Remote Working

Remote Working: Pros, Cons, and Trends You Need To Know

Thanks to the growth of the internet, remote working is one of the fastest-rising emerging trends in the business sector. This concept involves businesses decentralizing their workforce by having them work outside of a central office. Remote working (or telecommuting) enables employees to work from home, or anywhere they feel comfortable doing so.

For a business that’s planning its future success, utilizing a remote workforce will be a critical factor. As an employee, you should also start making arrangements for joining the remote workforce if you are looking to further your career options. Telecommuting is here to stay and will very likely help to shape the future of the business sector.

The Top 5 2019 Remote Working Stats for Companies

There have been numerous reports predicting that robots and AI programs will replace much of the workforce in the future. This is quite possible as we have seen some industries like manufacturing and market analytics being taken over by robots and AI. Despite this, the future of work will be dominated by a remote workforce. Here are the top 5 2019 statistics that support this fact.

1. Up to 70% of Employees Worldwide Telecommute at Least Once Weekly.

As the working remotely keeps getting mainstream, IWG conducted a study that revealed that up to 70% of employees around the globe telecommute at least once a week. Of the 70%, 50% work remotely almost half the week.

This survey was conducted with professionals from different industries in 96 countries. Though the statistics fluctuate from one country to another, the trend is quite consistent across the board.

2. 53% of Companies are Taking Advantage of Flexible Talent.

Today, more than half of companies are taking advantage of a flexible workforce. Freelancers and temporary workers make up a large part of this flexible workforce. These statistics were published by Upwork, which is one for the most dominant platforms for companies to find freelancers.

Moreover, 6 out of 7 managers in the business sector believe that soon, having a remote workforce will be normal for most companies, thanks to its numerous advantages.

3. Two-Thirds of Employers Noted Increased Productivity With a Remote Workforce.

Research has suggested that workers who work remotely are more productive than in-office workers. Fully 2/3 of employers in different sectors have noted increased productivity with employees who work away from the office. This increased productivity is thought to be mainly because there are no distractions from colleagues like there are in a typical office environment.

4. 57% of the U.S. IT Industry is Remote.

More and more industries are embracing telecommuting. 57% of the U.S. IT industry works remotely. The industry is second only to the transportation sector, where 61% of the workforce is remote. Other sectors are also increasingly taking in remote workers.

5. One-Third of Employees are Looking for Opportunities to Work Remotely.

Apart from business, employees are also embracing the remote working culture. A poll done by Gallup pointed out that 1/3 of employees are looking for opportunities to work remotely. This is especially true for younger employees.

Advantages of Remote Working

There are numerous advantages to telecommuting. However, it’s important to look at them from both the company’s and employee’s perspective.

The advantages of having a remote workforce for companies include:

1. Increased Productivity of Workers

As pointed out earlier, remote workers are generally more productive than in-office workers. As a business, this increased productivity can be very beneficial in helping you reach your goals. Every company seeks to grow and to be able to do this, it needs to optimize its productivity.

Apart from the lack of distraction from colleagues, employees who work remotely are more productive because of:

Better Teamwork

Though it might not look so, employees who telecommute are better at teamwork than their office counterparts. Today, thanks to advancements in communications technology, it is much easier for workers miles apart to collaborate. This is thanks to tools like group video conferencing and file-sharing applications.

More Presence

Employees who work in an office are more likely to be absent or leave work early to run errands. This significantly lowers their productivity. On the other hand, employees who work remotely generally don’t do these things.

Remote Working
Remote Working Gives Workers Flexibility

They have the freedom to plan their day as necessary to meet both their work and personal obligations. This results in better productivity and happier workers.

2. A Remote Workforce Saves Significant Operational Costs.

It’s no secret that leasing real estate for an office for employees is quite costly. Apart from the real estate costs, there are other additional bills, like water, sanitation, food, and electricity. The more in-office staff your company has, the higher these costs will be. By hiring remote staff, your business can see significant savings on the cost of operation.

Some statistics suggest that as an employer, you are likely to save more than $11,000 per employee in annual operational costs if your staff telecommutes. You can redirect this savings towards growing your company or freeing up cash flow.

3. Allows for Easy Recruitment of Top Talent

As a business aiming for success, you need top talent to achieve your goals. Recruiting top talent may not be easy for you if the employees have to work in-office. There might be challenges such as distance which may make it hard for the employee to work in your office. Though they might be willing to move, if they live in another country, there might be immigration challenges. Cultural changes may also affect an employee’s productivity.

I personally know an attorney who was able to hire a fantastic talent solely because he was able to give her the opportunity to work remotely.

#RealLifeExample

You can avoid most of these challenges as a company if you are open to your employees working remotely. You can easily hire the best talent from anywhere in the world and focus on growing your business. Hiring employees from far and wide might also help your business expand into new markets.

