How Big Is the Remote Workforce?

How Big Is the Remote Workforce?

HR Technology Recruiting Talent Management

3 minutes Read | Published June 11, 2020 | Marie Soriano

There is a rise in the remote workforce among companies not just in the United States, but also all over the globe. Remote work has created a cultural paradigm shift when it comes to identifying a workplace. Because it is deemed  to be more convenient for the workforce, remote work continues to gain popularity and is being performed by most companies today.

The remote workforce is distinct from the players in the gig economy.  The contract workers and freelancers who make up the gig economy are considered valuable, if temporary, talents. They are regarded as third-party providers whose contract and services can be terminated at any given time, should their services no longer be needed. They can be paid per hour, and benefits and perks are not usually part of the contract. 

On the other hand, remote workers are, to all intents and purposes, full-time employees who are still bound to the organization by a contract that delineates their duties, responsibilities, work hours, fixed salary, and benefits. They report to a manager, can be given people to oversee, and need to abide by and follow company policies, rules and regulations. What makes them different from the traditional employee is that they are allowed to work outside the brick-and-mortar office several days in a week; some remote workers are even permitted to work exclusively in their own preferred locations, reporting to the home office during meetings and general assemblies.

More companies are becoming open to the remote work set-up. In the U.S., it is expected that over the next few years, employees working remotely will compose around 50% of the total working force. On the global scale, Owl Labs’ survey last 2018, conducted among 23 different countries in six continents, found that 56% of their companies already allow remote work; of these companies, 16% are fully remote and 40% are hybrid, which offers a combination of remote work and office work set-up. 

In fact, according to FlexJobs’ report, 3.9 million Americans are already working from home at least half of their time. This represents an increase of 115% from a survey made back in 2005. 

The option to work remotely is also expected to increase globally. According to a survey done by Buffer, 99% of the respondents said they would opt to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. 

Who is joining the remote workforce

Remote working employees are individuals who get to work outside of the conventional office setting. They have the option to work from home (which is very common), a co-working space, a coffee shop, a library, or any location that is not their  regular office. Depending on their agreement with their employer or the nature of their job, they might still need to occasionally visit the office, especially if it is still proximate to their home. 

Remote work is becoming an option for employees regardless of demographics composing both male and female GenXers, with an average age of 46 years old. They are educated, holding at least a bachelor’s degree, and earning a competitive salary. 

Most of these people have families of their own. One reason why they want to work remotely is to spend more time with family. Other reasons include more work-life balance, the absence of unnecessary commuting, and the desire to avoid stress from traffic. 

Reasons for the rise of remote work

There are other reasons for the growth in the remote workforce aside from convenience. First, some companies, especially in large cities with a high standard of living, want to open their doors to new talents who are living in other towns, states, or even countries and are paid a lower salary rate. 

Second, remote work usually increases productivity of workers because there is less stress. As a result, it improves the efficiency of the worker and the company as a whole. 

Third, the majority of the workforce are millennials, the digital nomad population, prefer more flexible working conditions. About 68% of millennial job seekers said that being allowed to work remotely increases their interest in an employer. 

Finally, there is just no denying what technological advances can do in our world today. Virtual tools like mobile remote-working software, video conferencing, and virtual time trackers, etc. allow remote workers to communicate with their bosses real-time, and deliver their work on time, although they are based in another location.

As an employer, keeping up with the latest trends of your industry is a must. If you wish to attract new talents and keep the good ones, you might need to adapt to this change. The remote workforce will continue to grow. And if you wish to grow too as a business or an organization, you might have to make room for them in your organization. 

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