Working remotely has traditionally held a bad reputation, but more and more companies are adopting work-from-home policies. Check out the latest trends in remote work.
Remote workers have a terrible image historically. Because their managers couldn’t supervise their direct reports at home, many businesses feared their employees would be too easily distracted there.
A decade ago, remote work was hardly ever done. Working from home was often only possible under rare circumstances to support families in particular situations. But because to advancements in teleconferencing and telework technologies, several companies now successfully run entirely remote teams. In reality, corporations frequently permit their staff to work from home once or twice every week.
Additionally, remote labour can aid in halting the spread of disease, saving businesses from productivity losses and promoting public health. For instance, in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the COVID-19 epidemic pushed several firms to switch to a remote work style for all workers.
We’ll look at the history of working remotely, the status of the workforce now, and forecasts for the future of remote employment to assess the efficacy of communication technologies and remote work.
Is remote working effective?
Most businesses would have objected ten years ago to the concept of employees frequently working from home. The main worry of most businesses when it came to remote labour was productivity loss. How effective and productive can a person be if they are not constantly being watched over by superiors and coworkers?
Airtanker conducted a study of 1,004 full-time employees throughout the United States, 505 of whom worked remotely, to better understand the efficiency of remote work. According to the findings, remote employees are more productive than their office-based colleagues. The research revealed the following:
- In comparison to those who work in offices, remote workers put in an extra 1.4 days of work every month, or approximately 17 extra hours a year.
- While working an extra 10 minutes each day, remote workers take longer breaks than office workers do (22 vs 18 minutes, respectively).
- Without taking into account lunch or breaks, office workers are unproductive for an average of 37 minutes a day, but remote workers are only unproductive for 27 minutes.
- Only 15% of remote workers reported that their employer was a distraction from their work, compared to 22% of office-based employees.
Although these figures could persuade both workers and companies to adopt a work-from-home policy, remote workers also revealed greater stress levels and more challenges in striking a work-life balance than office-based workers. The American Psychological Association claims that, when done properly, remote employment may raise employee satisfaction.
Working remotely is beneficial in the long run, but it must be done right, and it may not be the ideal option for every worker or every company.
How remote work has evolved
Prior to the development of the technology, remote work as we know it was not even a possibility. Emails, texts, and direct messages couldn’t be used to contact you if your coworkers and business partners needed to speak with you while you were away from the workplace. To conduct a business-related chat, you would have needed to give an additional phone number, pager, or even a fax number. Even “remote” full-time professions weren’t what they are now.
According to Samantha Lambert, head of human resources at website design firm Blue Fountain Media, “ten years ago, remote employment essentially meant a telemarketing or customer support role at below minimum pay.” It hardly ever had anything to do with a full-time profession. Thanks to technology, we can now complete the same task from anywhere in the globe. We may now contact clients or coworkers at any moment thanks to it.
Video conferencing is one of the most useful tools for flawless remote work. Live video streams make it possible for remote workers to view and communicate with one another in real time, from any location with an internet connection—the closest thing to a face-to-face conference. However, without the widespread deployment of broadband internet during the previous 10 to 15 years, this capacity would not be achievable.
Because of how swiftly technology has developed, many organizations now operate out of coworking spaces rather than traditional offices to suit their primarily remote workforce.
Shared office spaces, where remote workers may congregate to work, have been developed and are becoming prevalent in various places, according to Lambert. This alone illustrates the rise in remote employment over the past few years.
In times of crisis, such as a natural disaster or an epidemic, remote employment often offers special opportunity. For instance, the capacity for many employees to carry out their job obligations totally from home can assist safeguard both the general public’s health and the ongoing profitability of the company as COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, spreads quickly around the world.
The current state of remote work
Teleworking is now a common practice in many offices both in the United States and throughout the world as a result of these developments in communication and internet access. While preserving their job objectives, some remote employees even travel the world. Remote workers also use coffee shops or coworking spaces to do their business.
According to Stacey Epstein, CEO of Zinc, “the modern workforce is increasingly mobile, collaborative, and dynamic, and contains many generations with diverse communication preferences.” These workers originate from many industries, and each of them presents particular difficulties for keeping connected while working.
For a variety of reasons, many businesses have opposed this employment trend. Some company owners could worry about their workers’ lack of productivity, while others might not have made the necessary investments in teleconferencing and telework technology to accommodate distant workers. Even so, a lot of other companies have dabbled in the remote workforce by establishing a work-from-home policy for one or two days a week or as an exemption for a select few employees.
In a remote work study by Buffer, 75% of respondents stated their employers don’t pay for internet charges, and 71% indicated they don’t pay for coworking spaces for staff members. These figures are only slightly better than those from the previous year, when 78% of businesses failed to pay for internet expenses and 76% failed to pay for coworking spaces. While the workforce’s demand and expectation for working remotely grows dramatically each year, businesses are only gradually implementing remote-friendly rules.
By eliminating the need for pricey office space (or satellite offices) and giving employees the freedom to choose their own schedules and work from wherever they wish, organizations may save money by implementing a remote working policy. It can be a win-win circumstance.
What the future holds
According to Fast Company, virtual reality conferencing, mobile work tools, and remote work software will all overtake in-person meetings as the preferred mode of communication. AI will probably play a significant part in managing remote employees as well.
These developments might make businesses feel more at ease. Although managing a remote workforce might be challenging, it is possible to make the shift smoothly with the correct technology and dedicated staff.
Fighting the shift may end up doing more harm than good in the long run. Today’s workforce has become accustomed to working remotely. 99% of currently employed remote employees, according to Buffer, said they would prefer to continue working from home for the remainder of their lives. Nine points more than the result from the same survey taken the year before.
Furthermore, 37% of remote workers said they would accept a 10% wage drop to keep working from home, according to Global Workplace Analytics. Since of this widespread tendency, some people decline to work onsite jobs because they already know where to go for jobs that are more accessible and flexible.
Organizations should enhance their remote work rules and capabilities rather than fighting the shift. Lambert advises developing standardized key performance indicators (KPIs) for management and staff if your organization is worried about productivity and performance concerns as a result of a company-wide capacity to work from home. She said that by doing this, distant team members may be monitored for performance and made aware of expectations.