For years the discussion regarding remote work has been entirely too limited to whether people should or shouldn’t work from home. That ship has sailed. They do work from home and this isn’t going away any time soon. Yet big companies continue to make headlines when they declare an end to the practice as pundits gleefully announce that remote work hinders creativity, innovation and collaboration.
But this issue is not that simple. Announcing the end of remote in theory is much easier than ending it in practice. Even “office” employees engage in audio or video conference calls when colleagues or customer are located offsite. And everyone is expected to work on the road when they travel or to work from home during bad weather events.
Even as some companies pretend to corral employees into a central office, most organizations have figured out how to enable people to work wherever they can be most effective.
The numbers are growing — 34% of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London said more than half of their company’s full-time workforce would be working remotely by 2020, which is just six years away.
The reality is the workplace of the future is a wonderfully complex picture full of opportunities and choices. If we look at the variety of things happening, we can get ideas
for shaping — or reshaping — our work arrangements in ways that make more sense for employers and employees alike. We’ve taken a closer look at how remote work has evolved and reflected on how anyone can best take advantage of it and incorporate it to accelerate their organizational growth.
The Faces of Remote Work
According to a Global Workplace Analytics study, the“typical” telecommuter is a college-educated 45-year-old with an annual salary of $58,000 working for a company of more than 100 employees.
In reality, however, it is impossible to define the remote worker, because there is no single category. It is people like Bill Corley, a chief engineer who moved out of state for quality of life but kept his full-time job with his company. And then there is Beth Carter who runs an employment agency out of her home with employees who work out of their homes. Maija Curtis who took her veterinarian practice on the road and goes from home to home taking care of pets and Bob and Judy Dunn, a husband and wife team, who have two home offices in their house on the northwest coast.
Remote work is still the employee who telecommutes a few days a week. But it’s increasingly much broader. It’s the digital nomad who travels the world while keeping a full-time job. It’s the 1099er who has a portfolio of clients. It’s the executive who doesn’t want to move from her home state and still accepts a big promotion and runs her organization as a remote leader.
Remote professionals aren’t limited by industry, level, or discipline. They work for large companies, small ones, start-ups or for themselves. They work part-time, full-time and sometimes more than full-time. Remote work is not limited by remoters are all similar in that they share an ability to thrive on their own. generation, either. Some people prefer to think that millennials are driving the remote movement with their interest in flexibility. But it’s just as much a preference for many people established in their careers who value the freedom to live where they want. These remoters are all similar in that they share an ability to thrive on their own.
The Places of Remote Work
The home office is getting more respect and attention as working from home reaches mainstream acceptance. At the same time, the workplace continues to be redefined for remote workers and they are increasingly free to choose from a growing variety of remote workplace options. Consider this – In 2017, an estimated 1.18 million people worked in co-working spaces worldwide. Developers have taken notice. Several big players such as WeWork and Regus have capitalized on this trend by building a vast network of co-work spaces internationally open to anyone who cares to rent the space. These big co-work players are increasingly providing remote work locations for companies such as IBM, AirBnB and Amazon.
Want something more intimate and less corporate? Just look around your neighborhood. Smaller independent, boutique co-work options are springing up daily, reclaiming unused business real estate and revitalizing your local downtowns. Inc.Ubate, a boutique co-work space located in Winthrop, MA recently opened shop in a building that once housed a bakery. The mantle of a cozy fireplace in the Inc.cubate common area is made of the baking sheets once used there.
For those who are especially adventurous, combining remote work and exotic travel is now a reality. The growing number of self-proclaimed digital nomads work from locations around the world as the infrastructure grows to support them. Companies like the Remote Experience offer their members the opportunity to take month-long remote work journeys while they visit places like Buenos Aires, Argentina or Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Companies like Roam, Outsite and BeHere offer a global network of living spaces, co-work spaces and a built-in community that supports a unique global remote work lifestyle.
The best part of all, available options exist for anyone’s price range – large or small.There are so many choices now that afford remote workers a multitude of options. We’re able to live and work in ways that allow us to be our best.It’s really about finding the version of remote work that best fits you.
If you are looking to build out your remote teams or enhance your productivity, give us a call.
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina