Investigating The Rise Of Remote Working
Regardless of sector or seniority, the internet has been changing not just the content and scope of our work, but our daily processes of communication and coordination, opening up the economy to new fields of success and opportunity.
At totaljobs, we’ve been considering the pros and cons of working from home. We’ve created a nifty infographic to visualise the changing faces of our workplaces and clarify exactly how a new way of working may impact on our day-to-day lives.
Our contemporary connectivity has enabled instant communication and global trade. It has never been simpler to be so productive – or to procrastinate – and how we communicate with colleagues and clients has been transformed. Organisation and flexibility seem to be the watchwords of how the online world is changing our offline workplace reality.
Here, there or anywhere
Remote working is transforming how we do business. Cloud technology gives us ready access to work documents, wherever we are. Video conferencing allows us to e-meet with people all over the world. Telecommuting, as it has been coined in the US, is already thought to be a practical reality for up to as many as 45% of the workforce. According to a 2014 survey of business leaders, 34% of managers expect more than half of their colleagues to be working remotely by 2020.
This means big changes in offices across the country are not just speculative possibilities – transformation is happening now, and will continue.
For freelancers too, remote work is opening up new possibilities. Transient spells across a network of offices, not to mention costly travel, have been rendered unnecessary – home offices are now a reality for growing numbers of the workforce, rather than the reserve of the executive class.
Staying at home has a wide variety of benefits, for both the individual and the employer. Work becomes something that can fit to your body clock – if you’re not a morning person, wake up slowly and work later. There’s no need to bundle aboard trains and buses on an interminable commute if you can spend that time working and offering your employer more – not to mention reducing the number of cars on the road and the demand on transport.
Of course, there can be negatives. As an employer, monitoring your team’s progress and achievement can become more complicated, whilst individuals can suffer stress and isolation as a result of solitary work and the changing of long-held routines. But these challenges can be resolved: improved time management software and the development of new HR structures can make sure change doesn’t lead to corporate chaos.
Fundamental to the progress of remote working is the nationwide spread of reliable broadband coverage, particularly affordable, high-quality internet for the home. However, there remains room for improvement. Whilst the UK’s network is ranked highest out of the top five EU economies, nations such as the Netherlands are racing ahead – enjoying an average download speed of 12.5Mbits/sec, ahead of the UK’s credible 9.1Mbits/sec.
The further rollout of high-speed fibre optic broadband across the UK, particularly into rural areas, could potentially have a phenomenal impact on how we work – adding an estimated £17 billion to the economy every year through increased efficiency and opportunities for business. It’s also believed that improved connectivity when working remotely will free-up around 60 million hours of free time over the next decade, which can otherwise be spent more productively.
But as employees demand flexibility from their employers, so too employers will expect round-the-clock responsiveness and attention from their employees. Technology has enabled us to work whenever we can – but where will the workplace end and home begin?
Do you regularly work remotely or from home? Does it impact on the efficiency of your work? Let us know!
(All comments have to be approved before they appear)