Lifestyles change from generation to generation. Add to that the influx of technology, and you have a recipe for a very different life from the one people might have lived even fifty years before. Decades ago, for example, people often worked regular jobs sometimes with a single company, on a nine-to-five schedule at the same location. That picture has vividly changed, and the trend today is leaning more and more frequently towards remote work, offering the ability to work from any location with an internet connection. Tech has helped spur this forward in a major way, and it’s providing opportunities to workers as well as companies and cities.
Benefits for Workers
Workers – including employees and freelancers – are turning to remote opportunities in increasing numbers. Preferred because it can provide more of a work-life balance, remote jobs offer workers the ability to operate from home, to arrange their own schedule, and choose their locale. For those who prefer a more nomadic life, travel is unimpeded by work, as anywhere with an internet connection can become an office. Others who want to spend more time with family or need to be available to loved ones as necessary – maybe with the birth of a new child or under any one of a million other circumstances – can enjoy the flexibility of staying home without having to trade it for the insecurity of being unemployed or the stress of having to take time off. Offering extensive freedom of choice, remote work, along with all the tech that makes it more possible today than ever, gives workers the ability to arrange their life according to what suits their lifestyle, needs, and personality best.
The Upside for Companies
Remote jobs don’t benefit just workers. Companies are turning to remote work as well due to the advantages it offers on the business end. Hiring remotely, firstly, expands the potential pool of applicants that employers can choose from. Whereas in the past, businesses might have been restricted due to geography – limited to applicants within a certain locale – offering remote works allows companies to select the best candidates for the position from even across the globe if they so choose. Additionally, remote employees or freelancers don’t require rented office space, pesky desks, and no one has to worry about providing (much less someone snagging) extra paperclips or staples. With the advent of video conferencing (and maybe even soon to be virtual reality conferencing), even meetings can be held as readily as if they were in person.
A Plus for Cities
Cities, like workers and companies, are also getting excited about remote work options. States and municipalities that want to attract citizens (and therefore spenders who will generate not only revenue for local businesses but also tax dollars for the local government) are launching incentive programs to entice remote workers. The other upside? While these remote-work citizens will bring in revenue, they already have jobs. Providing new work opportunities by attracting big companies or building infrastructure to support new offices is not necessary – it’s money without the cost. It’s valuable enough that, across the United States, some cities and states are offering significant rewards to those willing to relocate their life. Tulsa, Oklahoma, for example, is entering its third year of its Tulsa Remote program, which puts up $10,000 for those interested in shifting operations to the Sooner State, while states like Vermont offer $5,000 including resources for apartment hunting and assistance with moving expenses. In addition to new community members, smaller cities are also getting to diversify their workforces with talent that might otherwise get swept up by a bigger city.
Are there downsides to remote work?
It depends on who you ask. While remote work is a dream for many, it’s a vastly different approach that may not work for everybody. Coworking spaces, usually offered in remote-work cities, are popular with some remote workers as a way of maintaining social interaction in what might otherwise be a lonely work environment. For businesses, keeping track of remote workers is invariably more difficult than being able to keep a weather eye on them in the office. Cities may find that remote workers come and go, keeping in line with the flexibility and variety that many of them seek. Though programs across the U.S. to attract remote workers seem to be growing in popularity, they’re relatively new with the long-term effects remaining to be seen.
Remote work is likely to trend into the future. As technology advances, working from anywhere will become increasingly easier, and with the amount of remote job opportunities exploding in the last five years, the trend seems firmly in place – with benefits for everyone across the board.