The balmy air muddled with a gentle breeze rolling off the ocean makes you feel equal parts relaxed and refreshed. Subtly swaying on a hammock suspended between two palm trees, you’re cradled in the perfect position that allows you to type away on your laptop without having to look up to enjoy the view. Ocean as far as the eye can see, it glows bright turquoise despite your sunglasses’ best efforts to dim the view. The sun beams down on the white sand, and your bare feet hang over the side of the hammock, one getting more tan than the other. It’s December, and you’re at work.
Sound like a dream? It’s a reality for more and more people. Advancements in technology, including office messaging services and online tools, have contributed to the rising popularity of remote work. A survey conducted by PGi showed that a reported 91% of telecommuters had been provided with company laptops, 76% have access to company data, and 75% use web conferencing tools. Staying connected is easier than ever.
More than other generations, millennials want flexibility in terms of where and how they work and are the most willing to take a pay cut, pass up a promotion, or even relocate to manage work-life demands better, according to a survey by EY. This generational shift in perspective, of valuing flexibility and great work-life balance, is a stark contrast from the traditional 9 to 5, in the office workweek.
Adam Kingl, director or learning solutions at London Business School, says that flexibility “is the number one reason they’re attracted to a workplace. People want to take an afternoon off and catch up on Saturday morning.” If the work that they’re doing can be done from anywhere, and anytime (within reason), it seems logical to many that they should be able to take advantage of this inherent on the job flexibility. Remote work becomes “a criterion that people are expressly looking for before they’ll sign on the dotted line,” says Kingl. “It’s not a perk or reward.”
Remote work doesn’t have to mean telecommuting all the time, it can include just the option for working at home at the employee’s discretion. The freedom of being able to work from home if the weather is unpleasant, if there’s an appointment that needs to be accommodated, if a child is sick, or even if the employee doesn’t feel like coming into the office — this is a perk that is no longer surprising or rare. As working remotely moves into the mainstream, companies are moving along with the trend in order to attract top talent.
Do you think that working remotely is the new ideal?