Nobody has a crystal ball, but there are clues today about what might come tomorrow. Technology and innovation are moving so fast and so many aspects of our daily lives are changing and transforming. The workplace is one sector of our lives that is radically being transformed with new technology and altering the traditional 9-5 office paradigm that had become the norm.
Remote work was not just something that started in the late 2000s with the advent of the internet—although that seems to be the impression. The nature of work has been changing for a long time. It was as early in the 1970s that people began to notice that our jobs were more heavily dependent on information and clerical skills and less on labor and muscle power. Thus, the concept of what we know now as remote work was born. In the 1970’s Nasa engineer Jack Niles wrote a book arguing the merits of what he called “telecommuting” as a form to alleviate the already growing sprawl and traffic problems occurring with the daily commute.
It’s probably no surprise to anyone that today’s jobs are far more sedentary than they were a century ago. Our workforce has migrated to the digital realm and many new jobs involve working with computers and digital communication. The trend has spread across industries and some of the more popular remote jobs today include:
To the thousands of companies that hire remote workers every year, the new model has proven to have some benefits. Some of these benefits have been studied and observed now for a few years.
Improving productivity. Depending on who you ask, you might get a different answer, but the evidence is quite clear. Combining some form of remote work has proven to improve productivity and improve worker performance.
Reduces Distractions. By working from home, people are often shielded from the distractions offered in an office and the monotonous environment that forms around them. Working from home allows them to control their time better and how they see fit. Imagine removing that hectic one hour commute from your employees already stressful day-to-day. This can make a huge difference in daily well-being.
Reduces Costs. Whether it is a start-up or a mid-size business, reducing operating costs without a reduction in quality or output is always embraced. When a company can keep an employee productive, encourage their creativity, and reduce operating costs, this is quite a promising prospect for any employer.
Employee Work-Life Balance. Remote employees have reported a much more satisfying work-life balance when they have options to work from home. This allows them to take care of household duties and childcare (if necessary) doctor’s appointments, and other personal problems, while adjusting work hours as necessary. This often reduces tremendous stress on employees forced to drive to an office and stay there for the full workday.
Nobody knows for certain, but many trends today are pointing towards a movement— especially in certain sectors—towards a mobilized workforce. This is no longer just a Millenial trend, as it was often characterized. It is estimated that about a quarter of all employed Americans are working from home. According to the NY Times report in 2017, 43 percent of employed Americans spent at least some time working remotely.
These trends are not just changing the nature of work, but are helping a move towards traversing international boundaries and creating a kind of fluid globalized workforce. We see inklings of these trends already in places like education and the tech industry. For example, U.S teachers and tutors are often hired to work with children in China teaching and correcting English. In the U.S, companies hire international software and app developers, utilizing a remote workforce that is also highly trained, culturally diverse. This creates a specialized and tech-oriented effort that crosses borders.
The tech industry is seeing particularly interesting patterns to develop globally. You’ll find pockets of specialized and well-trained web developers ready to work for U.S companies and help them grow. CodersLink is a company at the forefront of this global change, as they help facilitate beneficial partnerships between remote web developers and U.S companies looking for talent. If you’re looking to staff your company with competent developers, think remotely and you’ll see what everyone is talking about.