Over 50 years ago, a NASA engineer named “Jack Nilles” coined the phrase “telecommuting,” implying that workers did not need to reach the corporate office to work as the same could be done remotely (Berthiaume, 2020). Remote working is not a new concept, but it took decades for the necessary technology and resources to become practical. IBM was the first company to experiment with remote work in 1983 A.D, by allowing few of its employees to work from home. In the next few decades, the invention of personal computers and the internet allowed cheaper, easier and faster methods to move information and work to wherever people were located (Wrfrce,2020). The recent surge in remote working can be attributed to the COVID-19 epidemic, entry of younger generation of workers, and also to the advancements in communications technology that enabled people to work remotely.
Before the pandemic, more than 45 % of the young age group (Millennials and Gen Z) didn’t work remotely, compared to just a third following the outbreak (Forbes, 2020). However, after experiencing this level of flexibility in their occupations, many people understood the value of maintaining a work-life balance. More than half of millennials and Generation Z now anticipated seeing their friends and family more frequently after the outbreak (Deloitte, 2021, p.9). This new generation of employees has seen the benefits of working remotely and is more willing to adapt their existing work routine to better suit their needs. Many people have recognized the notion of working to live and are now pursuing or looking for businesses that support this viewpoint by offering flexible work schedules.
Following the COVID-19 epidemic, several businesses have implemented remote working policies since many employees do not want to lose the freedom they have enjoyed over the last two years. Big Tech firms, such as Twitter, have offered their staff the option of working from home or wherever they feel most productive and creative (Forbes, 2022). Such methods have aided the remote working concept’s expansion and can provide us with a glimpse into the future of work.
The following are some of the advantages of Remote Working (Escalla, 2020):
- Less commuting time
- Greater autonomy
- Greater adaptability
- Improved Work-Life Balance
- Reduced staff turnover and office space requirements
Loss of productivity was one of the biggest concerns critics gave regarding why remote work isn’t beneficial. However, according to a survey, working remotely can increase productivity by up to 77%, with 30% doing more work in less time and 24% doing more work in the same period (Apollo, 2022). To better monitor and maintain productivity, firms can also implement Key performance indicators (KPI). One report even estimated that over 76% of workers are more willing to stay with their current employers if they could work flexible hours (Simovic, 2022).
Remote working has been around for a long time, and modern technology can assist businesses and individuals in being more efficient while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Remote work as a concept is continually evolving in response to the needs of both employees and employers, and new ideas such as digital nomads, flexible work week are also emerging.