Half a century ago, nobody even heard of mobile phones. People were just starting to switch over to coloured television, there were less cars on the road, the typical family consisted of a working father and a stay-at-home mother. All was well.
The face of communication has changed so much and has affected the way we do business. What was once mainly used for fun has been turned into a tool to make businesses more efficient. The generation that has grown up from tech-savvy teens into tech-hungry workers that value time and efficiency, took that technology with them into the workplace, and innovated it to suit their needs.
In 2016, a study made in the United States revealed that the number of Americans who said they spent at least some time working from home was up 3% from the 40% result 2 years prior. With the pace at which communication technology is being developed, it really comes as no surprise. People can work remotely from all over the world: at home, at a cozy cafe, during their daily commute, and even while 30,000 feet up in the sky.
People are starting to realise that it is an elegant solution to the increasing cost of getting to and from the workplace, maintaining an office space, and even work-life balance.
Today’s instant messaging and video conference tools have evolved into something that not only gives us a cost-effective means to pass a message to someone halfway across the globe, but allows us to collaborate and brainstorm with anyone without the need to hop on the next redeye flight. Documents in a shared workgroup can be reviewed and edited by people from all over the globe. Video conferencing while virtually sharing screens and presentations to other participants seems something out of a sci-fi movie with hovercrafts and talking robots but that’s exactly what we have now. The possibilities are endless and there’s no better time to start adapting to this new way of working than now. Not too late to be left behind and disappear into oblivion, but not too early to endure all the hardships of trail and error either.
Though not perfect and definitely not yet for everyone, there are quite a number of positions that can be done remotely. Top of mind would be telemarketing, customer service representatives, data encoders and the like. But even accountants, engineers, stockbrokers, paralegals and marketing planners can do the work without having to be physically in an office with superiors. In a lot of cases, study shows that more complex jobs have higher performance and output from remote workers as it allows them to control their working environment and successfully complete assignments without interruptions.
Don’t be too quick to conclude that it’s all for the employees, though. Outsourcing and remote work saves employers money, too.
The only integral people in a physical office would be your decision-makers. Those that have to be present to be the face of the company. But out of hundreds of employees, how many are high up the ladder enough to be that face? Majority of employees sit quietly at their desks the whole day, typing, drafting, editing, rendering — people who do not benefit work-wise with much interaction with office peers. Imagine the brick and mortar cost savings in outsourcing those hundreds versus local hires? Not having to house all of them, not having to pay a premium for graveyard shifts. Less expenses for day to day operations means not just more income, but a bigger percentage of your expenditures to be used on growing the business versus just maintaining it.
With such such favourable data presented by reports on remote work, it is easy to see that taking advantage of today’s digital tools makes it possible for a win-win solution for both employers and employees. Communication remains intact, outsourcing resources from more cost-effective areas becomes seamless, employee job satisfaction goes up, work output is increased.
The future of the workplace is being transformed and we can’t be any more confident that remote work will soon be the norm for people across the world.