MOAA’s 2021 Transition Guide: Is Remote Work Right for You?

MOAA’s 2021 Transition Guide: Is Remote Work Right for You?
Photo by Alistair Berg/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: This article is part of MOAA’s 2021 Transition Guide. A version of the guide appeared in the December 2020 issue of Military Officer magazine.


More and more of the American workforce is viewing remote work — with the added benefits of reduced stress and enhanced quality of life — as a great alternative to the traditional in-person work environment.


Some remote workers conduct and execute all of their functions from home or another space aside from a devoted office. Other companies may employ a hybrid model, granting their employees the flexibility to work from home some days and in the office on the others. While some businesses have offered remote work opportunities for many years, offsite work has become an increasingly popular trend as technologies have advanced.


The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the transformation to remote work. Before the pandemic, only 3.4% of employees worked remotely half-time or more, according to an analysis by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics. Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, said she believes the pandemic has caused employers to rethink the “where” and “how” of work and predicts 25-30% of the workforce will be remote on a multiple-days-a-week basis by the end of 2021.


Here are just a few of the factors driving the change:

  • Increased demand signal from employees. Before the national health crisis, surveys showed 80% of employees wanted to work remotely at least some of the time. While the experience of working at home during the crisis may not have been ideal, it offered people a glimpse of the possibilities for greater flexibility in their work schedules.
  • Reduced anxiety from managers and executives. Employee accountability may have been a holdup in the past, but because many leaders have also had to adopt alternative working arrangements due to the pandemic, they may now have found strategies to evaluate employee performance.
  • Cost-saving opportunities. Reducing the office footprint is an appealing opportunity to save money and increase profit.


So, is remote work the right fit for you? Advantages may include the elimination of a long commute, more flexible hours, and being able to optimize yourwork-life balance. On the other hand, possible challenges include a lack of structure, social isolation, greater reliance on self-motivation, and potentially limited access to the broader business team.


During your job search, networking, and the interview process, make sure the organizational fit and remote working arrangements are going to be right for you to find personal satisfaction and contribute to your long-term career growth.

Here are three methods to help you find that next remote work opportunity:


1. Bloom where you are planted. Have a conversation with your current employer. Inquire about some flexibility in your current position, and explore possibilities for telecommuting.


2. Connect with your network via LinkedIn. Let your contacts know exactly what you are looking for in your next career opportunity.


3. Use MOAA’s Job Board. Thanks to a partnership with Indeed, MOAA’s Job Board now offers all members of the military community a streamlined portal to connect with veteran-ready employers. Use keywords like “remote,” “telework,” and “telecommute” and other similar phrases to find positions with alternative work arrangements.


Tips for the Telecommute

Once you land a remote work position, ensure you are on track for success in your new role. Here are some tips for remaining productive from Salesforce Consultant Katie Levy:

  • Designate a workspace. Reserve a space for working with a separate area for leisure activities.
  • Establish a routine. Create a structure that helps you get in work mode and transition back out when it is time to unplug.
  • Set work hours and break time. When you work from home, it is harder to disconnect. Consider scheduling lunch and breaks on your calendar.
  • Set boundaries to stay productive. Have a conversation with your spouse, children, or roommates to establish ground rules for interaction.
  • Be flexible. Allow yourself to learn and then continue to adapt and adjust to keep your relationships strong and to enhance your productivity.


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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)
Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Anderson joined the staff of MOAA's Career Transition Services Department in August 2011. He served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force in a wide range of command and staff assignments. Connect with him on LinkedIn.