In the past, a company that enabled its employees to work from home – or any location outside the office, for that matter – was unheard of. Workers needed to be at the corporate site in order to access the technology and information required to complete daily tasks. In recent years, however, all that has changed.
Now, having a remote workforce isn’t just commonplace, it’s a strategy that’s gaining popularity. Let’s take a look at a few things you might not have known about mobile workers, including how fast this trend is growing and what businesses can do to support these employees’ success.
According to recent industry statistics, remote working is on the rise across the enterprise sector. In fact, 34 percent of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit noted that more than half of their full-time staffers would be working remotely within the next five years. An additional 25 percent said that over three-quarters of their employee base would not make the trip to the company’s traditional office space by 2020, Fast Company reported.
“34 percent of business leaders noted that more than half of their full-time staffers would be working remotely within the next five years.”
While this year’s numbers have not yet come in, Fortune noted that last year saw a 26 percent increase in remote worker recruitment when compared to 2013 levels. What’s more is that the vast majority of hiring managers – 83 percent – agreed that telecommuting will be “more prevalent in the next five years,” according to Entrepreneur contributor Sara Sutton Fell.
“In most white-collar jobs, I’d say 99 percent of people are already working remotely in that they take work home,” Sutton, who is also the CEO of FlexJobs, told Fast Company. “It creeps into our work style already. I think it’s just not formalized by either the employer or employee.”
In this way, remote work is likely taking place more often than the numbers reveal, and will surely increase in the coming months and years.
A remote workforce strategy will not bring the advantages the company is looking for without the proper oversight and communication. Employees operating from their home offices or other locations must ensure that they are in contact not only with their co-workers, but their managers and company executives as well. Everyone must remain in the loop no matter where they work from, and communication is the key here.
Highfive contributor Jessica Shambora encouraged managers to provide feedback to their remote workers on a consistent basis.
“Employees suffer because they are deprived of an opportunity to improve, and employers are hurting their companies in the long run by letting problems fester,” Shambora wrote. “Positive feedback is equally essential. Let your employee know when you are happy with their work (ideally face-to-face, using video conferencing). Otherwise they have no way of knowing whether they’re meeting the mark.”
There’s no denying the importance of communication in a remote workforce initiative. However, without the right technological solutions in place, the level of communication required would be incredibly difficult – if not impossible – to achieve.
For this reason, it’s critical that businesses have industry-leading communication and collaboration solutions in place to foster the necessary connections – even when employees are nowhere near the office.
Citrix offers some of the best solutions here, including technology to help deliver the apps, desktops and information needed to establish successful mobile work. Citrix solutions can empower employees to access the applications they need from any device they use via the cloud, and remain in contact with their co-workers and supervisors.