12 min read

Global Trends of Remote Working

Global Trends of Remote Working
Elia Mörling

Elia Mörling

Photo by Brooke Cagle

Global Trends of Remote Working

We see an increased use of our Meeting App for remote meetings, and many of our team members are also working remote. That’s why we are passionate about this topic, and doing a deep dive.

Remote working is really a big trend these days and many companies go along with it. Why? Because it is convenient, affordable, and pretty easy to set up.

But could you imagine 10 years ago that you would be able to type away your paperwork while sitting on your couch? That’s right, you probably couldn’t. But the authors of this article on WWR about history and evolution of remote work actually say remote isn’t new – it’s just more popular than before thanks to technology and hashtags.

The trend keeps growing with each year. And if it continues at the same pace, we might see remote become equal to office work within the next five years.

This might be shocking for you, and it is also a very big step for many companies to take. But the world is moving so fast that we see more and more workplaces set up the tools for their employees to work from home.

There are also many companies that outsource their tasks – and Hubstaff thinks that it’s:

“nothing more than becoming a great manager of people and personalities.”

And they have a good reason for doing so – 25% less employees leave their positions in the companies where they can choose to work remotely. And, of course, your company wants to have happy employees that stay and work there for many years. Which means letting them work from home.

Yonder has compiled a list of key skills for remote employers to have successful teams. You need to set clear goals, provide support and connect with your team, and be open to new ideas so you can be a good leader.

Why Remote Works

There is much more to working from home that meets the eye. You can find a work/life balance you are happy with, save money on rides to and from office, and work with more people from different corners of the world. Is that all? Not quite.

With remote work, you can also become more productive. For example, some people are owls and their working mood kicks into gear only in the afternoon. There are also those who choose to sleep until the said afternoon, then watch Netflix, and only after that stay up at night working.

And this is fine, because everyone has their own time when they are most productive. So, if your company gives you freedom to work on your own schedule, you will be much happier with what you do. You will also work harder on most tasks since you are not forced to work during the least productive hours of day or night.

Of course, not everything is perfect about remote work. Both employees and employers can have a hard time changing their mindset. Many people think this way: if it happens at the office, it is work. Otherwise, it is not. Some people also equal work from home to “watching Netflix” or “hanging out”, as TSheets pointed out in their survey.  

But that does not hold true anymore, because so many people work remotely today. Companies just need time to adjust so they can see how beneficial remote work is for them.

You might find it hard to work remotely at first also because you are on your own. Some people feel lonely when they work from home, because they don’t see others around them. Caileen Holden writes for Career Contessa about her personal experience with remote job, and how it didn’t work for her partly because of little or no personal interaction.  

Caileen thinks that Google hangouts is not enough – you still need to see people face-to-face. When you are in the office, you make friends, work on projects together, and talk about both work and life topics. At home, there is no such thing, so sometimes you can feel lonely. Holden says:

It’s difficult to replicate the excitement, camaraderie, and the hustle when you’re in the “office” section of your studio apartment.

 

Taking it slowly and testing at first how a few days of remote work per week or per month will go can be a good way to switching to a fully remote workplace one day. You can also have team retreats where you learn together how to use software for working with others online.

Zapier offers a helpful guide for managers and workers who already use or want to use remote teams. In it, we find a few tips on how to connect more with your co-workers. Have a call or a video chat with them, listen, and ask questions, use team chat, and help others when they need it.

Remote Work Goes Global

Our world is really a global village, and remote work is shaping it in many ways. We can look at some statistics on the trend and compare them with last year to see changes.

That’s what the study by Owl Labs did in 2018. They looked into the trend of remote working as how it is seen by employees. 3,028 people from 23 countries answered questions about remote work, which gave a pretty good idea on where the things stood in 2018.

This study helps us learn a lot about remote work and the way it shapes companies and industry. The trend is growing steadily, and already in 2018, we can see 56% of companies allowing remote work in one way or another. Some of these companies are hybrid, while others switched to a fully remote mode.

But even though remote is going global, you can see that there are still 44% companies that do not have remote work offers for their employees. In the US, the difference between companies who do and do not allow remote work is much higher - 85% and 15% in 2017.

We can see that in 2018, 44% of companies globally wanted their employees to come to an office for work. At the same time, 40% offered their employees a choice to work out of the office or from home, and 16% were completely remote and did not even have headquarters.

So, for those who say that work happens at the office, remote work breaks the stereotypes. Now you do not have to travel to work, but you can still be very good at your job.

We can also see how different companies allow some employees to work from home a few days a week or a month, while the rest of their work time they spend at the office. For example, 52% of employees work from home once a week or more, and 68% work remotely at least once every month.

How Does It Work Around the World?

Surprisingly, you can find 81% more companies in South America which are fully remote compares to other parts of the world. But the same region also has 9% more companies than other places where you have to go to an office. Yet, it looks like people prefer working remotely, because 67% of those asked chose it over office work.

