3 Types of Remote Work: Soft, Medium and Hard Approach

by Candice Boyers
Published: Last Updated on

The remote working dreaming has been taken dramatically out of context. This is largely due to influencers sharing pictures of themselves with their laptops framed by a piña colada and beach towel. The pandemic has led to many people having to learn how to work remotely and discover the harsh reality of how much discipline is needed in the process. But how do you know which types of remote work are best for you?

Even so, working remotely really is the dream. If you can adjust your income to be location-independent then you’re opening yourself up to a world of flexibility and freedom. Certain service jobs depend on physical presence but it’s possible for many other jobs to be done online.

But how do you make the transition from the office to remote work?

This blog is a prelude to a discussion on remote jobs and how to kickstart your possible freelance career. If you want to get a head’s up on that, you can read our post on how to prepare to be a digital nomad in four steps here.


“I Want to Work Remotely”

This is the dream.

With a better understanding of the valuable skills that you have and the skills that you need to bridge the gap, the dream (and subsequent reality) of working remotely becomes more attainable.

A very useful exercise is to draw up a personal list of pros and cons. No one person is the same and the reality of working remotely may manifest differently for you.

For me, I was initially gripped by fear at the thought of not having a guaranteed income as a freelancer. For Ollie, he realized that he had to do a lot of negotiating with the company he worked with in order to let him work remotely.

During this process, we discovered that there are different ways to set yourself up as a digital nomad and that there is no cookie-cutter method of making things work.

Remote Work Options

Knowing that each situation is unique is exciting. It means that you can adjust the process to work for you.

While working remotely is a great exercise in pushing your boundaries, it doesn’t need to make you feel uncomfortable. The transition from the corporate office to your choice of working space is adaptable.

Our experience presented the transition process in three different possible ways, namely:

  1. Soft
  2. Medium
  3. Hard

You can swap out these descriptions for your own choice of words. We’ve used words pertaining to the degree of serving an egg, with no particular preference for any style. But you can mix it up and make it exciting. For example; Serano, Habanero, and Carolina Reaper (if you know, you know).

We did a short video and blog on how we went through a trial period to figure out these various approaches. Find out more here.

Soft Approach to Working Remotely

soft approach to remote workThe soft approach means that you keep your job and move it remotely. This can work very well with various industries, and it’s exactly what Ollie did with his job. For context, Ollie works as a software developer for an e-learning company that is based in Johannesburg.

Essentially, the first step that he took was to open up a Cape Town branch of the company and then traveled up to Johannesburg every six weeks or so. This made it a lot easier to make the request to increase the distance.

The pros of the soft approach are that you have regular, consistent income and various benefits of being employed – such as medical benefits.

With COVID shifting the business landscape, this may be the reality for a lot of people. Now, you simply need to ask yourself if your location needs to be your home office or if it can extend to other corners of the globe (when travel opens up again).

Medium Approach to Working Remotely

medium approach to working remotelyThe medium approach requires a little bit of negotiating but can work out really well if done correctly. With the medium approach, you leave full-time employment from your current job and sign your previous employees as clients. This way you free up your location without going cold turkey on a reliable income.

The pros of the medium approach include the flexibility of working for yourself and having a client from the get-go, starting your client base strong. If you love your job, this is an especially great set up.

Hard Approach to Working Remotely

hard approach to remote work

Finally, the hard approach. With this method of going remote, you set yourself up as a business or freelancer and pray that you find work.  As a result, you may have one big retainer client or multiple freelance clients. It has its nerve-wracking moments but if you get it right – then it can be incredibly rewarding.

The pros of the hard approach are complete flexibility without having to answer to anyone other than the clients that you choose, and no micro-managing. If you play your cards right, then there’s also a great opportunity to maximize your earnings.

Tips For Working Remotely

There’s a good chance that many of you reading this are already adjusting to a life that involves working from home. You’ve probably trouble-shot many challenges and figured out what works best for you. In case you haven’t, here are a handful of tips on how to work remotely effectively.

  • Set yourself a routine – and stick to it. It’s so easy to let go of structure without the commute to break up different aspects of your life.
  • Plan for your day the night before. Outline your priorities and begin with them first.
  • Prioritize communication, especially if you’re working in a team that relies on regular updates.
  • Set up a dedicated workspace – and leave it at the end of the day. You can also include a non-work activity as part of your daily routine to symbolically close off the workday. For example, go for a jog, a stroll, or a surf.
  • Be strict with yourself during the workday. When you work remotely, you’re responsible for your own actions and responsibilities. There may not be anyone looking over your shoulder, but slacking doesn’t release the same dopamine high as ticking off a task does.

We’ve got a lot to share on the topic of working remotely – from experience. Tips on how to find jobs, keep jobs and make the dream a reality. There’s a lot more coming, so stay tuned! You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see how this manifests.

On a final note, Ollie wrote a really great piece on how COVID has accelerated the remote work revolution which you can read here.

P.S. We both like our eggs served soft (with no goo).

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