Rate of Remote Employees Continues to Rise

March 15, 2012

83% of survey respondents already work from home at least part of their day.

If you do not currently work from home, there is a growing chance that you will within a few three years.

According to a survey by Wrike, a manufacturer of collaboration software, 83% of the 1,074 people surveyed said they work remotely at least part of the day.  66% of respondents believe that their office may go fully virtual within five years.

Working from home is not for everyone; however it may prove to be more productive for people who spend the majority of their professional day (or night) in highly focused activities.  For example, I find it much easier to research and write about a variety of topics for this blog from my home office than from a cubicle surrounded by chatty colleagues.

An estimated 45 million Americans work from home at least one day per week.  The growth of remote workers can be attributed to a variety of factors including the proliferation of high speed/broadband and wireless Internet access, and the willingness of more employees to embrace work-life balance.  In recent turbulent economic times, many companies with a national presence were forced to close small offices and entrust employees to work remotely in order to cut costs.  Many of these employees are engaged in activities that require collaboration with other team members.

One of the challenges for managers of remote employees is keeping them engaged on an individual and team-based basis.  Technological advancements such as video conferencing and collaboration platforms have enabled employees to connect, contribute, collaborate and thrive, while working from disparate locations. Additionally, video conferencing helps to defray costs and boost productivity.

Today’s workers are expected to be contributing team players and usually serve more than one team.  Video conferencing provides an opportunity for employees to demonstrate competencies such as:

  1. Communication- There is visibility into how well the employee communicates- Does he/she actively listen?  How is his/her written and oral presentation of information?
  2. Professionalism- It is easy to see how professionally the person is dressed and whether or not he/she projects an image of maturity and integrity so as to demonstrate credibility.
  3. External Awareness- Video conferencing enables participants to see things from multiple points of view and be mindful of how actions impact others.

Although email and phone conversations dominate today’s communication methods, there simply is no substitute for face-to-face communication.  Many instructors of Dale Carnegie Training often say, “Electronic communication is a great way to conduct business, but relationships drive business results.”

One of the greatest challenges that both remote and on-site employees will continue to face is to nourish relationships with colleagues, customers, prospects, etc.  The Dale Carnegie Human Relations principles are tried and true methods of not only preserving relationships, but of growing them exponentially.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Mid & Northern Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Wrike.com/Tony Keller

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