Is Remote Work the Future?

Is remote work the future? If you asked that question twenty years ago, when the early technological advancements were taking place, many companies would have said no. Asking the question now, you will get a more diverse response. Overall, working on location still reigns supreme. You wake up, you go to work, and you go home. Office work has been the norm for years and years, but remote work has made a big push in the past five years.

Remote work can vary from person to person, and job to job. Some people work remotely only a few days a week, spending their remaining days in an office environment, while others can work remotely full time. Regardless of the various working situations, remote work is on the rise. One big reason for this rise is the recent advancements in communication software, like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and GoToMeeting. Working from home is no longer thought of as distant and chaotic. Instead, it is accessible and more connected than ever before because of the video chat and instant messaging capabilities that communication software now has. They help keep you organized and on task, even when you may never speak face-to-face with your colleagues, bosses, or clients. The issue of being distanced from your coworkers and work environment is slowly starting to become obsolete.

The whole idea of work changes when you don’t need to leave home to do it, but a big question for many is whether that change is for better or worse. The distance argument is nearly extinguished due to the technological advancements of the past five years. However, there are still skeptics that wonder if the productivity goes down with remote work. Nicholas Bloom conducted a two-year Stanford study about remote work and its effects. Bloom studied both home workers and remote workers under the same company for two years. After completion, Bloom discussed his findings in a TEDx Talk at Stanford. Bloom stated that he found “a 13% improvement in performance from people working at home.” He attributed this to people at home working their full shift, as opposed to a commuter who is sometimes late to work, leaves for lunch, and leaves work early on occasion. Bloom’s findings also suggest that it is far easier to concentrate at home, as it is less noisy and chaotic than the average office space.

Is remote work the future? It is certainly not yet the present, with most people still working traditionally in the office. However, due to the increasing recognition of its productive value in employees, and the ease with which technology is making remote work possible and practical, it is safe to say that remote work is on the rise, and, yes, it is the future.