The Advantages of Remote Working for Employees Include:

A Better Work-Life Balance

As an employee, even though you might be working only 8 hours a day, if you live in a large metropolitan area, you will waste a lot of time commuting to and from work. You might have to wake up early and come back home late thanks to inconveniences like traffic jams. This will leave you with a very poor work-life balance and degrade your quality of life. If you choose to go the telecommuting route, you can avoid most of this, which can improve your work-life balance.

Improved Health

If you work remotely, you will likely avoid the city where pollution levels are high and can live in a more relaxed place. This would likely have a positive impact on your health. Additionally, as you now have a better work-life balance, you can dedicate more time to exercising, and this will significantly improve your health.

Reduced Expenses

As part of the remote workforce, you will no longer have to plan for transportation expenses to get to work. Its means that you will be saving money that you would have otherwise used for transportation. The latest statistics indicate that through remote working, you could save up to $7,000 every year. This saved money will mean more disposable income for you, which you can use to improve your quality of life.

Go Ahead, Tell Your Boss You Are Working From Home

Reduced Stress

Most employees working in offices fall victim to stress, which negatively affects not only their productivity but also their health. This stress is mainly caused by the pressure to deliver and the competition created by the office environment. As an employee, you can avoid such stress by working remotely. Statistics indicate that employees working remotely have 85% less stress than in-office employees.

Disadvantages of Telecommuting

Despite its numerous benefits, having a remote workforce has some drawbacks to the employer and also employees who are part of it.

Disadvantages for Employers:

• The initial cost of setting up a home office for every person in the remote workforce might be high for the company. This is especially true for industries where more than just a computer is needed for the employee to work effectively.

• There is little direct supervision of the employee. If the employee is not very diligent with their responsibilities, they can derail the company’s efforts to reach its goals.

If you don’t trust someone enough to work with limited supervision, don’t hire them in the first place.

#ProTip

• Since there is little face to face interaction between the employer and employees, conflicts can quickly arise. Such disputes can be an unnecessary distraction and affect the morale of the workforce.

Disadvantages for Employees Working Remotely:

• As an employee, the biggest challenge you are likely to face as you work remotely is work-family conflict. This is especially true if you are a parent and your kids are still young. They are likely to interrupt you regularly as you work and this will diminish your productivity.

• As you telecommute, you will miss out on the social interactions brought about by working in an office. This can be lonely and can significantly affect your life if you don’t find ways to interact with people.

• It can be an uphill task maintaining the discipline and motivation needed to work productively. Since you are under no supervision, you will be more tempted to engage in non-work activities. This will reduce your productivity. Worse yet, a drop in performance can potentially threaten your job security.

• You may have a lower chance for promotion while working remotely, unlike if you are working in an office. As you rarely interact with your employer, they won’t be able to fully gauge your ability to lead. As a result, it may be more difficult to move up in the organization.

Remote Working Trends to Watch

With remote working becoming more mainstream, new trends are emerging that will impact its growth. Whether you are a business owner or part of the remote workforce, familiarizing yourself with these trends will help you plan for the future. Here are some notable trends:

The Rise of “In-Office Days” For Employees Working Remotely

More and more businesses are recognizing the mental health impact that the loneliness of working alone has on their employees. 21% of workers who telecommute pointed out loneliness to be their biggest challenge. To try and address this, companies are creating regular in-office days for their remote workforce where they can interact with their colleagues.

Further Integration of the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most revolutionary technological developments of the recent past. As remote working goes mainstream, there will be further integration of IoT. Both employers and employees are likely to take advantage of the benefits provided by smart homes. This can allow them to work while they do other household chores.

Increased Training for Remote Staff

As a more significant percentage of employees in organizations start working remotely, businesses are going to need to invest in training their remote staff. This training will be driven by the desire of companies to maximize their productivity with the changing workforce dynamics. Soon businesses will have dedicated teams that travel to train their remote workforce.

Increased Specialization

As the talent pool for individuals looking to work remotely increases, specialization for employees will also increase. This means that remote workforces will work as teams with each employee handling a specialized task. The result will be better productivity and efficiency.

Planning For The Future

As a business owner, there is no better time to start defining strategies to incorporate a remote workforce into your company. Beginning early means that as telecommuting becomes more mainstream, you will be well prepared to take full advantage of it.

It will be much easier for your company to adapt and prosper from this massive revolution if you have already built a foundation to embrace it.

Kevin A. Nye

A veteran of multiple industries, Kevin A. Nye has parlayed more than 20 years of management and leadership experience into a consultancy designed specifically for the benefit of small businesses. Having served in roles in Supply Chain, Operations and Regional management, Mr. Nye was most recently the Chief Operating Officer of a regional steel company and is currently focusing his expertise to help small business owners create the organizational foundation required to grow their enterprise.

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