Compare how services are utilised in today’s society with the way things were done 10 or 20 years ago. Mobiles have replaced landlines as the primary mode of telephone; mobile internet has surpassed desktop internet with 61% of digital time being spent on our smartphones. The way things have always been done has been turned on its head – we live in a world of remote possibilities, and the future is increasingly looking to be more nomadic and untethered than most people could imagine. Smart systems will take over manual ways of doing things, and access at the click of a button through the cloud is more prolific than ever. In fact, remote is even replacing more traditionally fixed habits, such as working and accessing services. But is the growth in things being remote making us more remote from one another?
The Freelancer Boom
With the rise in jobs in the digital sector, working as a freelancer has never been easier. Co-working spaces and virtual offices make the need for the traditional working set-up redundant. An American study found that by 2027 the majority of the workforce will be freelancers – with 36% taking up the role in 2018. While freelancers in 2016 contributed £119 billion to the economy – and the number of freelancers topped more than 2 million. Freelancer jobs encompass anything from marketing specialists and copyeditors to virtual assistants and those manning phone lines or customer service portals. The increase in chatbots means customer service doesn’t just mean phone accessibility. The website People Per Hour has helped facilitate freelance working by marrying up companies that have freelance needs with those seeking freelance work. The arrangement is often more beneficial for both parties and results in a more positive working relationship. The UK economy is set to be added to by 50% of the workforce as freelancers in 2020, with £51 billion.
“Freelancers predicted to become the U.S. workforce majority within a decade, with nearly 50% of millennial workers already freelancing, annual “Freelancing in America” study finds”
How Has Tech Helped?
Technology has definitely helped increase the amount of remote working available to a flexible workforce. The rise in digital needs has given rise to digital jobs, especially ones that allow creatives to showcase their skills in out of the box ways. One job on the rise is that of live broadcasters. YouTube has already made it possible for stars to form global empires through making videos, such as beauty vlogger Zoella, comedy facilitator Smosh, who made $11 million in 2017, and gamer Evan Fong – or VanossGaming, who brought in $15.5 million. Live streaming is even embraced by more niche industries. For instance, online casino Bet Way offers live versions of various games, which involves a remote worker acting as dealer or croupier as compared to an on-site dealer in a land-based establishment. Twitch – accruing 45 million viewers a month – furthers live broadcasting for gamers and spectators by offering sponsorship deals with advertisers and endorsers for those on gaming platforms, especially those who are skilled at various multiplayer games. The future of technology that will require more graphic design, more coding, and even more tech-forward software for the rise in VR and AR offers work that can be done anywhere, anytime, giving workers greater freedom and flexibility.
Working from Home
But remote working doesn’t just encompass those who work ad hoc jobs, those on a permanent rota are also benefitting from cloud sharing, increased internet access, and a more digital way of thinking. CNN found that US telecommuting workers increased 115% in a decade to 2017, while 3.9 million workers – 3% of the total workforce – worked from home at least half the time in 2015, up on 2005’s 1.8 million. Glassdoor, the employment transparency service, analysed companies that allowed employees to skip the commute and work from home. For example, Dell offers flexible workplace packages, utilising their tech to help keep employees in the loop, while Glassdoor themselves advocate for some working from home. Tools such as Slack allow for integrated project management and internal communications, which means employees have greater flexibility of where they work. The results speak for themselves – satisfaction increases from 6.5 to 7.7/10 for those working from home compared to their office-based counterparts.
Another benefit to remote working for both employers and employees is the geographical barriers of entry for a job is removed. Without being relegated to a commutable distance, employees can search for companies that fit their way of working and experience a lot better, while employers can find the perfect staff from around the country or even the world. Technology plays a huge part in the future of employment and streamlining services. By shedding unnecessary business costs, the money can be rerouted to branch out for more work and to employ more people. Ultimately, working remotely for those who feel the need can reduce the stress that comes with high powered jobs and can increase a more harmonious work-life balance.
The rise in remote working is definitely a trend that will continue in full force as technology allows for. Aside from jobs that require manual labour, or those that stem from interaction, the majority of jobs could be done remotely. International meetings already take place over Skype and other video services – while lectures are captured and can be viewed from home – so why not expand this to the majority of the office-based workforce. Productivity is likely to increase for those who crave freedom, while those who struggle with motivation have opportunities to join co-working cooperatives or freelancing spaces. The future of work is definitely that of a remote nature.