Remote is the future. The future is now
This post was first published on Sherpany's blog circa 2016.
The office is dead. Telecommuting is fast on the rise, and it’s not only a trend. The number of remote workers increased 80% between 2005 and 2012. In 2015, 38% of US workers in management, business, and financial operations occupations did some or all of their work from home. In a survey from 2016, 72% of UK office workers said they believe that traditional office life is no longer relevant. According to a global survey conducted by the multinational HR consulting firm Randstad, at least 64% of workers across the globe would like to work remotely at least occasionally. And even big names such as business magnate, investor and philanthropist Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson believe that offices soon will be a thing of the past.
Remote is better for the world
- An answer to urban overcrowding: Working remotely is a good move against one of the biggest global issues: urban overcrowding. Since remote workers can live anywhere, we can expect an decrease on the number of people emigrating from rural areas — people who were before forced to leave their cities in search of professional opportunities in big cities; as we can also expect an increase on the number of people who migrate to those same areas — in search of lower cost of living and better quality of life.
- Less pollution: With less commuting comes less pollution. As shown by MIT in 2013, air pollution causes 200,000 premature deaths a year only in the USA — and, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, harmful automotive emissions are responsible for anywhere between 50 and 90 percent of air pollution in urban areas.
- Less issues related to traffic: With less commuting also comes less motor vehicle accidents. Remember: according to the WHO report 2015, we have more than 1.250.000 road fatalities per year. Besides, of course, other common issues related to commuting: road rage, stress and fatigue caused by traffic jams, etc.
- Better global understanding: With more opportunities for us to work with people from all over the world, we can expect an increase on the our skills to deal with, and value different cultures, which would ultimately lead to more mutual understanding and, therefore, less conflicts.
Remote is better for the people
- No commuting, more quality of life: Dropping the need of daily commuting, you can expect an immediate increase on your quality of life.
- You can live anywhere: You could move to a place with lower cost of living, maybe a city more convenient for your personal life goals. Or you could more so to consider becoming a digital nomad and travel the world while working.
- More control over your own life: People who work remotely have more control over their own agendas and calendars, and therefore they are in charge of more aspects of their lives, from the amount of hours they sleep (which directly impacts on the quality of their outputs at work) to the amount of hours they want to allocate to family, hobbies, etc.
- More happiness: According to a study conducted by the startup TINYpulse, full-time remote workers ranked their happiness in their job at 8.1 on average, against a 7.42 from office workers.
- Age and gender equality: Remote work will break the professional market inequality related to age and gender. From now on, companies will focus more and more on what a person is able to deliver instead of peripheral factors (which is great news for the companies as well, since it promotes continuous hard work among professionals) .
Remote is better for the companies
- Hire the best people: Companies are not restricted by geographic barriers anymore. They can hire the best people, whenever they are. And this will be a vital factor for competing in a dynamic global market.
- Greater engagement, lower turnover: Because remote workers are happier professionals, they are also more engaged, and therefore less prone to leave their companies.
- More productivity: Some supervised studies showed that remote workers can be from 13,5% to 75% more productive than office workers.
- Lower overhead: no more unnecessary expenses with furniture and space, lower overhead. For example, Chinese company Ctrip estimated savings of $1,900 per employee for a nine months period after allowing their employees work from home.
- Be in the light side: companies that support remote work are helping the transformation of the world in a better place, and supporting a better quality of life for their employees. As current Google’s/Alphabet’s corporate code of conduct says, “Do the right thing”.
- The sooner, the better: besides all these points, it’s expected that companies that don’t adapt themselves start to face a bad time finding talents in a near future (link in Portuguese only) — especially because every new generation values more happiness over other variables. So one could say: the sooner, the better for companies’ own sake.