Which are the best and worst jobs for remote work?

  • young woman working remotely
Published on 2024-01-08 at 10:00 by Asaël Häzaq
For some time, we were in the midst of a remote working revolution, where the traditional office setting was being replaced by the freedom to work from anywhere. However, the reality is different due to factors like security, practicality, and the need for social interaction. Which professions are most adaptable to remote work, and which require a physical presence in the workplace?

Remote working: British Conservatives call to order 

Civil servants working from the beach have sparked outrage among British Conservative MPs since late 2023. All eyes are on the Department for Energy Security, which has approved remote working. The decision came under pressure from unions, advocating for "occasional" work by civil servants while they are abroad.

To better understand the initial significant organizational changes at Whitehall, the historic administrative center of the British government, you have to go back to 2020. In response to the pandemic, the British administration eased its regulations on remote working and IT to ensure the continuity of services. Despite the end of the pandemic, these relaxed measures remain. For the unions, there's no question of turning back the clock. Instead, they advocate for civil servants with connections to foreign countries to have the option of occasional remote work from these locations. The Conservatives, however, firmly reject this proposal.

However, the executive is more conciliatory. It suggests allowing remote work on an "exceptional" basis, but only if the employee can legally do so. Remote work would, therefore, be limited to people visiting family or friends, with a maximum of two weeks per year. This proposal has triggered strong opposition from conservatives who argue that holidays and work should not be mixed. They raise concerns about IT security issues and, more significantly, insist that the government's generosity is an unnecessary expenditure of taxpayers' money, urging the government to reconsider. According to them, civil servants should be based in the UK workplace, not on the other side of the world. The executive is taking note of this message and reminds us that remote work for civil servants is prohibited except in exceptional circumstances.

Remote work: The ideal jobs, and the others

Although certain companies are calling for a full return to office work, remote work still has a bright future. Since the Covid pandemic, it has become an essential part of work organization and shows no signs of fading away. Companies are adjusting, and professions that were traditionally centered around face-to-face interactions are also adapting to the remote work environment.

The best-suited jobs

The first jobs that come to mind are those within the digital sphere, including jobs that only necessitate a computer and the Internet. For instance, most digital nomads occupy roles such as community managers, developers, graphic designers, SEO referrers, SEO consultants, web editors, journalists, translators, web admins, marketing managers, brokers, coaches, art directors, photographers, and many more.

Other more traditional professions are also opening up to remote working, for example, teleconsultants, telemarketers, secretaries, legal assistants, lawyers, accountants and teachers. Remote work can be occasional, part-time, or full-time. However, it requires work reorganization, especially for employees allowed to work remotely.

Jobs that are incompatible with remote work

While remote work is gaining popularity, it's only suitable for some professions. Some jobs require a physical presence in the workplace, while others are simply incompatible with remote work. It's hard to imagine a cab driver working from home, just as it is for healthcare professionals, airline pilots, bus or train drivers, construction workers, archaeologists, firefighters, heating engineers, farmers, railway workers, hairdressers, waiters, cooks, lifeguards, civil servants, and many others. The list is long. Several significant categories of professions are incompatible with remote working for various reasons.

Data protection

By highlighting the attitude of civil servants working "from the beach," the British Conservatives remind people of the critical aspect of data protection. In an era where hackers are increasingly targeting institutions, allowing civil servants to connect from overseas represents a threat. There's a risk of sensitive information being leaked, given the potentially more relaxed attitude of civil servants abroad. Similarly, professions dealing with the storage of customers' personal information require the worker's physical presence for security reasons.


Another significant category of professions incompatible with remote work includes those where interpersonal interaction is indispensable—transport, plumbing, sales, agriculture, cleaning, personal services and teaching. The necessity for physical contact in these professions can be both technically essential (imagine trying to fix a plumbing issue remotely) and morally crucial. For example, despite the increasing shift to automated checkouts in retail to reduce payroll costs and boost profits, many customers still find interacting with cashiers indispensable. Rather than being alone in front of a machine, they prefer spending a few minutes talking with a cashier. Similarly, traditional teaching remains irreplaceable despite the surge in online classes.

Frequent travel

Another large group of professions that are difficult to adapt to remote working are those involving frequent travel. Throughout the pandemic, several real estate agencies had to adjust by providing virtual property visits. However, this adaptation didn't alter the nature of the real estate agent's profession, as the industry swiftly reverted to its usual operations. Viewing a property in person remains one of the initial recommendations for future buyers. Salespeople and delivery personnel, who often need to travel extensively or cover long distances, fall into this group of customer-facing professions that are challenging to align with remote work.

What about a 100% remote working world?

The vision of a fully dematerialized world will have to wait. Despite the futuristic idea of a professional world dominated by remote work, there is a growing trend toward returning to the office. The limitations of remote work extend beyond technical constraints. The global health crisis has highlighted the importance of social connections. Employees have experienced the effects of "full remote," including excessive working hours and a sense of detachment from the company.

The meaning of the workplace goes beyond being merely a space for productivity. The office is also a place of life and social interactions, a fact well-recognized by employers. A middle ground is being sought to bring back employees and attract talent: a bit of remote work and a substantial transformation of the physical workspace. Sad offices are being replaced with vibrant furnishings, prioritizing elements like plants and areas for rest, relaxation, and recreation. Emphasis is increasing on preserving mental health, and employees are given more autonomy in organizing their workdays. These changes might very well form the foundation of the companies of tomorrow.