The Pembio Remote
Work Glossary

Welcome to our list of commonly used terms. The industry is always evolving, so the goal of this index is to clarify any confusing jargon you encounter. Not only will it help you make the most of our features, it’ll empower you to work smarter.


A

  • Asynchronous Communication

    Asynchronous communication is when individuals communicate in a manner where an immediate response is not expected or required. Examples of asynchronous communication include email threads and even coordinating tasks through Wrike.

  • Annualized hours

    Annualized hours are working hours that are calculated in an annual context rather than weekly or monthly. Annualized hours calculate the total number of hours available to work per year and then subtract hours for holidays and annual leave. The average is then calculated to arrive at an adjusted figure for weekly working hours.

  • Async-first

    Async-first describes a model in which a company defaults to async communication, using synchronous communication only whenever necessary. The async-first concept not only empowers members of a completely remote team to work together efficiently, but it also promotes documentation and allows tracing back past decisions and discussions at any time.

  • Agile

    A methodology for project and product management, typically used to deliver software projects in an iterative way with short bursts of work called “sprints”. Though initially designed as a process for IT and engineering projects, it has since been successfully applied to other industries like marketing. As the methodology has gained in popularity, agile (with a small “a”) has become a general business approach to support a more flexible working style with quick turn-around.

  • All-remote

    The term all-remote, or fully remote, refers to an organization that does not have a physical headquarters for its employees to attend in person. Instead, workers may carry out their responsibilities from home or co-working facilities. All-remote organizations are often spread across time zones, countries, and even continents. This means they have to make special considerations for how, when, and what platforms they use to communicate.

  • Alignment

    A state where managers, teams and individuals clearly link their day-to-day activities to the organization’s goals.


B

  • Blended Team

    A blended team is any team where some workers are based in an office or physical location and others are based remotely — or from home. Blended teams are already popular, and the concept is gaining traction. In fact, in 2020, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that 50% of the social media giant’s workforce would be remote by 2030. This makes blended teams an inevitability for the company and others like it.

  • Brick-and-Mortar Business

    A brick-and-mortar business is a business that has a physical location where customers and/or employees can attend in-person. These types of companies are seen as more “traditional” in nature. However, not every business is considered a brick-and-mortar business. In fact, giants like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have enabled sellers to reach global customers without ever taking out a lease on a physical location. The term “brick-and-mortar” refers to the classic building material required to establish a storefront.

  • Business Center

    A business center is essentially a large (and usually more luxurious) co-working space with shared services, such as meeting rooms, receptionist support, and general assistants. Business centers are popular “outposts” for remote-friendly companies, and allow remote workers or traveling employees access to a physical office or desk when they need to, without the cost of maintaining a central office and traditional commercial lease. Business centers are commonly attached to large hotels to allow employees access to facilities when they’re staying in the hotel.

  • Baseline

    A baseline is an estimate of the project’s scope, schedule and costs that is created during the planning stage. Its main purpose is to serve as a reference that is compared against the project performance once the execution phase begins. The baseline is established based on different sources of information such as project files from previous projects or subject matter expert opinions.

  • Business plan

    A formal document that clearly defines the business goals of a project and how to attain them. It is also called a Business Case. It includes the plans to fulfill these goals. There may also be some background information about the organization or team tasked to reach this goal.

  • Backlog

    Backlog is a term from the Agile methodology Scrum, but is also used across industries to track every single thing that is needed to complete a product in development. It is also used to capture requests for modifying the product and ensuring delivery with scope.


C

  • Cloud Storage

    Cloud storage is a system that allows devices to access up-to-date data and information from anywhere. For example, cloud storage solutions like Google Docs and Dropbox allow users to access work from multiple devices, locations, and networks. This data can even be opened and worked on simultaneously in many cases.

  • Case Study

    Used for a variety of purpose, case studies are generally research-based papers that deeply examines use cases of products in given applications or how different industries applied specific practices or approaches to their projects.

  • Cybersecurity

    Cybersecurity involves the practice of protecting systems, networks, devices, programs and data from malicious attacks, damage and unauthorized access. With more and more companies transitioning to remote work, implementing effective company-wide cybersecurity measures such as 2FA and a VPN is becoming increasingly important to protect both employees and sensitive data.

