For many employers the virtual workplace, in which employees operate remotely from each other and from managers, is a reality now, and all indications are that it will become even more prevalent in the future.
According to US teleworking advocacy group Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of the US workforce holds a job which is compatible with home-working and the work-from-home population has increased by 103% since 2005.
Remote working is fast becoming a necessary part of our work lives. Like it or not, Millennials, who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, have a marked preference for flex work (hours and location) and it is a point of filter for the jobs they take or reject. With advances in technology – ubiquitous Internet, video conferencing, collaborative tools – working remotely has never been easier, and the rise in Digital Nomads seems to indicate that the trend is going to keep increasing.
These advances are not just great for small companies with remote workers. Big, international companies with offices world-wide benefit as well. SAP, IBM and GE are three big players that leverage the advantages that distributed teams offer, and manage to thrive despite the distance between offices and workers. Cloud technology allows employers to offer more flexible working arrangements and increase work-force satisfaction.
Aside from employee satisfaction there are other advantages to expanding crowded offices to a virtual platform:
– The resource pool we rely on to fill our constant demand for talent, experts and specialists expands from our immediate vicinity to the world.
– Research indicates that people are more productive, creative and make fewer mistakes when working in a stress-free environment.
– Lowered expenses and overheads on office environments.
– Less commuting results in lower emissions per employee, lower transport costs and less traffic on the roads for those who have to be there.
– Virtual teams save time, travel expenses, and eliminate a potential lack of access to experts.
Directors and Business Owners need to think about offering remote work to employees as a way to entice them to join or to stay. Instead of salary increases, give your team a bit more flexibility, and see how that positively impacts morale and productivity!
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