Remote work trends have made working from home or digital nomadism a reality for many. The state of remote work has improved during the last decade for many reasons.
Due to these reasons, we can expect continued growth in the remote workforce during the coming years.
Statistics on Remote Work Trends Show Massive Growth
Not too long ago, marketers bombarded us with ads about remote work. Emails headlined with, “make $1,000 a day working from home,” sounded like a scam.
The truth is that the remote work trends are rapidly growing, and it’s far from a get-rich-quick scheme. This trend extends beyond self-employed professionals.
Telecommuters form a large portion of the new remote workforce.
The number of US employees working from home at least one day a month doubled from 2001-2008. This continued from 2005 to 2015 as telecommuting saw a 115% increase, according to a recent study by Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs.
In 2012 to 2016, we saw a 9% drop in telecommuters working from home one day a week or less. This was accompanied by a 6% surge in professional telecommuters who worked from home over 80% of the time.
Employer Perceptions of Remote Workers and Employee Expectations Have Changed
There are many reasons that remote work trends are increasing. One reason may be the change in perception of remote working benefits by employers and employees.
Employees Often Want and Expect Remote Work Opportunities
As remote working becomes more widely accepted, employees are also changing their expectations. In fact, one-third of employees stated that they would change their jobs for a remote opportunity. Freedom is a powerful drug.
Employees have reported that commuting to work is one of their top work-related stresses. The commute to work can steal several hours a day and increase traffic accidents. Plus, it adds a financial burden on the employee for car repairs and fuel costs.
The generational shift in the workforce may also be influencing employee expectations. Millennials grew up with technology and are comfortable interacting over live chat and video calls.
This comfort could be contributing to the increased number of remote work opportunities. Millennials are acquiring more influence in companies. This reduces the barrier to an organization embracing the benefits offered by remote work.
Employers Have Discovered the Benefits of a Remote Workforce
Employers used to see telecommuting as a bonus for the employee. The value provided to the company was disputed or unknown.
In fact, the benefits and reasons to work remotely were often overshadowed by fear. Some concerns were that employees would be less productive. A lack of communication with their peers and managers was probable.
Instead, studies and surveys on working remotely today show there are considerable benefits for both employer and employee. These are compelling reasons why working remotely is better for business.
One reason is to attract and retain better workers. As mentioned before, many employees will leave a job if it doesn’t offer a remote work option. Reduced employee turnover rate helps the business’s bottom line.
The theory that working from home is less productive has also been debunked for many cases. Remote workers are often outperforming office workers. In fact, 24% of employees saying that they accomplish more in the same amount of time when working from home.
The benefits of having a remote workforce don’t stop at productivity. Employers can also see substantial cost savings for equipment and office space.
Studies have shown that remote workers perform at increased intensity for longer hours. This increased enthusiasm leads to greater job satisfaction, which reduces employee turnover.
Improved Remote Working Tools and Technology for Remote Teams Help Remote Work Trends
In the past, a problem with remote work was a lack of communication and the necessary tools. Today, these problems are all but gone with cutting-edge remote work noise cancelling software like Krisp to enhance calls.
Remote Team Communication is Now Easier Than Ever
Staying in contact with a team is now easier than ever. Remote teams now have dozens of reliable tools for video calls and instant messaging.
Other collaborative software and project management tools simplify the challenges of remote work. These reduce the need for workers to be together in the same physical office.
Remote Working Software and Technology is Common
It’s become much more straightforward to build and run a business remotely with the right software during the last ten years.
Collaborating with co-workers online through screen-sharing and cloud storage is simple now when compared to the days of dial-up modems. In the past, high-speed internet connections that made this software work correctly were hard to get. Today, they’re cheap, affordable, and reliable.
The last decade has also brought an explosive rise in smartphones to every consumer. Smartphone apps for productivity make it easier for an employee to optimize their own performance.
Significant Increase in Gig and Freelance Economy Work Trends
The growth of freelancer workers is an essential part of remote work trends. The number of freelancers in the world is snowballing as education and technology become more affordable.
Hiring Managers Are Embracing Freelancers
In the last few years alone, 24% more hiring managers are using freelance and contract workers. Some projections put this number as high as another 168% increase during the next decade.
The last decade has seen the explosion of online platforms to connect hiring managers and freelancers. This makes the process simpler and safer than it was in the past. The meteoric rise of social media also helps discover and vet potential freelancers.
Many Cost-effective or Top-talent Professionals Are Turning to Freelance Work
Turning to freelancers provides access to a wide range of top talent. This would otherwise be unavailable in a more traditional employee model. Many professionals are reluctant to commit to full-time employment for a single business.
Many top professionals are choosing to work gigs rather than commit to a single business. When the best professionals are required, looking outside the company is often the logical choice.
Hiring freelancers can also be an excellent cost-effective choice for smaller jobs. For example, hiring a full-time graphic designer might be overkill for some companies. Now, projects can be outsourced for a fraction of the cost.
Jobs Are Changing, and More Industries Can Utilize Remote Workers
Some industries or jobs didn’t mesh well with remote work. Recent years have seen changes that make the remote work trends more relevant to these sectors.
Technology and Workplace Expectations Help More Industries Shift to Remote Work
Telecommuting has seen significant growth in real estate, finance, and insurance. From 2012 to 2016, 8% more professionals from these fields reported at least some of the time working remotely.
Before, most remote workers belonged to technical or marketing industries. Solutions for remote working are becoming more powerful, and expectations are changing. These help remote working become a reality for more industries.
Remote work has been challenging to implement in some industries, such as training, architecture, science, library, and social services. The future is likely to bring increased opportunities for these sectors.
Technology Is Altering Job Roles
Remote work trends may have been accelerated by the replacement of many job positions. Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing jobs and responsibilities.
Scientific developments in this field are still in their relative infancy. This means that there is still significant room for future growth, accelerating remote work trends even more.
For example, assembly lines in the past required workers to be physically present to do their job. AI and robots can now perform many of these positions. This shifts the worker into a more managerial role – which they could accomplish remotely in some cases.
Remote Work Trends Are Unlikely to Change Anytime Soon
Remote work provides advantages for employers and benefits for employees. It’s too early to say whether remote work trends will lead to the collapse of the traditional office model.
However, the gig economy and technological advancement make remote work trends likely to continue to grow.