Working from home is having a moment, with
the number of telecommuting and freelance workers increasing dramatically over
the last few years. There are many reasons for this increase, including access
to faster telecommunications networks, more flexible working conditions,
changing family dynamics, and cities choked with traffic. As workers across the
Western world increasingly look to forgo traditional job sites in favour of
virtual desks, let's take a look at some of the trends to look out for in 2018.
According to a report produced last year
from Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJobs, the number of telecommuting
workers in the US has increased by 115 percent over the last decade, with
almost 3 percent of the total US workforce now working from home at least half
the time. Australia and New Zealand have seen similar levels of growth, with
the home-based workforce only likely to increase in future years as a result of
changing work cultures and city congestion. As part of a wider urbanisation
policy, perhaps a time will come when large employers will pay a CBD levy if
their proportion of teleworkers is too low.
According to FlexJobs, the ten most popular
remote jobs in 2017 were writers, consultants, customer service
representatives, sales representatives, engineers, account managers, software
developers, case managers, medical coders, and adjunct faculty members. While a
range of career opportunities are available to remote workers, the five biggest
job categories are healthcare, education, sales, information technology, and
administration. Technology obviously plays a crucial role in remote work, with
computers enabling instant communication and networking independent of
Real-time communication networks have
enabled people to work from home more easily than ever before, with
telecommuters able to access collaborative cloud environments and freelancers
able to speak directly to clients via Skype and other video conferencing apps.
Co-working apps and shared virtual working spaces are not just a poor
alternative to face-to-face communication - in many ways they're better.
Working alongside other remote workers and entrepreneurs can boost creativity
and morale, driving productivity and giving people new ideas for the future.
Because these tools are not location dependent, it's possible to work with
people from all corners of the globe.
Social media has a huge role to play in the
work-from-home revolution, with professional networking likely to explode in
coming years. From social networks like Facebook and Twitter through to
professional apps like LinkedIn, there are more ways to stay in touch with
colleagues than ever before. Along with the emergence of new technologies and
urbanisation, changing family demographics are also a big factor in the growing
remote work force. According to Sutton Fell from FlexJobs, "The middle
class norm changed from one parent working and one staying at home to two
working parents being more common and growth in single-parent families are big
factors driving telecommuting to save time when and where you can."
Image source: Jacek