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BlogSpot: The Rise of the Remote Workforce
The advent of broadband internet has meant that most people are able to easily connect and collaborate with colleagues, wherever they are based.
Martin Harrison of InfoLab21-based copywriting agency Copify explores some of the reasons why remote working has become so popular with both businesses and workers.
Advantages for Businesses
Getting the right staff - Historically, businesses based outside of the major cities were disadvantaged when it came to attracting staff.
Chicago-based web applications firm 37 Signals bucked this trend by building a business with workers from across America and beyond. They recruited solely on the skills and experience of their staff, around 20 in total, based in 8 different cities.
This meant that they got exactly the right people for the job, regardless of their location.
Cost Savings - Many remote workers are employed on a non-contract basis which means that there is less of a long-term commitment. When you add up the cost of recruitment, office space and equipment, it makes a lot of sense for businesses to employ remote workers, rather than having an in-house team.
If you are in an unpredictable industry, outsourcing certain services can make you a lot less vulnerable should you lose customers. This was one of the reasons why we founded Copify. We worked for an online marketing agency and watched it go bust due to a crippling wage bill that they simply couldn't pay when they lost clients.
Advantages for Workers
Freedom - Not being tied to a 9-5 is an extremely attractive proposition, particularly for those in creative industries such as graphic and web design.
Flexibility - For those with children and other commitments, the ability to work from home has obvious benefits. This is particularly relevant to those struggling with the rising cost of childcare.
Commuting - Saving the time, hassle and cost of a daily commute is one of the main reasons why remote working is so attractive for workers.
Not for everyone
Remote working is not for everyone. For many businesses, face-to-face interaction between colleagues is essential. Some workers may lack productivity and motivation when working at home, while others may welcome the distinction between their home and work environments.
Please tell us your experiences and opinions of remote working either as an empoyee or an employer below.
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Tue 20 December 2011