The Remote Work Vocabulary

23 Sep, 2022 | Read in 5 minutes

Here is a list of words that are commonly used in remote work and what they mean.


Are you a remote worker? You can work from anywhere and share work efficiently over the internet. Slowly you will also find the internet full of businesses looking to hire all remote workers. So, that is the reason why the demand for remote workers is increasing.

Some terms will confuse you if you are a newcomer to remote work. But don't worry, there's nothing wrong with that. This post will open your eyes to some of the most familiar remote work terms and maybe some slang. Here is remote work vocabulary divided into some categories.

Types of remote work

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Let's start with the types of remote work.

1. Digital Nomad: someone who works from multiple locations as they travel. 

“I'm a digital nomad sipping my Balinese coffee and buying Ethereum in Hanoi after I graduated from LA.”

2. Work From Home (WFH): an employment arrangement that allows you to work from home and not in an office or central place of work. But you're still tied with the office's regulations.

“I have worked from home since COVID-19 came to Malaysia.”

3. Remote Work: an employment arrangement in which employees do not commute to a central place of work or an office. You can work from anywhere you want.

"I have been starting remote work permanently since last year."

4. Telecommute: a type of work in which an employee completes work assignments from outside the traditional workplace by using telecommunications tools such as email, phone, chat and video apps.

“As a writer, I usually telecommute using email.”

5. Freelancer: a term usually used for people who are self-employed and not committed to a particular long-term employer.

“Since becoming a freelancer, I have more time to take care of my family.”

Company Policies

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This section will discuss companies' official policies when they permanently implement remote work.

1. Partial: Some employees work from home and office. Partially divided by role and situation.

“We're happy to announce a partial work-from-home policy for our Nakama.”

2. Fully Remote: a policy that a company applies to let employees work from anywhere.

“As a fully remote company, we have traditions for our new squad. It's like an onboarding program, but in a different style.”

3. Remote First: an organisational policy that allows working remotely as the primary option for most or all employees.

“We raised $10 million to build a collaboration SaaS for teachers. We're hiring. We're remote first.”

4. Optional: an organisational strategy in which employees are free to have the choice to work in the office or at home.

“In our office, employees can choose to work from home or office. Yes, we apply the optional strategy.”

5. Hybrid: a flexible working model in which employees have the chance to work partly in the physical workplace, and partly remotely - at home or from another workspace.

“Google officially announces a hybrid work policy in May 2021.”


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In the dictionary of remote workers, several terms mention work locations, not just a house or a cafe.

1. Home Office: a house or apartment dedicated to getting work done.

“I turned the warehouse into a home office.”

2. Co-working space: a shared public space that serves to complete the work of various employees from various companies. Sometimes a company rents a co-working space as a temporary workspace instead of an office.

“I had a co-working space at MuMild until they went out of business.”

3. Company Retreat: a gathering for the team of coworkers in a physical location.

“We had a great 'Craft Brew & Brainstorm' session at our company retreat in Thailand.”

4. Location-Independent: describes a person who can work from anywhere. They sometimes travel while working.

5. Virtual Office: a service that provides business and contains office addresses, telephone numbers, mailing addresses and meeting rooms without needing physical space. The existence of a virtual office is a vital point in this environment.


Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

You will start to get to know some terms in a remote working environment.

1. Remote onboarding:  the process of training and integrating new employees who work remotely.

“Send out some company id cards, pens, and tote bags. We're remote onboarding three new people next week.”

2. Asynchronous communication: any communication that does not happen in real-time. It can be via email, chat, comments on the project or DM. This communication is helpful for remote teams spread across multiple time zones.

3. Distributed team: another way of saying a remote team is a distributed team. Fully distributed companies have embraced remote work and hire only employees who work from home or anywhere.

4. Single Source of Truth: refers to how information is shared digitally and shows where employees can find the information they need.

5. Employer of Record: the organisation or team responsible for tax payments and compliance. In addition, they can take anything that may fall within the scope of human resources.

6. Remote Hiring: the recruitment process is virtual, and the interview process also takes virtually. Several technology-based companies have implemented remote hiring.

Acronym and Slang

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1. EOD/EOM/EOW: stands for End of Day, End of Month, and End of Week. This term is often used for regular deadlines and expecting the team to update at that time.

“I need your final report on my desk by EOD. Thank you.”

2. Expat: describes someone who lives outside their home country. Expats can also be digital nomads who live in other countries.

3. Daily Stand Up: not a meeting that has to stand. It is typically held in the morning and contains a brief check-in of what the employee will do and shares any blockers.

4. Work-Life Balance: a lifestyle that tradeoff in time spent between work and personal life. This lifestyle is a balance between work and personal life.

5. Gig Economy: a dynamic setting where freelance work is becoming common. Under this regulation, companies can switch from hiring permanent workers to short-term independent contractors. Previously this term was known as the collaborative economy.

6. Jellies: a group of local remote workers who gather in a public place to start collaborating. The location is accessible and can be a co-working, cafe or library.

7. Remote Curious: a group interested in switching to remote work regulations. Generally, they include workers with traditional models.

8. Agile: a project management method that divides a project into smaller, measurable tasks. Several project management methods exist, but Agile is the most popular among remote workers.

9. KPI (Key Performance Indicators): indicators set by the team to show that the project is going in the right direction. KPI is a benchmark for remote workers because it can boost productivity.

Wrapping Up

We realise that this list is by no means exhaustive. The remote work vocabulary is constantly evolving and increasingly diverse. However, I hope these terms will familiarise you with the remote working environment! Don't forget to share with your coworkers!

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