When I hear the words ‘remote’ and ‘work’ with relation to the future, my mind conjures up the image of robots huddled up in a corner possibly plotting against humanity inadvertently setting off the next franchise of Terminators.
And, I’m not alone. When work in the future is brought up, people can’t help but think of artificial intelligence.
AI and IoT have made great strides. According to Forbes, the IoT market is estimated to reach $123 billion dollars in 2021 and the global AI market $89 billion dollars by 2025. While it may be tempting to give in to the idea of the Matrix becoming reality, the human workforce isn’t going away anytime soon.
The only statement that we should pay attention to is that the future of work is remote. Gifted and talented human beings around the world are finally coming together to collaborate on projects. Mega-corporations like Amazon, Williams-Sonoma, Hilton, Dell, Philips and American Express allow employees to work remotely because of one simple fact.
Collaboration Doesn’t Require Colocation
Up until a few years ago, the concept seemed totally alien. Remote working seemed too chaotic as an idea.
How could you collaborate with people halfway across the globe? In different time zones?
Sure, there are companies that allowed telecommuting even back in the day but it falls short of how elaborate remote working is today.
Technology has finally caught up with several tools like Skype, Hangouts, Slack, Trello and Zoom that allow for seamless collaborative efforts.
This has led to more organizations toying with the idea of offering remote work for some employees if not all.
This begs the question – Is remote working a better alternative? And if so, who benefits from it?
The answer? Everyone.
Both employers and employees stand to gain a lot from this work practice.
Why Employees like Working Remotely –
40+ hour work weeks don’t exist
Remote employees don’t have to punch in or punch out slaving away because they don’t have to necessarily adhere to the 40 hours/week quota.
Usually, the only goal set for the employee on a workday is to complete the tasks at hand.
Micromanagement Isn’t on the Menu
According to Forbes, one of the main reasons for workplace demotivation is micromanagement. Micromanaging is a clear signal to an employee that employers don’t trust their work and can trigger disengagement.
Fortunately, remote working effectively ends micromanaging allaying most of the stress associated with it.
End to Long Commutes
Commuting for long hours which has proven adverse effects. Remote workers can skip that by either working from home or from their local Starbucks.
Long commutes not only affect productivity but can also have a negative impact on mental health. A study by VitalityHealth, the University of Cambridge, RAND Europe, and Mercer studied over 34,000 workers across all UK industries and found that 33% of longer-commuting workers are more likely to suffer from depression, 37% have financial worries and 12% are more likely to report work-related stress.
70% of workers admit they feel distracted at work according to a survey by Udemy. These distractions may come in the form of long office breaks, a nosy co-worker or office noise and hamper productivity. This may culminate in longer office hours and negative work reviews.
As a remote worker, you have full control over your environment leading to a more efficient workday and consequently better pay.
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According to a recent report by Inc Magazine, remote workers are 20% more productive. This statistic alone should excite employers to give remote working a shot. As it turns out, remote working benefits employers in more ways than one.
Employers Switching to Remote Work Have 5 Good Reasons
Hire Top Talent
Since location is inconsequential, employers are able to hire and retain skilled employees across the world.
In fact, 21% of tech professionals want to work remotely full-time and 73% consider it an important perk. This explains why Stripe’s 5th engineering hub is remote and why GitHub and Dell believe in remote teams.
No Infrastructure Necessary
With remote working, companies can forego infrastructure altogether or cut costs since highly-equipped offices are unnecessary for remote work. WordPress is a prime example of this.
They shut down their offices a few years ago and work with 100% distributed teams. Trello and Zoom have also executed a similar remote working model.
Save on Relocation, VISA, and Housing Costs
Relocation costs alone can range from $3000 to $100,000. Employers can cut back on relocation costs, housing, and VISA for employees with remote working.
Increased Employee Retention
Studies have shown that autonomy is responsible for job satisfaction and linked to higher productivity. Job satisfaction is a key factor in employee retention. Only 32% of US employees considered themselves engaged at work according to a poll by Gallup which is alarming.
This is why more employers are switching to remote work and take a step back from micromanagement and allow remote workers to enjoy a high degree of autonomy.
This point bears repeating. Remote workers are far more productive because they have fewer distractions, controlled work environments, have to commute less or not at all and are not exposed to contagions in the office leading to fewer sick days.
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The Case for Remote Work
Remote work allows for specific goals and timelines, an escape from office politics and transparency about the role and terms.
Employees are encouraged to invest in the company’s success and in turn, the employer has vested interests in the employee’s growth. This is in line with how millennials and Gen Z think.
64% of millennials would like to work remotely. In fact, 90% of current remote workers would like to continue working remotely. The millennial desire is not only to hold down a job but also want to have a life. VentureBeat understands this all too well.
Almost all of the editorial team is remote. WellFargo, Intuit, and even some United States departments champion remote work.
Advances in technology also point to the same thing. As Virtual Reality (VR) becomes commonplace, remote work will take on a new meaning. While AI and IoT may not steal jobs, we will definitely see a rise in humans and technology working together.
As co-working becomes the new normal and coffee shops adapt to make way for technological updates, 100% remote teams does not seem to be an unlikely future.
Remote work also promotes inclusiveness. The differently abled, digital nomads, young parents can all work in environments under their control set up for maximum productivity.
Since infrastructure and time isn’t a barrier for them, everyone can participate to their full potential.
What it comes Down To
The only real barrier to remote work is the lack of effective communication. As long as employers and employees understand what is expected from them, it does not matter whether you work from Hyderabad or Hong Kong location isn’t make or break for remote work, unlike real estate.