Unless you’ve been completely off the grid for the past decade, you know that working remotely is becoming increasingly common in today’s workplace. These days, companies that hire remotely are a dime a dozen, there are even entire websites devoted to helping talented people find a remote job.
And, like anything, there are pros and cons to working remotely. But for many businesses (and the people they employ), the advantages definitely outweigh any potential drawbacks. Working remotely is the future.
Which is why we wanted to talk about what remote work is, what it looks like in today’s business climate, and some of the reasons why operating remotely is in our DNA here at Flying Saucer.
But before we get into any of that, let’s start with a simple definition of working remotely.
What does working remotely mean?
Working Remotely / n.
Working remotely means doing work outside of a traditional office (typically working from home) and communicating with your employer digitally or over the phone.
It’s important that we make a distinction here between working remotely and hiring offshore employees. Offshoring is where you hire remote employees, but you still require them to work from an office. The only difference is, that office is in a different country from your own. That’s not the same as remote work.
Remote work is where employees are free to work from anywhere. It’s this idea of anywhere that makes it so attractive – just between 2005 to 2017, the number of US remote workers has grown by 159%!
Crazy, we know.
But working from anywhere isn’t the only reason remote work is becoming so popular. There’s actually a whole host of factors that make this particular form of working so attractive.
Why is remote work becoming so popular?
Let’s make this clear right now… working remotely from home isn’t a new concept. It’s not something that sprung into existence with the creation of the internet. For years, we called it telecommuting and it was a somewhat limited idea, only really taking hold in industries like telephone sales or freelance accountants.
But then something happened.
Interest in the term "work remotely" since 2004
With new collaboration tools, widespread acceptance of the idea, and plenty of success stories to lean on, working remotely is more popular than ever. These days, if you run a job search on LinkedIn you’ll find an insane amount of companies hiring remote workers.
And that trend is expected to continue.
According to the freelancing website, Upwork, by the year 2028 over 73 percent of all teams, across all industries, will include at least one remote worker. In other words, this idea isn’t going away anytime soon, and here’s why…
#1) Hired Worldwide
This is obviously the biggest reason why someone would want to work remotely. Not only can you complete your work from anywhere, but often employers are comfortable letting you do so on your own schedule. Work anywhere, whenever you want, just get it done. For all the folks stuck in a cubicle from nine to five, this is a huge draw. What’s more, if you’re in a country that doesn’t have good access to certain industries, remote work successfully democratizes the global job market by giving you access to high-quality employment.
From the employer’s perspective, being able to hire anyone, anywhere can be a huge advantage, especially if the city you’re located in isn’t highly populated. You can now tap into a worldwide talent pool of highly-skilled workers, without paying for any relocation costs. In fact, simply including a remote component to your job listing can increase the number of applications you have by 3000%.
#2) Time and Money
Commuting sucks. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about that. Spending an hour on the bus or $15.00 on gas every day is a pain in the you-know-what. Why would you work at an office across town when you can do the same job from home, wearing nothing but your favorite pajamas?
For employers, remote work also offers incredible cost savings. You don’t have to pay for office space, furniture, or utilities like heating and internet. And if you think about it, anything you can do to reduce the cost of your team members' upkeep, means more money to spend acquiring new customers. It also doesn't hurt that you'll now have access to an employee who will statistically work 13% harder than their in-office colleagues. Hard to argue with that.
#3) Tools and Tech
We’ve put this last for dramatic effect, but honestly the number one reason why remote is so popular these days is because of technology. Google Docs changed the game with it’s easy collaboration. Slack made communication easy again. And sites like Upwork or Freelancer.com helped unite talented professionals with remote-friendly employers.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many tools available for remote workers these days, we’d have to write a whole other article if we wanted to list them all. Main takeaway is: without these tools, remote working would not be as popular as it is today. Period.
Our fully-remote team
As we’ve mentioned elsewhere, our team here at Flying Saucer is fully remote – it’s in our DNA. That means nobody ever has to commute for an hour, sit down in a depressing cubicle, and pretend to be busy until 5PM. Instead, we work together across multiple continents and countless time zones.
Why? It’s simply better.
We’re able to live independent lives, without trying to work around a rigid, defined work schedule. Work-life balance isn’t just something we say, it’s something we do. So long as we meet our deadlines (and we always do) there’s no reason for us to simply run down the clock from nine to five each day. What’s more, we’re able to make good on our commitment to impact by reducing emissions from heating/powering an office and commuting to work each day. Good for the environment, good for the soul.
Oh, and there’s also zero interoffice watercooler gossip – that’s a huge plus!
But perhaps the best thing about having a remote team here at Flying Saucer is the huge pool of talent we’ve been able to draw from. Instead of only working with NYC-based creatives, we’ve been able to branch out and connect with professional badasses across the globe. These guys and gals are some of the best in their field, and able to amazing things for our clients from wherever they feel most comfortable.
That kind of freedom is rare in today’s world, a time where workers are asked to work more hours and pump out more product, with each passing year. So perhaps the real answer to the question, ‘what does working remotely mean in 2020?’ is… freedom. Freedom to do great work, anywhere, and at your own pace.
At least that’s what it means for us.