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[INFOGRAPHIC] Age of the Telecommuter

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An infographic details some of the latest telecommuting statistics and offers advice about the practice. But are they capturing the underlying truth?

The image comes to us courtesy of the online MBA program at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Here’s what their blurb has to say on working remotely:

In a traditional professional work environment, workers drive to an office where they sit in a cubicle from 9am to 5pm while they finish their daily tasks, and then proceed to go home to their family and have the rest of the day for personal pursuits. This way of professional life is now being challenged by telecommuting, a mode of work that came about because of advances in technology and changing expectations.

Below is the full infographic. Keep scrolling past for our thoughts on the topic.

Telecommuter_R2x

© NJIT

There Are Countless Benefits to Telecommuting

This infographic does a great job outlining the upsides to working remotely. But it doesn’t touch on the advantages to employers, which include:

  • Wider pool of candidates – If you’re only hiring people who are willing and able to come into your offices, then you don’t have access to individuals who are outside of your geographic area, nor can you work with people who aren’t willing to relocate. And of course, you’re cutting out all of the people who would prefer to work off-site.
  • Decreased overhead and liability – If you don’t have to pay for as much office space, your expenses decrease. And your insurance costs will go down as well in most situations.
  • Productivity is self-evident – It’s really easy to look busy in the office. But if people are teleworkers, they are either getting things done or they aren’t. That might seem blunt, but isn’t the point of having employees for them to provide value?

The Trend is Rising

The image does a great job of showing that more and more people are getting more and more work done from anywhere they like. It outlines major companies that support telecommuting, and shows how many executives believe that a greater percentage of their own workforce will be remote.

While the specific figures are interesting, the phenomenon is pretty obvious. Go to any coffee shop in the middle of the day and you’ll see laptops everywhere. Ask around, and you’ll find lots of friends who are freelancing in their spare time, or working at least one day a week from home. Telecommuting is happening.

The Silent Transformation

Big changes in the history of work usually start with a small rumble and end up as social upheaval. Before the 1800s, virtually everyone in the world was employed in agriculture; living and working on almost exactly the same piece of land. Then mechanization came, people flowed into cities, and civilization went through an industrial revolution.

A century passed, and workers began to organize. They demanded safer working conditions, reasonable hours, and fair wages. The result was a labor revolution.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the nature of employment began to shift away from manufacturing goods to engaging in services with the development of an information economy. The world went through a knowledge revolution, where education and access to data became among the most valuable resources.

And today, the result of all of those movements, we’re experiencing a rising trend of remote work. But this is not purely about technology or about individual desires, it actually is a revolution in corporate culture. We are shifting into a society in which work and workers are respected, rather than suspected. We’re trusting people because of the results they produce, rather than thinking they can’t be trusted and must be forced or incentivized to do anything right.

The Future of Work

The economy of the future is going to include more telecommuters to be certain. But it will also be far more fluid than it is today. The notion of a job being a “place you go” for “years and years” will become a memory. Instead, we’ll all be producing value whenever and wherever makes the most sense, and doing so for the organizations who most need our expertise.

It’s not about telecommuting: it’s about opportunity. It’s about the chance to trust people to get things done and the profound possibilities that arise when work is about results instead of about fear.

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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter is a workflow and productivity expert. He is a nationally known speaker on topics related to personal productivity, corporate efficiency and employee engagement. Robby is the founder of AccelaWork, a company which provides speakers and consultants to a wide variety of organizations, including Fortune 500 companies, regional non-profits, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Robby has written numerous articles for national magazines and has over one hundred published pieces. He is also the author of several books, including Failure: The Secret to Success. He has also been interviewed by international news outlets including the Wall Street Journal. Robby’s newest book is The Battle For Your Email Inbox.
Robby Slaughter

@robbyslaughter

Troublemaker and productivity/workflow expert. https://t.co/lJk8tIwe9q. Slightly more complex than 140 characters will permit.
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Robby Slaughter
Robby Slaughter

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