  • Co-Location

    Co-location describes a state of work where colleagues share the same facilities, attend in-person meetings, and are generally based out of the same office location.

  • Co-Working Space

    A co-working space is a shared office location where freelancers, remote workers, and other non-office based employees can attend based on a tiered subscription model. Some remote workers favor co-working spaces for flexibility, ease of access, and potential for networking and socializing. Co-working spaces allow workers to share facilities and resources like desks (also known as hot desking), printing service, and stable broadband. A co-working space allows individuals who are not based out of an office to reap some of the benefits of office life. Unstable internet, for example, can be a huge hurdle for some remote workers. A co-working space allows these workers to access stable internet and other amenities.

  • CAPEX

    CAPEX, or capital expenditure, is the money a company spends to acquire new fixed physical assets or upgrade old ones, typically for long-term use.

  • Co-Located Team

    A co-located team is any team where the majority of its members are based out of a central office location as opposed to multiple remote locations. These co-located teams do not face the same hurdles as dispersed or fully-remote teams. For example, they may frequently meet in person, hold live summits and conferences, and forge bonds based on close, office-based relationships.

  • Co-Working

    Co-working is the act of attending work in a mixed office setting where other freelancers and remote employees share resources and facilities. Co-working is often an attractive work option for self-employed individuals and teleworkers who wish to stave off isolation and unstable working environments.

  • Company Wiki

    Unlike a public wiki like Wikipedia, a company wiki is a private wiki that is accessible and editable by employees. Similar to a handbook, this central knowledge base may contain internal documentation about company processes, best practices and projects—all in one place and available to anyone via the cloud.

  • Conference Call

    A conference call is a call where several participants join at once via telephone or through an online voice service. A conference call does not have to include a video feature, but Zoom and Google Hangouts are two of the most popular video conference call applications for remote teams. For many dispersed and remote teams, conference and video calls are the primary avenues through which they can attend meetings, plan projects, and facilitate regular communication.

  • Conference Room

    A conference room is a room where workers can take calls, host meetings, and have project planning sessions in a quiet, secluded space. A conference room offers an oasis of privacy in a busy office setting, allowing employees to efficiently manage in-person and virtual communications without fear of distractions.

  • Contingency

    A plan for possible disaster occurring during your project, whether that be of the man-made or natural variety. It’s not merely data backup, but includes that and every other detail to ensure the project isn’t derailed by considering short- and long-term events and how to respond to them.

  • Commute

    To commute means travelling to and from work, and is something more or less the entire global workforce did prior to the pandemic. Research shows that the average American worker spends nearly half an hour commuting each direction, which means they spend almost ten full days going to and from work each year. Needless to say, a huge benefit of remote and distributed work is that you can cut commuting time to zero, and instead spend that time doing other things you want to do!

  • Compressed Working Week

    A compressed working week is a form of flexible working where an employee can condense their 40-hour workweek into longer but fewer days. For example, instead of working eight hours a day for five days a week, a worker might propose four 10-hour workdays. This allows for the same amount of hours but in fewer days.

  • Creator Economy

    The creator economy refers to the rise in bloggers, content creators, social media influencers, and online personalities who can monetize their audience online. This movement is becoming more mainstream, as making money online is becoming more permissionless and popular. Joe Rogan is a popular example of the rise in the creator economy, and it’s speculated that he makes around $30 million per year from his podcast and YouTube revenue.


D

  • Dependency

    Tasks or other activities that are inter-dependent on a project. Often one activity cannot take place prior to another one being completed. In this way, they are linked in a project, and can be noted as such in online project management tools. When you add a dependency in online project management software, you create a dependent-virtual link between two tasks to demonstrate that constraint.

  • Digital Nomad

    A digital nomad is a person who makes their living while traveling and working away from one fixed location. Their livelihood does not need to be connected to their travel. They can work as a freelancer, contractor, or even a full-time employee in a myriad of industries — all while on the go.

  • Distance Work

    Distance work is work that is completed by employees spread out across different locations. Some employees may be based out of the office in a distance work environment, while others are based from home or other locations.

