Remote work is the future of work

The future of remote working

Gone are the days of the industrial revolution which is the “origin of our 9-5 jobs. But times, they are a-changing. We live in a different era.

Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University Professor
Source: Pixabay & Unsplash.

The era is that of the pajama evolution where more and more workers prefer working from home or Costa coffee or anywhere else in the world rather than an office cubicle or literally on a beach like below.

Source:Twitter @Salvagelit.


The Pajama revolution/Remote work is a growing phenomenon:

  1. 43% of Americans report spending at least some time working remotely. (2017 Gallup study)
  2. More than half of employees (53%) say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance is “very important” to them when considering whether to take a new job. (2017 Gallup study)
  3. More than half of employees (51%) say they would change jobs for one that offered them flextime and 37% would do the same for a job that offered them the ability to work where they want at least part of the time.( (2017 Gallup study)
  4. The roles adopting remote work at the present are 79% of knowledge workers ie software engineers, developers, designers, and marketers. ( PGI global telework survey)
  5. The number of programmers who work remotely full time has been growing at an average rate of 11.5% per year.(America time use survey)
  6. The percentage of employed persons in the EU who sometimes work from home has increased steadily over the years, from 7.7% in 2008 to 9.6% in 2017( Eurostat)
  7. According to  2012 Reuters/Ipsos report one in five workers telecommute, especially in Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.

These are some important statistics to consider and accept the fact that the pajama evolution is indeed taking off.  The rising popularity of remote work is thanks to the new innovative technology that makes virtual collaboration much easier such as Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts and more. Designers and engineers have invented dozens of new tools to keep us connected to the office without actually going there. They are also among the first to start using this technology as more programmers prefer to work from home.

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Why is remote work so appealing?

The idea of sitting 9-5 or however long in an office depresses people, especially designers and programmers who prefer to work in an environment of their choosing.

Reasons remote work is appealing for the employees:

1.Flexibility:

Working remotely gives employees and freelancers the much-needed flexibility they crave.

  • They have the freedom to choose any location they prefer to work from be it their home, a beach, workspace or a cafe anyplace that has wifi.
  • People have the choice to wear what they want and aren’t restricted to office attire.
  • It gives them time to incorporate exercises and chores at a time of their liking such as picking their kids up from school.

2.Worklife balance:

As they have more flexibility, they have the time to maintain a work-life balance.

  • Having a work-life balance makes the employees happier.
  • They have more time as the commute time has reduced.
  • A better work-life balance reduces stress and increases productivity.
  • It allows for more family time and bonding such as going for the kid’s soccer match or getting ice cream after school.

3. Autonomy:

Giving the employees to work remotely allows them to operate in a way that suits their individual needs.

  • Remote workers have more ownership of their work which makes them happier.
  • Flexibility and Autonomy with work make the employee more productive.
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Source: Twitter @IndeedCanada

4.Cost

– With Remote jobs, individuals can choose to work from anywhere and thus have the option to live in a country with a better cost of living.

– Remote jobs cut the cost of long commutes for the employees.

If working remotely is so great, why isn’t everyone doing it?

  1. Working in isolation creates loneliness.

We are social animals, the minute we are only at home and aren’t interacting with enough people we start feeling lonely and depressed. A study by buffer states that 21% of remote workers suffer from loneliness. There are no coffee breaks or water cooler conversations when you work remotely causing loneliness.

Image source : https://www.deekit.com/11-things-about-remote-work/
  1. Flexible work hours converts to endless work hours.

If not planned and structured properly, individuals will not have proper work timings and will be working pretty much all the time because of constant emails and work and they won’t be able to switch off from it.

  1. Distractions are more.

Working from home or a place that you love may end up distracting you as well such as tv, facebook, kids, things happening at home.

Remote work is the future.

However, we must come to terms with the fact that remote work is growing and is a part of the future. According to Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel, remote work will be the norm within the next 10 years, as younger generations take the management reins.

So as designers and developers how can we adapt ourselves better for our present and our future?

Here are few tips to support remote designers and developers so that they can be successful:

1.Communicate communicate communicate:

Team communication is the key to work remotely. Team communication is easier in office as individuals have coworkers are around whereas remote teams are all over the place.


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Here are a few guidelines to follow for team communication:

A.Daily Updates: Ensure that every team member is giving daily updates of the work that they are doing. This can easily be done with the use of slack.

B. Check in and out: Ensure that every team member updates the team when they are available and working so that its easier for teams to collaborate in different time zones.

C.Talk: Ensure that the team as a whole as conversations besides work so that they build trust among themselves and strong relationships. Make the effort to make the entire team meet in person at least once a year for a team visit.

D.Meetings: Ensure that team meetings have fixed agendas so that no time gets wasted.

E. Never assume: Ensure that no team member makes assumptions while communicating.

F.Effective communication process: Use the technology at hand and create a good communication process:

  • Daily conversation: Slack and Fleep.
  • Project management: Trello.
  • Weekly meetings: Skype, Zoom and Google Hangouts.
  • Design Collaboration: inVision, Sketch, Figma and G Drive.
  • Documentation: Dropbox and Google Docs.
  • Calendar: Google calendar and Timepage

G. Feedback: Design a feedback structure at regular intervals. This will allow teams to work better and improve.  

2. Connect with the design community and developer community:

Remote work can get isolating especially when remote workers don’t have people to bounce off their ideas with or go to lunch with. The best way to beat the isolation is by joining different communities by using meetup, going for ted talks, attending conferences and joining online communities on Slack, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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A few great communities:

1.For coding: Stack Overflow, Instagram

2.For design: Dribble, Behance, Instagram

3. Routine is Essential:

Ensure that there is a fixed routine for every day and as tempting as working in pyjamas in bed sounds never ever do it as it will lead to inconsistency. Create a workspace either at home or use a  coworking space or any space with a productive work environment.

4.Metrics:

Set goals and objectives that need to be met so that individuals stay focused and productive. Setting goals helps individuals calender their day and makes them focus on the quality of work rather than the quantity which is very important while working remotely.

5.In-person Social Time:

Remote workers often miss social time while working. Make sure you set aside time to socialize with people such as go to a coffee shop, event or schedule lunch with a friend.

by Andrew Davies for Paragon Design Group in Orlando Economic Partnership – Future of Cities |

Considering the benefits remote work has for business and individuals and the growing technology advancement, remote work is going to become more common in all industries. It’s wiser to adapt to this evolution, especially for designers and developers.