As the nature of work changes, the environments and locations where employees and employers accomplish their job tasks are also evolving. Rather than gathering in one central location, like an office or plant, many workers are now able to complete the requirements of their jobs from wherever they have an internet connection. An upward and ongoing trend is occurring in the number of people who are working remotely. According to an analysis by Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics, there has been a 159% increase in remote work over the last 12 years; and as of 2020, 4.7 million U.S. workers were working remotely.
This strong growth in remote work is due in part to the benefits that are recognized by both employers and employees. Remote workers surveyed reported to Flexjobs that they’re 29% happier in their jobs compared to on-site workers. Remote workers cite their choice to work remotely includes a better work-life balance, increased productivity, less stress, and avoiding a commute. In rural Montana, the option for remote work may allow an individual to stay in their community, rather than having to move to be closer to a job.
Employers not only benefit from happier employees, but remote workers are also reportedly more productive, more loyal, and healthier. A two-year study1 by researchers at Stanford University concluded that telecommuters took shorter breaks and less time off. Results also showed that employee attrition decreased by 50 percent among telecommuters. Remote workers also had fewer sick days. In addition to those benefits, employers can also save on expenses that come with providing a centralized work location, such as office space.
1 Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment. By Nicholas A. Bloom, James Liang, John Roberts, Zhichun Jenny Ying. The Quarterly Journal of Economics. February 2015, Vol. 130, Issue 1, Pages 165-218
- Remote work is an arrangement between a worker and their employer that allows individuals to work outside of a traditional office environment. It is based on the idea that work does not need to be done in a specific location in order to be successfully accomplished. Remote work generally allows individuals to live anywhere, no matter where their employer is located. This arrangement allows individuals to not be tethered to a particular job based on where they live.
How do people work remotely?
- The beauty of remote work is that it allows businesses and employees to create arrangements that makes the most sense for both.
- Some people have the opportunity to work remotely for the majority of the working week, but have to commute to in-person meetings at the office one day a week. On a typical day, these remote employees work from a home office or other location and can work from the company office when necessary.
- Others rely on coworking spaces where they can get their job done. Coworking spaces offer a work site, network connectivity, and opportunities to meet others who work in a multitude of industries. They can be utilized by people with full-time jobs, freelance careers, and even entrepreneurs who want to rent out an office space for themselves or their small staff. They are effectively a halfway point between a traditional office and a nontraditional workspace, providing both structure and flexibility.
Policies and Guidance
When you have remote workers, complying with employment laws may require additional planning. It is important to have effective policies, practices, and procedures in place before permitting employees to work remotely. There are a number of considerations for employers about how to comply with employment laws, such as notice requirements, recordkeeping, break periods, and workers’ compensation. The following are what you need to know as it relates to:
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