Remote workers account for more than 25% of the global workforce and the trend appears to be growing

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Remote workers account for 29% of global workforce

News Article – Thursday, 04 July 2013 11:15

By: Kerry Butters

According to a new worldwide study into employees’ views when it comes to the workplace, 29% of all workers in the Americas, EMEA and the Asia Pacific regions now work from home at least some of the week.

The Kelly Global Workforce Index  (KGWI) found that most of the 122,000 people asked were looking forward to the future. It was also found that people tend to be more proactive in controlling their career path. These days, people are much more likely to look for better paying jobs, as well as those that offer more in terms of opportunity and personal fulfilment.

One aspect to a better work/life balance is thought to be remote working, which is still a growing trend which employees enjoy as it offers them more flexibility and control over their working day.

“Remote work is firmly entrenched in our global economy, and it looks like it’s here to stay,” one report said . “Technology and today’s bustling marketplace are key drivers for the popularity of remote work.”

It’s also thought that the ease in which workers can now collaborate has contributed, as more companies implement BYOD schemes and utilise cloud and VoIP technologies in order to boost employee productivity.

According to a recent study undertaken by Stanford and Beijing Universitie, remote call centre workers in China were more efficient, taking fewer breaks and working harder. IBM has also said recently that the company has saved around $50m by offering the option to telecommute.

The main benefit reported by remote workers themselves has been the cost in terms of time and money of commuting. Working from home and not having to get on trains or take the car can increase productivity as a worker has more time to get on with his job.

However, not every organisation agrees and earlier this year, Yahoo banned employees  from remote working due to concerns that a fragmented workforce may damage the brand. Developing a good employee relationship through social media and cloud based intranets could help overcome this though, it’s thought.

Both Yahoo and Best Buy have been widely criticised by writers and academics over their approach to remote working and there has been much discussion surrounding the issue in recent months. Positions vary, but overall it’s thought that Yahoo were wrong to ban telecommuting, as there is no evidence to suggest that employees will “slack off”.