Collaboration & Remote Work Go Hand in Hand

Working remotely is the fourth most common job search in 2017, as job site Indeed found in its annual analysis of job trends. Meantime, hiring managers surveyed by freelancing website Upwork predict that in 10 years more than 38% of employees will work remotely. With this anticipated growth in remote work, the tools and services that support collaboration and how you use them become increasingly important.

Remote Work Growth

I discovered some other interesting statistics in FlexJobs' "The State of the Remote Job Marketplace" report:

  • In the U.S. today, 3.9 million employees currently work remotely for at least half of their workweek, a 115% increase from 1.8 million in 2005
  • Remote workers constitute about 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce
  • In the time period between 2014 and 2017, remote job listings have increased 115%
  • In 2017, 79% of employees work remote on occasion, an increase of 43% from 2007

Talent shortages, flexible work arrangements, emerging technologies and increased globalization are all reasons for the growth in remote work, as Polycom found in a global workforce survey it commissioned (see related article, "Collaborating in the Flexible, Digital Workplace"). In about half of the major U.S. metro areas, telecommuting exceeds public transportation as the commute option of choice.

Remote Worker Demographics

I've worked remotely for the past 30 years. I work from home, at client locations, hotels, and conferences. Are you a candidate for remote work?

The average telecommuter is 46 years old, has a bachelor's degree, and earns a higher salary than the typical in-office worker. Gendor doesn't seem to play a role, with no real distinction between the numbers of women and men working remotely. The attraction of working remotely is the flexibility. The top reasons for remote work are work-life balance, family, time savings, and avoiding commuter stress.

The Market for Remote Workers

The remote worker marketplace is real. However, a cautionary note is that opportunity for fraud abounds, with an estimated 60 scams for every legitimate job opportunity.

About 3.5% of all telecommuting jobs are work-from-anywhere opportunities. The remainder of remote workers are usually based in a specific location. Among the seven career fields most commonly associated with remote jobs are computers and IT, sales, customer service, and accounting and finance.

Benefits

Remote working provides a number of business benefits, as compiled by remote work resource Remote.co:

  • Increased productivity due to fewer distractions, impromptu meetings, and worker environment noise (86% of workers surveyed said they prefer to work alone to maximize productivity
  • Greater worker efficiency -- about 24% of people surveyed said they were able to accomplish more in about the same time
  • Less stress -- I've found that working remote reduces my stress, 82% of telecommuters report the same benefit
  • Reduced employee turnover and churn
  • Lower costs and overhead associated with physical office-based facilities
  • Greater sense of connectivity, as 87% of remote workers said they felt more connected through the use of video conferencing and other collaboration tools
  • Support of corporate green initiatives

Collaboration Makes or Breaks It

Supporting a remote workforce is often a part of a company's digital transformation strategy, as is increasing the availability and effectiveness of collaboration. The two go hand in hand.

Companies serious about supporting remote workers need to invest in technologies that knock down the barriers to collaboration. With cloud-based video services, for example, remote workers can participate in team meetings via video conferencing on their desktops or mobile devices. And team collaboration tools allow persistent workspaces that keep workers on top of their projects no matter whether in the office, on the road, or working from home.

Remote working with collaboration is the future.