  • Digital Work

    Digital work is work that is principally carried out with the help of online tools and software solutions. This contrasts with work that was previously achieved and completed by generating physical files and paperwork.

  • Distributed Team

    A distributed team is any team composed of workers spread across various locations. This can mean that employees may rarely if ever, interact with their colleagues in person due to geographic considerations. Distributed teams use digital tools to communicate and collaborate efficiently, relying on video conferencing, project management, and digital asset management software.

  • Deliverable

    Something contracted for delivery. It is a tangible item or intangible objective, but crucial to the success of the project. It can be a report, a document, some project building block or the end product delivered at the end of a project.

  • Dashboard

    A graphical way to share essential project data with stakeholders, a dashboard which makes diverse amounts of data and its underlying information easily digestible. Traditionally, dashboards were created “manually” by assembling select pie charts or data graphs in a presentation view. The data however, was often outdated by the time of the presentation. Modern project management tools offer real-time dashboards, so the data is viewed usually by bringing a laptop or tablet to a presentation or though client-logins to the software so everyone has access to the freshest data.

  • Dematerialization

    Dematerialization in a work context refers to the increasingly digitized nature of work. Instead of showing up to a physical location to work on physical outputs for a company, more people are producing digital-based work through virtual means.


E

  • Earned Schedule

    A method of measuring schedule performance that improves upon traditional earned value management. Earned value management tracks schedule variance only in terms of money and not in terms of time and thus does not accurately indicate schedule performance by the end of a project. To address this discrepancy, earned schedule theory uses the same data as traditional earned value management but tracks schedule performances separately with respect to money and time.


F

  • Fast Tracking

    A schedule compression technique or duration compression technique in which the duration of a critical path is shortened by performing sections of some critical path activities concurrently instead of consecutively.

  • Flexible Work

    In a flexible work arrangement, an organization normally provides the technology and the infrastructure required so that an employee can work from home or work from anywhere, be it temporarily or permanently. This often includes a laptop or desktop computer, a VPN and accessories such as a headset or webcam.

  • Future of Work

    Digitalization and globalization are rapidly changing the way we work and live. The future of work describes predictions about what workplaces and work habits might look like in the coming years. Read our outlook on the future of work from the perspective of a remote digital marketing agency for details!

  • Feasibility Study

    An evaluation of how likely a project is to be completed effectively, or how practical it is, taking resources and requirements into consideration.

  • Face-to-Face

    Similar to a conventional in-person meeting, a face-to-face meeting is one where the participants are co-located in the same physical location. The main difference is that face-to-face meetings frequently describe meetings in which only two persons are present, oftentimes sitting close to each other and looking at each other’s face.

  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

    FOMO describes the increasingly common anxiety of missing out on important tasks, approaching deadlines or exciting social events, which can often result in significant stress. Aside from isolation, the fear of missing out may be one of the most difficult-to-overcome challenges of remote work.


H

  • Home Office

    A home office is a designated area in a person’s residence, often separate from family and living spaces, for business purposes. Very common among employees who work from home and remote workers in general, a home office usually features at least a desk, chair, computer or notebook, telephone and printer.

  • Hybrid Team

    In contrast to a remote team, the majority of members on a hybrid team is co-located. Only a small percentage of the workforce is usually made up by employees that are scattered around the world and working remotely on a permanent basis—not infrequently as part of a WFA model.


K

  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

    A Key performance indicator is a metric for measuring project success. Key performance indicators are established before project execution begins.

  • Kanban

    This term literally means signboard or billboard in Japanese, and was developed in Japan by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota, as a scheduling system for lean and just-in-time production. Kanban project management controls the logistical chain from a production point of view, formally, but has since been used more popularly as a visual way to track tasks for individuals or teams. This is usually executed with online Kanban software.

  • Kickoff meeting

    This refers to the first meeting to formally start a project and usually involves key stakeholders, team members and clients, depending on the nature of the project. There are best practices defined for how to run this type of meeting, which usually includes communicating the overall project vision, plan, processes and expectations.

