Remote work, telecommuting, telework – the practice of working from somewhere other than or in addition to company headquarters or a local office at all hours – is on the rise. That’s because today’s workforce is demanding more flexibility, and technology can make this possible. It’s no wonder more companies are incorporating flexible jobs and remote work into their business.
What Exactly is Remote Work?
Remote work can mean working from outside the office, whether from home, the airport, a coffee shop, or any other non-office environment. Some remote work happens out of necessity, such as when an employee is required to travel or does not live close to a local office. In other words, employees who work remotely might do so 100% of the time, or part of the time. Companies might maintain a team of remote workers (aka a remote workforce) or a mix of office workers and remote workers.
Because people can now choose when, where, and how they want to work, the concept of work is no longer about a place but about being as productive as possible from anywhere.
Where Work Gets Done Isn’t the Focus
Remote work is not just a perk or a passing fad—it’s becoming an accepted way of working. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 20-25% of U.S. workers telecommute at least some of the time. Moreover, 45% of Millennials will choose a workplace offering more flexibility over one offering higher pay. In fact, 69% of Millennials say they believe office attendance on a regular basis is not necessary. And many workers of other generations are of the same mind. They want the flexibility to shift their work hours to a time that suits them and the option to work in a space that inspires them to do their best. That’s because the new measure of productivity is output, not hours spent in the office.
Benefits of Working Remotely
Remote work is a win-win for companies and their employees:
- Companies can hire and retain the best talent from anywhere
- Companies reduce facilities costs
- Employees get to work anywhere at any time
- Employees avoid the hassle and expense of commuting
- Employees are happier and more productive
Productivity Moves to the Cloud
With cloud-based technologies that enable communication and interactions, workers no longer need to be in each other’s presence to effectively collaborate and get work done. In fact, the latest technologies are continually improving the effectiveness of remote work.
These technologies take the form of enterprise apps and tools that are as easy to access and use as consumer apps, streamlining communications and interactions. In addition to voice and messaging options, these apps enable communicating and collaborating via video and content sharing. Many IT leaders are spearheading digital transformation initiatives to satisfy the remote workforce’s expectations for frictionless, high-quality collaboration and communication.
Unified Communications Enables Remote Work
In response to rising demands for flexible work options, a growing number of organizations are calling upon unified communications – a fusion of voice, text, content, and video – to enable seamless collaboration between remote workers and other business stakeholders. Unified communications integrates multiple communication tools and enables the internal collaboration needed to address modern workforce needs. When this happens in the cloud (in the form of Unified Communications as a Service), it enables remote work by supporting global voice, video, and messaging in a simple, elegant experience.
Forward-thinking CIOs are proactively championing the use of modern tools and technologies to enable remote work. Many of them find that Unified Communications as a Service is the simplest way to pursue this vision.