Telecommuting: Is the rise of the digital nomad signalling the end of the office?
The practice of working remotely using an internet-connected computer is rapidly gaining popularity across the globe. In the UK alone, there are currently over 2.2 million telecommuting workers – that’s more than 7% of the country’s total workforce. These digital nomads work from home, coffee shops, client locations or other spaces outside the office.
The figures include those who telecommute on a full-time basis, or just one or two days a week. The majority of telecommuters work in the private sector, with around half being self-employed.
What is behind this burgeoning culture of remote work?
Telecommuting offers a range of benefits to businesses, with reduced operating costs at the top of the list. Companies are able to expand their teams without needing to expand their offices, and don’t need to supply equipment like desks, laptops and so on, as telecommuters typically operate without the need for traditional office amenities.
Another advantage that telecommuting brings businesses is access to a bigger pool of skills; they can hire top talent without being limited by location. This work model opens up, quite literally, a world of resumes.
More and more companies are shifting to virtual offices, with teams of workers based all around the globe. For example, an online media house may be headquartered in London, with an editor in Canada, a virtual assistant in the Philipines and writers scattered as far afield as South Africa and New Zealand. App-based taxi giant, Uber, has freelance customer service contractors in different countries for convenience.
Despite concerns to the contrary, companies like this are thriving, prompting changes in old-school mindsets of how best to run a workspace.
Studies show that employees who work remotely are generally happpier and more productive than their office-based counterparts. They have the freedom to work in their pajamas if they wish, do not have to deal with transport, and can easily stay connected to their colleagues and employers via Skype, Google Hangouts, Slack or other combinations of video and content-sharing software applications. This meets the needs of the new generation workforce for more flexibility in their working life, and many may explicitly request telecommuting during interviews for office jobs.
While most jobs offer at least the potential for a degree of remote work, some careers are ideally suited to telecommuting. These include copywriting, marketing, communications management, design, and remote IT support. Platforms like Upwork and Flexjobs facilitate the further development of this developing new culture by connecting jobseekers to legitimate, scam-free job opportunities.
While it is unlikely that all offices will go fully-virtual in the near future, technology’s constant disruption of the status quo will certainly prompt the rethinking of work practices and environments. To learn more about how technology can be leveraged to streamline hiring processes and connect gig seekers with new and exciting opportunities across the UK, register for your free InteriMarket account today.