The Remote Work Differences No One Talks About

Marissa Goldberg
6 min readFeb 7

When I ask people about the differences between remote and office work, they typically bring up location and lack of commute. However, there’s a lot more to it. Understanding these differences can change your entire remote work experience.

Companies that understand these differences transform everything from their hiring practices to how they manage teams. Individuals who understand these differences burn out less and know how to advance their careers without going into an office. Let’s break the differences down so you can reap the same rewards.

On a high level, the three main differences between remote and in-person work come down to:

  1. Accountability
  2. Judgment
  3. Autonomy


Accountability is all about how you get yourself to do the work. For the most part, accountability in the office heavily relies on peer pressure. In the office, you wouldn’t come in at noon because you know your coworkers would judge you and believe you’re a slacker. You would also do work (or at least attempt to look busy) because of the other people around you.

When you work remotely, this default peer pressure level of accountability disappears. Instead, your accountability relies primarily on your internal drive. No eyes are on you if you’re in a healthy remote work environment. So how do you get yourself to start work? How do you get yourself to do the things you need to do? Knowing the answers to these questions is critical to your success as a remote worker.

Companies that don’t recognize this change end up trying to force peer pressure back in through surveillance methods or micromanagement. However, these are unhealthy tactics that are easily gamed and don’t measure the correct values.

Companies that recognize the change update their hiring practices to test for internal drive. They also encourage leadership styles that help team members build their accountability skills.

Individuals who don’t recognize this change frequently burn themselves out by trying to force themselves to do work through sheer power of will. They only stop this cycle when they take the time to learn their motivating…