Working from home, working on the go and working in a coworking space – all of these scenarios are remote work and it’s an approach to the workplace that’s increasingly common. Remote work is the practice of working outside of the office or job site and reporting in and transmitting work electronically. Any job that can be performed without the specialized tools or facilities of an office or job site can be done remotely.
Globally 70% of workers spend at least one day a week working remotely. The number of us working remotely has grown 140% since 2005. Digital occupations are moving towards remote work faster for obvious reasons. Coding can be done anywhere and requires intense concentration in a quiet environment, which makes it a natural fit for remote work. Most design jobs too, can be done anywhere – and while they require a certain amount of collaboration, with today’s tools remote teams can work together seamlessly without ever being in the same room. That’s why in practice, remote work doesn’t look very different from in office work, the key difference is the where; not the what, how, or why.
But there are a few clear advantages to remote work, for both employers and employees alike.
Remote workers cost less. Not because they’re salaries are lower, but because they require few or no upfront and ongoing infrastructure investments. With a remote team there is no office, no furniture and no equipment. For employees, remote work allows them to give up their costly commute and save on the office lifestyle.
Without a commute, remote workers can and do devote more of their working time to actually working and they do so with more energy. Long commutes leave us drained and distracted and any delays along the way can leave us burnt out before the day even starts. When your commute is just from your bed to your desk, you can put your attention when it really matters. And remote workers really do. They work harder, longer and demonstrate higher levels of productivity.
Not only do remote workers have more time on their hands, they also use it better. Remote workers complete tasks faster and with more accuracy. The lack of in-office distractions means that they can maintain sustained focus for longer periods of time. Only 8% of remote workers report finding it difficult to avoid distractions, in comparison with skyrocketing rates of distraction for office workers. 99% of open office workers struggle with distraction and 70% of office workers overall struggle with distraction.
Flexibility in work hours and location consistently tops polls of worker wants and needs. Beyond benefits, training and even salary, flexibility and its positive impact on work-life balance is what workers want most. That makes a flex or fully remote workforce strategy a key retention tool an ever-tight candidate marketplace. Encouraging full or part time remote work can be the difference between engaging the best workers or attracting the just ok workers. Start with explaining the remote work in detail for candidates who haven’t worked remotely before or don’t know much about it.