  • Knowledge Worker

    A knowledge worker is a worker who primarily interacts with knowledge and information to complete problem-solving and strategic tasks. This contrasts with workers who follow a set routine in their professional duties. In the June 2005 edition of “Journal of Knowledge Management,” Pasi Pyöriä noted distinctions between traditional work and knowledge work. Pyöriä noted that knowledge work often includes “low level of standardization, involves working with abstract knowledge and symbols.”


M

  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

    This is a term that refers to releasing a product with the highest return on investment versus risk, and was coined as a term by Frank Robinson and popularized by Steve Blank and Eric Ries. It often refers to the product or project scope pre-launch to avoid unnecessary scope creep; that is, team’s can get stuck trying to build new features into products in an attempt to please stakeholders or end users, rather than releasing the MVP and getting the product released quicker to the market.

  • Milestone

    This is a way to mark a specific point along the lifecycle of a project’s timeline to bookmark upcoming major accomplishments, including the start, finish, external review, budget checks, etc. They are points along the project that must be reached according to schedule for the successful completion of the project.


O

  • One-on-One

    Similar to a face-to-face meeting, a one-on-one is a scheduled meeting between two parties. The main difference is that one-on-ones do not require the participants to be co-located in the same location. One-on-ones allow managers to build rapport and trust among a remote team using tools like a video conference.

  • Off-site

    Situated away from a particular site. Traditionally, off-site meetings often take place at rented conference rooms or similar external venues. Another very popular example would be an off-site retreat that brings the members of a remote team together in-person from all over the globe for team building and other activities.

  • On-site

    Taking place at a particular place. Contrary to off-site meetings, on-site meetings usually always happen in a co-located setting such as at a company’s headquarters or at the client’s offices. As a result of the global pandemic, companies all over the globe move(d) all their workforce from on-site to off-site.


Q

  • Quality Assurance (QA)

    The degree of excellence related to project as well as a process to adhere to quality measures.


S

  • Synchronous

    The opposite of async. Synchronous or real-time communication requires all participants to be available simultaneously, albeit not necessarily co-located in the same location. Due to the nature of a remote team, this form of communication can pose considerable logistical challenges. Examples include phone, video conference as well as face-to-face conversation.

  • Scrum

    Scrum is an Agile methodology of iterative incremental process typically used for delivering software products. It refers to a Rugby term where short sprints are the Scrum team’s goal to deliver bundles of progress with the support of a team leader, also referred to as the Scrum Master. It is used in place of or in concert with traditional Waterfall-type approaches to delivering projects.

  • Stakeholders

    In a project or an organization, stakeholders are people or groups that have an interest or concern regarding the project. It might be a client in a private organization or the public in a government project or it could be end users on a product. Stakeholders often have to be managed or engaged throughout the life of the project, either through regular communications or active participation in the project.


T

  • Two Factor Authentication (2FA)

    2FA or multi-factor authentication is an authentication method that requires a user to provide a second authentication factor beyond the password—usually a security token or biometric factor. This adds an extra layer of cybersecurity protection when logging into personal accounts or applications.

  • Telecommuting

    Similar to remote work, telecommuting or telework is the practice of completing work assignments from a location other than a central office. Taking advantage of modern telecommunications technology and tools like the internet, email, chat, video conference as well as phone, telecommuters do not commute to a place of work.

  • Task Management

    This term broadly refers to the project management process of monitoring and evaluating the individual line items, or tasks, within a project. Task management can refer to managing the details of a task, based on current information or impacts on the delivery of that task, or it can involve managing people responsible for that task. Or it can refer to your personal task list.


V

  • Video Conference

    A video conference allows participants to meet and collaborate in real time, thereby mimicking a face-to-face experience without the need to get together in person. For any hybrid team, remote team or virtual team with members in different locations, video conferences are vital and can help alleviate feelings of isolation.

  • Virtual Hangout

    A virtual hangout provides a space where a group of people can dial into a meeting to interact and socialize via video and audio. When a remote team is distributed across borders and geographies, a synchronous virtual hangout can often be a viable alternative to the logistically challenging in-person meeting.


W

  • Work From Home (WFH)

    WFH describes an arrangement in which employees of co-located businesses may temporarily or permanently work from their place of residence, rather than reporting to the company’s offices. During the pandemic, many businesses have transitioned their whole workforce from the corporate headquarters to a work-from-home model.