It was not that long ago when most everyone in America worked away from home. A 'home-based' business was an exception, and almost no one, it seemed, ever worked from home. That has changed and the remote workforce is a growing phenomenon.
In fact, just in the United states, it's estimated that 43% of the workforce was working remotely part or full-time. And the trend is growing each year. The actual time spent working remotely varies and covers the entire spectrum of workers taking a few days here and there to work from home or a coffee shop, to full-time remote workers who never set foot in their employer's offices.
In recent years, flexible and remote work options were considered employee perks and offered to lure or retain quality employees. That is changing, too, as more businesses embrace remote work as an operational strategy. In fact, according to a recent FlexJobs survey, telecommuting has increased 115 percent in the last decade.
As a business strategy, many organizations see remote work reducing their operating costs, help to attract or retain their workforce, and expand into new markets. In addition, when managed well, this approach can lead to greater job satisfaction and employee loyalty.
For workers, remote "side jobs" can also replace the more traditional part-time jobs that still required them to be on-site and commute. This has become especially true for professionals who find that being able to work online enables them to juggle a few side jobs along with whatever full-time work they are pursuing. All of this has contributed to the rise of the so-called "Gig economy."
A Snapshot of the Mobile Workforce
Another interesting facet of this employment shift are the trends among different generational groups. Among Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millennials, tendencies and flexibility differs significantly. This infographic provides a snapshot of some of the highlights of these trends.
[Courtesy of SHRM/HR Magazine]
How Businesses Are Approaching Remote Work
The software firm Buffer recently partnered with Workfrom and Hubstaff to survey over 1,900 remote workers to create their State of Remote Work report for 2018. One of the findings indicated that 88 percent of business owners or CEOs planned to support a remote workforce from the start.
Among other benefits to this approach, such as reduced costs and overhead for "housing" and equipping on-site workers. The flexibility that remote work provides tends to boost productivity and creativity.
How businesses approach the logistics of remote work varies significantly. According to Buffer's survey, they noted,
"From our survey data, we noticed two ends of a spectrum: a fully remote team where 90% or more work remotely and a team just dipping its toes into remote work where only 1–10% of the workforce is remote. The majority of survey respondents fell on one side or the other of this spectrum.
The size of a business that supports remote work also varies greatly. Of the companies with remote workers, 22% have fewer than 10 employees, 17% have 11–25 employees, and 15% have over 1,000 employees. One interesting thought sparked from this: with 39% of remote companies having fewer than 25 employees, we could infer that it’s becoming more common for small businesses to start out with remote work in their work culture."
According to businesses that hire remote workers, there are certain skills they look for. Fortunately, most workers already possess many of these skills, and the others are fairly easy to learn. FlexJobs points out in an online article some of the common skill sets required:
• Digital communication skills: verbal and written
• Time management, task management, the ability to self-focus
• Proactive communication: being comfortable speaking up and asking questions
• Comfort with technology and troubleshooting basic technical issues
• Growth mindset: embracing change and learning
• Familiarity with remote communication tools like IM, video conferencing, file sharing, and virtual office environments
Finding Help for Your Workforce Management Needs
In addition to a growing and demanding role in recruiting, hiring, and continually training employees, the HR staff is responsible for other functions they are typically tasked with such as payroll management, tax filings, employee records compliance, and so forth.
Considering alternatives such as outsourcing is increasingly becoming a cost-effective and strategic option. Accuchex can help you in managing your HR needs, payroll processes, and staying on top of compliance demands. Get your Free Download: Payroll Outsourcing Guide to help you make an informed decision or call Accuchex Payroll Management Services at 877-422-2824.