For freelancers and just anyone who enjoys working from their couch, Australia and Africa offer the most opportunities – with 60% and 59% hybrid or fully remote workplaces. So, if you are interested in working remotely, check out options in those countries. Besides, you can practice your English or other popular language working with remote teams.

In the US, you can also find a lot of places where you can work from home or come to the office a few days a week. But those who work like this are usually freelancers or individual contributors, not so much managers or CEOs.

Many people in the States have to travel really far to get to work, so they would rather freelance from home. In big cities like LA or New York, it is pricey to live, but the majority of large companies have their offices there. So, if you are in a suburban area, you would have to commute or relocate if you want to work at those companies.

But there is one more reason why you would want to work remotely, and that is the beautiful nomadic lifestyle you see a lot on social media. And if you are not sure what that lifestyle entails, check out this article by doist. They call it “rootless” lifestyle, but it gives you a chance to live abroad, save money, and see the world.

Working full-time, while traveling and enjoying life, sounds very appealing. You must have seen such people on Instagram, and you were probably jealous of the life they are living. Being able to travel and work from your own home is why young people especially want to work remotely.

You can also notice that managers from younger generation also allow more remote work for their teams, as UpWork mentions in their 2019 study. 69% of young managers allow their teams to work remotely and use freelancers twice as much as the previous generation.

In the 2018 study by the Owl Labs, you can also notice that about 20% of people around the world would want to work remotely but can’t. That is because some companies are not as open to remote work, while others just do not have the ability to set it up.

Why Do People Work Remotely?

More and more people switch to remote work with every year. Apart from that, companies move forward and also change their work style.

Hiten Shah talks about the pros and cons of remote work more at Below the Line podcast you can find here. We can see that there are many reasons why remote options attract people, but let’s look at some of the most common.

In 2017, the top three reasons were: work/life balance, no commute, and increased productivity.

In 2018, the top two are: increased productivity, no commute.

We can see an interesting shift here – before, people chose social life and saving money, but now they enjoy better focus and productivity. You might see that it takes some time for people to adjust to remote work, so they see it differently over time.

But it looks like it is here to stay, as statistics from Buffer show. They asked 2,500 remote workers about their future, and 99% said that they would like to work remotely for the rest of their careers, at least to some extent. 40% of those people also said they find appealing flexible schedule, and 30% find it nice to work from any location.

Workers are usually happy when they can have a remote role, and 35% of the people in the study support this opinion. In Europe, you will see less people wanting to switch to remote work though, compared to countries in South America and Asia.

But even though remote work is growing every year, there are still many people who think that their countries could offer more. This is very true for countries in Asia, Australia, and Europe. People who live in South America and Africa think that there are not enough job opportunities both in-person and remote.

Another surprise is that you do not see a lot of remote work in marketing and technology. And in a way this is strange, because these fields use a lot of digital technologies, but they still do not have enough remote working opportunities for their employees.

Is Remote Our Future?

Do you think that companies should offer more remote opportunities? We do. People who work remotely are 24% likely to feel happier and more productive in their job. This is a win-win situation for both employees and employers.

You are also more productive because you do not see your boss walking around and looking at your computer screen, as this article in AngelList Blog talks about. Social pressure can be hard on anyone, but working from home you have more flexibility.

To be happy, more productive, efficient, and contribute better to your workplace, you should be offered the chance to work remotely. Even if you can’t have a full-time remote job, it is already enough that you can work at least a few days from home. This way, you feel that your company cares about you and what you are doing for them.

Remote work could be a nice solution for places with high unemployment. Also, if you do not have the chance to travel abroad, you can find a job with an international company and work for them using your computer. Kevin Smith in his article for Abstract Blog talks about how remote work can connect people from different cities, backgrounds, cultures, and abilities. He calls it “inclusion work” because it could improve the employment rates and diversify workforce.

Every year, you find polls and surveys about the state of remote work. From the survey in 2018, you can see that remote work is spreading all over the world. Some countries are ahead, while others are lagging behind – but it is happening. Perhaps it is safe to say that very soon we will be seeing as many remote job opportunities as office jobs.

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Sources:

https://www.owllabs.com/state-of-remote-work/2018
https://angel.co/blog/why-naval-ravikant-thinks-remote-work-is-the-future
https://www.careercontessa.com/advice/remote-work/
https://www.abstract.com/blog/remote-work-inclusion/
https://www.upwork.com/i/future-workforce/fw/2019/
https://www.tsheets.com/resources/remote-productivity-survey
https://zapier.com/learn/remote-work/
https://blog.hubstaff.com/remote-team-management/
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/24-deepdive-into-remote-work-with-hiten-shah/id1457400066?i=1000446780426
https://www.yonder.io/
https://doist.com/blog/travel-remote-work-digital-nomad/
https://weworkremotely.com/history-of-remote-work
https://buffer.com/state-of-remote-work-2019

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