If you are reading this site, then there is a good chance that you are interested in the future of jobs and probably would like to work remotely. But even if you don’t, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for the possibility.
Why? Because pretty soon everyone is likely to work remotely. This is the future, and here is why.
The benefits to the worker are massive
Firstly, working online offers a lot of practical benefits to workers.
One of the biggest of these is the commute. If you currently spend hundreds of dollars and countless hours per month on commuting, choosing to work remotely could make a lot of sense for you. When you work from home, you can boot up your computer at 9 am and get home as soon as you log off. There’s no travel time and no expensive rail fare.
That also means you get to spend lunch at home – or wherever it is you would rather work. You now have 1-3 hours of your life back per day. That’s 5-15 hours per week, 20-60 hours per month, 240-720 hours per year! Imagine what you could do with that time: relax, exercise and get into shape, spend more time with family and friends, or travel and see the world.
And because the hours you work and the location you work from are also often flexible when you work remotely, this presents many more opportunities too: opportunities such as working while traveling or working from beautiful local hotspots.
This also gives you the freedom to spread your work out over the entire week (short working days, no weekend), or to work for three extra-long days and take the rest of the week off. You can take as much leave as you want when you want, and you can adapt to sudden time pressures or unexpected interruptions and commitments.
Lifestyle design and financial benefits
This is known as “lifestyle design,” and as we place growing attention on our happiness and work-life balance, this becomes an increasingly appealing prospect. Thus many job seekers consider remote working opportunities to be one of the top things an employer can offer, and it stands to reason that more businesses will begin providing the option.
Then there are all the potential financial incentives. Working online on a self-employed basis means taking on whichever gigs and business opportunities suit you, and it means taking home a bigger percentage of the profit at the end of the day. You’ll be your boss, free to choose the type of work you want to do, and how you want to mix and match projects.
The benefits to the employer are even bigger
The above benefits for employees/freelancers suggest that more and more people are going to be climbing aboard the work-from-home train.
But while this might be a strong motivator, it’s the financial incentive for employers that will push this into becoming the norm. And there is a lot of financial incentive for said employers!
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Think about it: if you are a small business looking to fill a specific role, it makes a lot more sense to choose an online freelancer rather than interviewing local candidates. This way, you don’t need to go through the process of interviewing and inducting a new full-time employer, you don’t need to offer desk-space, and you don’t need to worry about things like insurance and sick-pay.
Moreover, by finding a professional online, an organization can choose from a gigantic population of highly skilled workers, offering specific services for a wide spectrum of prices. Why make-do with the local talent pool, when you could hire a superstar professional with a CV perfectly matched to your requirements?
The distributed workforce
A business can, therefore, gain a higher quality of work at a much lower cost by working with freelancers online. And eventually, if the company chooses to rely predominantly on remote collaboration, it can do away with the office altogether; thereby drastically cutting overheads and increasing profits.
With a team distributed around the world, a fully online workforce can likewise benefit from being responsive and adaptable. There are members of the team available to deal with clients from all around the world, in any time zone.
This is something that our sister site Android Authority benefits from because we have writers all around the world, we can easily get them to launch events and pre-briefs without needing to book lots of expensive flights or pay for costly hotels.
And as business becomes increasingly global and online, this advantage will only grow in importance. Traditional business models simply won’t be able to keep up.
The technology and infrastructure are growing fast to support this shift
I know what you’re likely going to say though: working remotely is slow and cumbersome. It’s complicated dealing with different time zones, email is a slow form of communication, and working remotely is generally sub-optimal.
But these arguments are quickly becoming obsolete. Today, countless online collaboration tools from Asana to Basecamp exist expressly to help this process. Then there are web conferencing tools like Skype and like Zoom, cloud storage solutions for transferring large files, and more.
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Thanks to 5G, the availability of fast WiFi connectivity will become a problem of the past. More and more processing power will soon be handled by the cloud. And in the not-too-distant future, we could even share VR offices, allowing us to talk and collaborate as though we were right in the same room with our colleagues.
Future jobs for working remotely
The other thing to remember is that the nature of business is changing. With more and more B2C business being conducted online, it will become increasingly possible to find online jobs within those organizations. The need for face-to-face interaction is drastically diminished through automation.
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Business models that would once have required a physical presence are now largely digital thanks to streaming, eCommerce, 3D printing, print on demand publishing, dropshipping, web conferencing, and more. You can provide personal training, or even create and sell a new physical product all without leaving your front room!
The most in-demand upcoming jobs all involve working predominantly with technology: from information security analyst to data scientist, to programmer.
All this is before we even mention that working online is good for the environment (less commuting), or that it creates opportunities for those unable to travel into work.
But what about the downsides?
I’m not saying that working online is perfect, or that every type of job can be handled online. It will be a while before you can get a good online massage for example, or eat a digital sandwich (though of course you can order food online, and 3D printed food is already a thing). Manual labor jobs are always going to exist, even if prefabricated building does slightly reduce the need for sheer man-power.
And working online won’t be for everyone. Not everyone likes working with computers, meeting face-to-face certainly has its benefits, and extraverts will have a hard time working in solitude (though shared workspaces can mitigate this problem to an extent).
The point is that working online is rapidly becoming the norm. Recent reports tell us that 70% of people around the world now work remotely at least one day a week, that 5.2% of US workers (or 8 million people) worked entirely from home in 2017, and that 16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers. These numbers are growing, and the trend is rapidly gaining momentum. And as someone who has worked online for the past 10 years, I strongly believe that this is a good thing.
If you want to prepare yourself for the future of work, then you need to prepare yourself for the possibility that you’ll soon work remotely. Your very next job may be online! The early adopters who embrace this change quickly will be the ones who stand to benefit most, which is why we’re very glad to have you here with us on this journey into the future of work!