The 21st-century workplace is vastly different from the old-fashioned office of a few decades ago. Gone are the days when people could only work Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. This model has been demonstrated to be stressful and comparatively ineffective, often resulting in lower productivity levels among employees. Millennial workers, in particular, tend to perform much better in modern workplaces.
Digitally-enabled remote work is one of the new models that a number of companies are exploring to help drive productivity. In a study conducted by Accenture, researchers found that parents benefited more from the digitally-enabled remote type of work arrangement. By working remotely most of the time, parents are able to save thousands of dollars in transport and childcare-related expenses. They can also work closer to their children.
A Closer Look at the Numbers for Digitally-Enabled Remote Work
Statistics indicate that more people are opting for the remote working environment. According to the Global Workplace Analytics and FlexJob, the number of telecommuting employees has grown by 115% in about a decade. This is approximately 3.9 million workers.
The number of those who indicated they quit their work for lack of flexibility grew from 17% in 2014 to 32% in 2017. More employers are now seeing remote work as a new way of diversifying their workplaces.
About 49% of the mothers indicated that digital technologies provided them with greater control over where and when to work. 47% of fathers indicated that technology helps them simultaneously manage work commitments and personal life more effectively.
The industries with the highest adoption rates of remote work environments are: Human Resources, Real Estate, Mortgage, Finance, Accounting, and Recruitment. In 2016, these industries reported growth of about 20%.
Digital Devices and Applications for Flexible Operations
To achieve high productivity or surpass the targets set by an employer, it is necessary for workers to be in the right environment with the right set of tools. Here is a closer look at some of the must-have workplace resources.
a) The right computer
This is probably the most obvious device you need to have. Having a good computer or a laptop that allows remote operations is very important. Even if your flexible work schedule has shifting hours earlier or later in a day, a reliable device will help you avoid repeated calls for support. Make sure your work machine can handle all the applications required for video conferencing, document sharing, and other related tasks.
b) The right smartphone
To operate remotely, you need a good smartphone. The modern-day smartphone operates like an extension of your computer because you can monitor work progress, connect with colleagues, and run some projects even on the go. Make sure your smartphone is reliable, has productivity-enhancing apps, and a long battery life.
c) High-speed internet access
When it comes to workplace flexibility, you must have a reliable internet access to connect with your company, colleagues, and clients. A fast internet connection will help you to download work files, share details, and hold video conferences reliably. At a minimum, your internet connection needs to be reliable during hours, although higher speed tiers are preferable.
d) The right assortment of communication tools
Flexible work arrangements largely revolve around being able to communicate and collaborate effectively. You will need to stay in touch with colleagues who are in different locales. This requires the use of tools such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and Zoom. Other important tools include GoToMeeting, WhatsApp, JoinMe, and WebEx.
Our Final Take
The workplace is quickly evolving into a tech-enabled environment where staff can operate from essentially anywhere in the world. Parents find this new environment very appealing because they can work remotely, spend more time with their kids, and concurrently attend to other concerns in their personal life.