Good science starts from good definitions. You have not given your definition of
remote, and I personally can think of at least three different scenarios:
- Work in office some days, from home some other days, but the office is withing commuting distance. It is true that academia does not care which computer you write your papers on, especially if you work is only on a computer (pure math, theoretical sociology, may be some computer science). Many companies allow their staff to work like that, especially if their roles are well defined and can be performed off-site.
- Collaborate remotely: you write a paper together with somebody in another university, in another country, etc. At the extreme, you meet the person with whom you published that paper only a couple years later at a conference where you are presenting it. I think nearly every paper with more than one author is written that way... although in some disciplines, a team of 10 authors means the personnel of a single lab.
- Work from home full time, with the nearest office being a few hours away. (My worst commute was get up at 4am, drive 2hrs to the airport, take a flight with a connection, total 4 hrs, spend 3 hours in meetings, take an 8pm flight, drive back, back home 1 am next day. Don't want to do this very often, thank you.)
All the responses so far addressed options (1) and (2). To me, "remote" means (3): I am sitting at least a time zone away from the rest of the company (I work in a private sector). There is absolutely no freaking way this could work in academia even if your work only involves a computer. (Obviously, if you are a biologist with a lab to attend every day to look at your mice, your question simply does not make sense.) If you raise a question like that in a job interview, you can bid it farewell, pack and go: there are dozens Ph.D.s waiting in line, and nearly each of them will take a job on any condition. (Yes, there's overproduction of Ph.D.s, which they probably did not tell you when you applied for that highly coveted degree. If there were no over-production, there would be no point to have this website, as university managers will be hunting Ph.D.s, not Ph.D.s hunting jobs.)
While you what you seem to see from your Ph.D. student perspective about academic work seems to be research (which is of course doable across continents if needed), you will HAVE to teach, and you will HAVE to do some service (department committees, qualifying exams, colloquia, campus involvement, etc.), and then later on take graduate students that you are supposed to pamper and educate. If you are thinking about post-doc options, then again the expectation is that you learn from your mentor, their lab and their department by being present there and working with them. You can't do this remotely.