-office processes are the primary system they follow. In these organizations, working from the office is preferred while the option to work remotely is often a sort of “incentive” for the employees.

On the other hand, remote-first organizations are leaning towards making remote work their primary working system. This is where remote work is prioritized and the organization works to favor all internal processes to be included in their remote system. Some remote-first companies will have an office only for necessary meetings and work, and they encourage employees to go remote.

Synchronous VS Asynchronous communication

Employees meeting in an office
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Remote-friendly organizations prioritize synchronous communication within the company. These organizations will demand the employees to be available for work and communication during a particular range of time that they set. They want to make sure that the time you work is aligned with the other related operations within the organization.

Remote-first organizations support asynchronous communication. This is what lets you work and communicate from midnight while everyone else from the organization is sleeping. Here, you’re not demanded to work or communicate within a specific time period. You just have to make sure you do the work as needed before the deadline you’re provided, and not within a time range that favors your peers and superiors.

Inclusion of working processes

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The processes and tools involved in a remote-friendly organization prioritize the office structure. The priority for these organizations will be always the people inside their office, which makes the processes and tools involved not always consider the employees working remotely.

On the other hand, remote-first organizations will prioritize every employee equally. These organizations will have their processes and tools designed to consider and involve everyone equally, including the remote workers.

Scheduling meetings

A remote meeting
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In remote-friendly organizations, meetings are scheduled by prioritizing the convenience for people in the office. In many cases, this will even be offline meetings, which leaves out the remote employees.

In remote-first organizations, meetings are minimized and scheduled only when it’s necessary. These organizations also schedule meetings digitally by considering all employees and their time zones, which will allow everyone to take part in the meetings, including remote employees.

Accessibility to information

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Remote-friendly organizations tend to allow easy access to people and information only to the employees inside their office. Since these organizations prioritize working from the office, they won’t have methods implemented to supply the necessary information to people working remotely.

On the other hand, remote-first organizations prioritize every employee equally, allowing easy access to people and information to everyone working in a company. The organization will have a process or tool designed to help remote workers gain access to information just as easily as employees in the office.

Decision making

People working and taking notes together
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In remote-friendly organizations, key decisions are discussed and made within the office, which leaves out the remote employees. They believe that a virtual meeting isn’t as effective as a physical meeting, which makes them finalize decisions only with the employees working from the office.

Remote-first organizations try to include every employee by taking discussions online. This allows all relevant employees to be included, including the remote employees, where they can discuss and come up with a decision that suits everyone.

Promotion opportunities

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Remote-friendly organizations are often biased towards promoting office workers. This gives them an unfair advantage over remote employees while they all work the same.

On the other hand, remote-first organizations equally prioritize each employee. So they’ll give both the office and remote workers an equal promotion opportunity rather than a biased perspective.

This is what follows to the bottom of the iceberg. Remote-friendly means a sort of “incentive” for a company’s employees while remote-first is determined to make people work remotely.

From what’s evident, remote-first is a much better option with a lot of healthy advantages than mere remote-friendly organizations. However, what suits you depends on how you wish to work, so think twice and choose wisely as you hunt for your next job.

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