It seems simple enough. As described in our Remote Work Article, Remote Work would appear to signify work done outside of an office. But there are so many different terms floating around regarding work flexibility that it’s important to know what each means. There are many names given remote workers: teleworker, iPro, telecommuter, distance worker, homeworker, freelancer, and outworker. There are also many forms of remote work: Full time, Part time, Job sharing, Gig work, Contract work, Consulting, Road Warrior. What all this means is that “work” is changing due to technology, education, mobility, security, and the age of the workforce. Ultimately, what your company’s definition of remote work is will depend largely on your own practices and policies.
Remote Work Successes
While Corporations are struggling to keep up with this change, early adopters of this phenomena are reaping phenomenal rewards.
WeWork is an American company that provides shared workspaces for technology startup subculture communities, and services for entrepreneurs, freelancers, startups, small businesses, and large enterprises. Founded in 2010, it is headquartered in New York City. As of July 2017, WeWork had a valuation of roughly US $20 billion and managed 10,000,000 square feet (930,000 m2) of office space.
Slack is a cloud-based set of proprietary team collaboration tools and services, founded by Stewart Butterfield. Slack began as an internal tool used by his company Tiny Speck. The current valuation estimate for Slack stands at around $8.3 billion based on the 2018 forecasts and estimates for the company.
Dropbox is a file hosting service operated by the American company Dropbox, Inc., headquartered in San Francisco, California, that offers cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. Dropbox was founded in 2007 by MIT students Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi as a startup company. Dropbox revealed in its SEC filing that it had around 540 million shares outstanding at the end of 2017. Using the $10 billion estimate for Dropbox’s value, this implies a price per share of about $18.50 as of now.
Box, the business software company led by Aaron Levie, reported its fiscal first quarter earnings on May 30, 2018, posting revenues of $140.5 million—a record—and cash flow from operations of $18 million. Its quarterly revenue was up 20% year over year.
Toptal accepted a $1.4 million seed round of financing from Andreessen Horowitz and angel investors including Quora founder Adam D’Angelo. In 2015 and 2016, their annual revenue was $80 million and $100 million respectively. “There’s a network effect,” says Du Val who turned his office-less company into a $100 million-revenue business that connects high-level developers, designers, and finance pros with some 2,000 companies, including Airbnb, Pfizer, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not only are new Start-Up’s enjoying the benefits but also these Fortune 100 companies.
Advantages of Remote Work
Real Estate Savings
The Global Workplace Analytics statistics show that the average real estate savings with full-time telework is $10,000 per employee per year.
Specifically, these organizations found that such options allowed:
IBM to cut real estate costs by $50 million
Sun Microsystems saved $68 million a year in such costs.
Nortel estimates that they save $100,000 per employee they don’t have to relocate.
Recent Global Workplace Analytics studies show that offering workers flex options can boost productivity.
AT&T found its telecommuters worked more hours at home than its office workers.
JD Edwards teleworkers were shown to be 20-25 percent more productive than their office colleagues. American Express employees who home worked were 43 percent more productive than office workers.
• Improves employee satisfaction
• Reduces attrition
• Reduces unscheduled absences
• Increases productivity
• Saves employers money
• Increases collaboration
• Expands the talent pool
Obstacles to Remote Work
• Management mistrust
• It’s not for everyone
• Career fears from ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality
• Security issues
• IT infrastructure changes may be necessary
The Evolving View of the Office
The office is rapidly expanding beyond the cubicle. The number of telecommuting workers has increased 115% in a decade, according to a new report from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs. That translates to 3.9 million workers, or almost 3% of the total U.S. workforce, working from home at least half the time in 2015, an increase from 1.8 million in 2005.
In the EU a study released 29 May 2018 by Zug, Switzerland-based serviced office provider, IWG found that 70 percent of professionals work remotely at least one day a week, while 53 percent work remotely for at least half of the week. The ability to work from home and the emergence of digital office rental services has led to changing attitudes around where people should work and whether they should stick to the traditional nine-to-five working hours.
Workplace Analytics and IWG both said their studies related to full-time employees rather than the self-employed or contractors. Chief Executive Mark Dixon said that technology was the primary driver of changing perceptions around locations and working hours. “The biggest driver is digital, changing every industry in the world,” Dixon told CNBC in a phone interview. “On the one hand, it’s changing how real estate needs to be offered, but it’s also companies wanting something different in the digital world.” Dixon said that firms are less inclined to invest in real estate and were looking to digital services instead to hire out office spaces. He added that the idea of remote working allows employees to be more flexible.
Who’s Working Outside the Office?
Telecommuters tend to be a little bit older than the average employee: half are 45 or older. They’re also more educated and earn more than non-telecommuters. The average yearly income for most telecommuters is $4,000 more than non-telecommuters, according to the report. Remote work is gender neutral with 52% of work-at-home employees being female. Telecommuting is most common among management positions. Professional, scientific and technical services industries have the highest percentage of telecommuters relative to their share of the workforce.
Employees are expecting more flexible work arrangements, customers are demanding more responsiveness from companies, and the challenge is now for CEO’s to embrace the change required within their organizations to address these needs.
Due to the rapid growth of the workplace, remote-working policies will rival the popularity of fixed office locations by 2025, rendering the future workplace unrecognizable.
MyWorkDrive’s Role in Remote Work
MyWorkDrive fits nicely into remote working strategies by enabling workers to collaborate on files remotely while keeping them stored on company storage with the added security of two factor authentication (to prevent sharing of passwords) and data leak protection to prevent downloads and casual sharing of confidential documents.