Remote Working Becoming ‘New Normal’

43% of employers plan to increase remote opportunities in the next year
Working from home

If you’re looking for a job that lets you work from home in your pajamas, a new study suggests it may be getting easier to find.

Nearly half of U.S. employers give employees some control over where and when they work, according to a report by Condeco, a workspace management technology company. Surveying 750 business leaders across six countries, the researchers found that technology advances and expectations from younger workers are leading many businesses to give employees more autonomy over the way they work.

Approximately 43% of U.S. employers offer their staff the option of working remotely at least some of the time, while 49% give employees the flexibility of choosing when they start and finish their workday, the study found.

Among all six countries covered in the survey (the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, Australia and Singapore), an average 41% of employers have a remote working option, and 60% offer flex time.

The biggest reason companies give employees the option of working remotely is to keep them happy. In fact, 54% of American respondents (and 52% worldwide) said remote working improves staff retention. However, companies are enjoying other benefits that come with offering the practice:

  • 49% of U.S. employers said remote working cuts down on office costs
  • 35% said it lets them scale their staff numbers more flexibly
  • 29% said it allows employees to get closer to clients
  • 14% said it promotes foreign expansion

Another 28% of American employers said they offer the option to work remotely because their employees demand it.

Responses from the survey also suggest that remote working is far from a fad. Not only are businesses seeing tangible benefits from the practice, but they’re planning to expand opportunities for workers who want even more flexibility. In fact, 43% of U.S. business leaders said they would offer more remote working opportunities than they currently have in the next year. Only 9% said they’d offer fewer such opportunities in the next year, and 48% said the number of remote working slots would be about the same.

Despite the growing prevalence of remote working, employers still appear to prefer that their staff spend at least some time in the office. When asked about the optimal combination of days spent working remotely and in the office, 40% of U.S. respondents said three office days and two remote days was optimal.

The growth of remote working is opening up new job opportunities, including options for part-timers and older workers. To take advantage of this trend, consider brushing up on your technology skills so you can be more comfortable utilizing the various collaborative tools necessary to keep in touch with your colleagues. You may even consider asking for the option to work remotely when negotiating your salary or a well-deserved raise.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.

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