The pandemic has triggered a tectonic shift in the job market. In the US alone, an incredible 42% of workers have switched to remote jobs. Major companies such as Google, Facebook, Shopify and Uber have already announced that they are giving their employees the option to permanently work from home. According to Gartner, 80% of company leaders also plan to allow their employees to work from home, even after the economy reopens after the pandemic.
With over 10 years of experience of managing a remote workforce, IdeasUnlimited has been at the forefront of this change. We have always believed that this new model was inevitable but now, we are certain that it’s here to stay. The democratization of information technology has made it all too easy to build a substantial career without even visiting an office. In this blog, we’ll discuss the five reasons why remote work economy is the future.
There has always been a stigma in the society regarding jobs that don’t take place in a traditional office setting. Many don’t consider them as ‘real’ jobs that can afford a quality standard of living. This is simply not true.
Extensive research on this topic has confirmed that the pay-scale of remote jobs is on par with regular occupations. One research group even found that on average, remote workers earn $100,000 per year more. Their data also suggests that long term remote workers have enjoyed a steady growth in their salary. Overall, remote employees end up earning 8% more than on-site workers with similar job titles and experience.
Another aspect that cannot be ignored is the fact that remote workers do not need to invest a large portion of their income on transportation and day-care. All combined, working remotely helps people earn more and spend less.
While income is definitely important, work-life balance is also becoming increasingly paramount. The standard ‘Monday-Friday, 9 to 5’ work model has led to increased stress and low productivity. While a proposed ‘4-day work week’ could remedy this, another possible solution is to let people work from home.
Being in a comfortable environment and close to family has profound benefits for worker’s mental health. Mental Health America has done extensive research on this particular subject. A survey by them revealed that non-remote workers report ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ mental health twice as much as remote workers. Furthermore, almost half of the people in the survey reported that they were ‘happy’ to ‘very happy’ with their work-life balance.
It’s hard to imagine that people will go back to an office environment after experiencing how much happier they are at home. From the employers perspective, it’s also more profitable to have workers that remain motivated and positive.
One key area where the remote job market has a substantial upper hand is the variety of opportunities that are available.
When someone is required to simply login on a computer from their home in order to be ‘employed’, the job opportunity becomes incredibly flexible. People can be hired even if they live in a different country. Applicants who have physical disabilities or lack a means of transportation can also apply. Furthermore, remote jobs have also helped those who experience social anxiety to build successful careers. Our company has a long history of creating many success stories for people who have struggled in their professional lives.
While labor intensive work such as a construction worker or a restaurant waiter will still remain as they are, nearly all other types of jobs can be done online (and probably will be from now on).
We’ve touched on how remote jobs are helping people save money, but it goes further than that. The cost saving benefits are perhaps even bigger for employers. While going to an office isn’t unfavorable for workers, employers themselves are starting to doubt the necessity of offices. In major cities around the world, such as London and Palto Alto, CEO’s have publicly stated their frustrations with exorbitant rents and taxes.
The recent switch to remote has given everyone a taste of just how much money everyone can end up saving. Workers won’t have to spend so much on transportation while companies can cut their operational expenses of running an office. It’s a win-win situation.
This is perhaps even more beneficial for small businesses and startups. The cost of establishing a brick and mortar has always been a huge barrier. But with more and more companies switching to ecommerce and online platforms to conduct business, the future is shaping up to an online only economy.
The pandemic isn’t the only thing that triggered the shift to remote. The surge in automation already caused many to re-think about the job market. For better or worse, widespread automation is on the rise.
Even without a world-wide health crisis, many had already envisioned a future where machines do all the labor intensive work. Therefore, now more than ever, the conversion to a work-at-home economy is happening faster than ever.
Some of the larger companies have already automated 20% of their work. Even many of the tasks that require a ‘human-touch’, such as human resourcing and operations support, can now be done out of office. Recently, these same corporations have been scrambling to figure out how to change all work to remote-based.
In a way, you can imagine that the pandemic did not cause a shift to remote. Instead, it only accelerated what automation set in motion years ago.
As we said before, on-site workers will always be in demand. But there will now be a substantial split than leans more towards remote. The increase in automation will only continue to favor remote jobs while the above mentioned points are strong arguments for their longevity.
What we must do now is figure out how to adapt to this new world. Employers need to morph their business structure to accommodate remote workers, while workers must learn how to find their footing in the remote job market. IdeasUnlimited will continue to help both.