Even before the current COVID-19 pandemic, remote working was a common thing. For the worker, remote working offers freedom to make their own schedule, within reason. For the employer, remote workers don’t have to be paid the same benefits as full-time employees and don’t require overhead such as office space or equipment. Over the last few years, the number of remote workers has been steadily increasing. A study by Global Workplace Analytics has shown that since 2005 remote work has grown by 140%, approximately 10% per year on average. Companies like Facebook are embracing remote working.
There are very clear benefits for companies to have more remote workers, such as a greater pool of talent that is not limited by geographic location, reduced stress in workers by avoiding long commutes and working from a comfortable environment, and collaboration using latest technologies. And not to be ignored, reduced risk of contracting a virus.
Freelancers have long enjoyed working remotely by utilizing a number of online websites that connect entrepreneurs and companies with skilled help on a per project basis.
Some jobs easily lend themselves to remote working such as accountants, bookkeepers, translators, copywriters, Web developers, consultants, secretaries, among others. Other professions are in a difficult position because their jobs involve more contact with other people and the necessity for physical presence at a specific location. Some of these entrepreneurs may be able to transition to more remote working, such as using their knowledge in a consulting or teaching capacity.
As far as employees are concerned, any function that can be performed from a remote location will be either outsourced or employees will be asked to work from home. If companies are able to place measurable targets for their employees then working remotely will make good business sense and protect employees from health risks. This will also translate into less sick leaves or sick days.
Other benefits include less stress due to avoidance of office politics, dealing with problematic personalities, dealing with superiors watching over you, being forced to work during least productive hours, etc. Therefore, having to meet targets as opposed to having to show you are working 9 to 5 makes employees more productive, disciplined, and less stressful.
Overall, we are seeing an upward trend in remote working, even prior to the Coronavirus epidemic. This epidemic will only move forward this trend. It is unlikely that the trend will ever go down.
Additionally, it cannot be ignored that people are starting online businesses during self-isolation because their day jobs may not be waiting for them, at least not indefinitely. There are many Web platforms that allow them to either learn a new online skill or turn their existing skillset into an online business. We will cover this topic in a future article.