The future of the remote workforce — trends to follow

June 27, 2018

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Telecommuting is an ever-increasing trend worldwide, particularly in the US. Over the last twenty years the number of remote employees (full-time or partially telecommuting) has grown four times and is now at 37%. The development of secure connection technologies like VPN fostered this growth, and now work systems and databases can be accessed from anywhere. What can we expect from this trend in the future?   

Telecommuting is defined as working from home or a coffee shop with the help of a smartphone and a laptop. When employees are able to work from whatever location they like best, it can have a dramatic effect on such basic notions as who is an employee, what is the company culture, and what does “work” actually mean. According to Jacob Morgan’s book The Future of Work, a remote worker:

1) Has a flexible working environment, prioritizes where they work, and the quality, not quantity, of that work;

2) Has the freedom to choose which projects to work on, based on his or her skills and passions;

3) Is efficient in sharing information;

4) Uses the latest methods to communicate better;

5) Is more motivated to become a leader;

6) Makes the shift from worker to the worker who is always learning;

7) Learns and teaches at will.

Gallup research has shown that remote employees (in the US) are actually contributing more work hours and are slightly more engaged that those working in corporate offices.

However, while research shows that distance working is beneficial to employees, many employers continue to be sceptical. Issues like confidentiality and data security are still open questions for many companies. But the trend is firmly there and many employers try using their telecommuting policy as a way to retain talented workers who may otherwise want to change jobs or curtail their work life altogether.

Employees are also really getting into the remote workforce vibe. “One of the challenges is still finding more jobs that allow you to be working remotely. Although the remote jobs are growing rapidly, remote workers are growing at the same pace or higher. The mentality to transform “normal” jobs into “remote jobs” is still the biggest challenge we face, but the trend is there and I would say it is unstoppable,” says Fernando Mendez, who runs four co-working spaces in Mozambique and hosts pop-up co-working experiences for remote workers at Missuro.

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