A recent survey conducted by Kona/SodaHead.com has shown that 70% of workers want to work from home. And among workers age 35 to 44, that number jumps to an astronomical 81%. That’s a lot of workers who are ready to leave the confines of the traditional office.
What Workers Love About It
Workers love the flexibility remote working offers them and the great work-life balance it enables them to create. Teleworkers don’t stress about 9-to-5 schedules, rush-hour commuting, car troubles, or gas prices. And even when they’re on the road, remote workers retain the ability to set their own hours. Mobile devices, audio- and videoconferencing, and new telephony technologies allow employees to do their jobs anywhere at any time. All these factors combine to increase worker satisfaction, motivation, and engagement.
What Employers Love About It
Remote employees offer companies many advantages, including reduced real estate costs, greatly reduced travel expenses, and greener corporate footprints. By employing remote workers, companies can hire qualified workers anywhere in the world without incurring the prohibitive costs of relocating them. Companies can also find workers with skill-sets that are rare in their areas and benefit from their expertise, no matter where in the world they’re located. And of course, companies can offer remote work to on-site employees too – it’s a great way to retain their talents and boost their satisfaction.
Why Remote Working Works
In a recent article, Walter Chen of iDoneThis, a productivity management tool, demonstrates how the “disadvantages” of virtual teams actually make them stronger:
- You can’t tap someone on the shoulder to have a conversation, so you’re more deliberate about using technology to communicate.
- It’s harder to work together in real-time, so you learn to work asynchronously.
- You build a tight-knit culture through deeper, shared values.
“With a co-located team, you encounter one major restriction when it comes to company culture: you can only hire people who are either in your city or willing to move”, says Chen. “That cuts out a huge portion of the population. On a distributed team, you can hire anyone regardless of location. The result is a team with more meaningful unity, fewer distractions, and better communication skills for when things do need to be discussed.”
How to Achieve Remote Worker Success
The key is, of course, access to latest-generation communication technologies for both employers and employee, from audio, video and web-conferencing technologies to device-agnostic mobile applications that enable instant, high-quality exchanges of information, ideas, and innovations.