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Do remote work and WFH mean the same thing?

UK remote jobs

Job ads can sometimes be confusing with their use of "remote" vs "work from home". (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels)

When you’re on the hunt for the perfect job opportunity, semantics may matter more than you think. It pays to be able to distinguish between the two terms.

So, you’ve just stumbled across the perfect job ad. It’s in your field of interest, you’re perfectly well qualified, the compensation package seems reasonable and it promises remote work.

But, wait. Is it offering 100% remote? As in, you can work from anywhere in the world? Or is it work from home only? Or is it hybrid? And does it make a difference?

There is a subtle difference in lingo that can matter a lot when it comes to landing your dream job. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for in your search for the perfect remote job.


Semantics make a difference

Recruiters often include the word "remote" in job ads to attract more candidates. (Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova on Pexels)

Recruiters today know how much working adults the world over want remote jobs. They’re well aware that most jobseekers won’t even look at a job vacancy unless it has the word “remote” somewhere in the heading.

That’s why you may often come across the concept of “remote work” expressed in different ways across various job postings.

Unfortunately, some recruiters use this high interest in remote to be misleading about what they’re actually offering.

This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to pay attention to the difference to know what the job actually entails.


Does “remote” = “work from home”?

The terms “remote” and “work from home” (WFH) are often used interchangeably. But they’re not necessarily the same.

Home working is a form of remote work, absolutely. If you see a job advertising WFH, then you can be sure at the very least that you’ve landed on a remote job.

"Remote jobs" can refer to a lot of things, including work from home jobs. (Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels)

“Remote” by itself is a little more tricky. It can mean working from:

The challenge is there’s no one rule for how an employer can phrase remote work.

You’ll have to be diligent in reading a job description carefully to determine whether it is genuinely remote work or whether it means you may not have to work in a physical, traditional office every day of the week.

Of course, hybrid work may be perfectly fine for you. Perhaps a company’s remote arrangement suits you just fine.

The important thing is that you understand upfront exactly what the job entails and that it lines up with your expectations of the ideal job.

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