Over the last handful of years, the business world has been experiencing a digital workplace transformation. Concurrent with rising global and mobile technologies, business leaders are reimagining team collaboration and communication and creating environments that foster agility and innovation. One outcome of this move toward a more digitized workplace has been an increase in remote working opportunities. According to a recent Gallup survey, 43% of Americans did some or all of their work from home in 2016, compared to just 39% of Americans in 2012. And the percentage of people who have fully adopted the remote worker title (meaning they do all of their work remotely) increased from 15% in 2012 to 20% in 2016. Big-name companies like Amazon, Salesforce, and American Express all have remote work policies that allow employees to spend at least a portion of their work week at home. And many companies (including Formstack) have embraced a remote-first strategy, where working from home is the default. What’s leading to this upward trend in remote working? I believe several factors are at play:
We are more connected than ever thanks to the internet, Wi-Fi, cloud computing, laptops, smartphones, and wearable technology. Gone are the days when in-person meetings are the only way to communicate and collaborate on a project. Now, coworkers can meet and chat from anywhere using video and instant-messaging apps. They can also check in with each other through email or text message and collaborate on files shared via cloud storage. This means teams can be spread across multiple time zones and still connect in real-time.
Who says the best ideas are limited to specific geographic locations? More and more, companies are seeking to diversify their workforce in order to gather insights from all walks of life. Hiring remotely expands the candidate pool across the globe, allowing organizations to build teams of talented individuals from a variety of countries and backgrounds. This not only makes companies stronger, smarter, and more sustainable, it also allows them to be more compassionate and to better serve customers from diverse backgrounds.
According to a 2016 report by TINYpulse, 91% of remote workers believe they are more productive when working remotely. Why? It appears that frequent noise or distractions, general dislike for office environments, and lack of freedom can all stifle in-office productivity. The same report indicates that 41% of remote workers say their top reason for working remotely is the freedom to choose when and where to work. Employees feel more empowered and creative when the world is their office because they can choose work locations that inspire them or help them focus.
Remote working allows employees to customize their work experience to fit their lives. It’s the ultimate solution to the age-old work-life balance conundrum. The ever-expanding connectivity mentioned previously means employees can work from the doctor’s office waiting room or the pick-up line at their kids’ schools. It means they can travel to be with family members and take their work along. If a remote worker’s life calls for it, she can live as digital nomad and not miss a beat. The flexibility available to remote teams is remarkable, and it often leads to better employee happiness and engagement.
Opportunities to work from home will continue to pop up with increased frequency in the coming years—especially in certain industries, such as software/technology. The traditional nine-to-five job is quickly becoming a thing of the past as enhanced connectivity, diversity, productivity, and flexibility become priorities for both employees and employers.
Formstack is a remote company with employees living and working all around the world. We’re pretty sure we’ve mastered the remote working life, and we’d love for you to join us! Click here to learn more about our remote culture and to view any open positions.