Are Remote Workers the Norm?

A recent report shows that telecommuting is more widespread than anyone thought.

The working world has tipped the balance in favor of flexibility. Latest research commissioned by Regus, the flexible workspace provider, shows that over one-half of workers in the United States now work from outside their company’s main offices for one-half the week or more. When asked where they work when away from the office, 41% said they mostly work from home.
The survey, canvassing over 6,000 U.S. businesspeople, aims to provide a snapshot of the world of work today; results show that while remote working is clearly the norm, it’s certainly not synonymous with working from home—only a minority work exclusively from home (14%). Instead, respondents revealed that they work remotely in order to remain productive while traveling to and from meetings within the same city or in other cities (60%).
The study also highlights:

  • Only 14% of remote workers are fully fledged home-based workers, spending an entire week working from their home office.
  • Among the most popular locations for remote work, business centers make up nearly one-fifth (19%).
  • Only 7% say that they usually work abroad when working remotely.
  • Only 11% of businesspeople would settle for noisy cafes while working on the go.

While U.S. employees work remotely to stay productive, workers in the United Kingdom are choosing remote work to cut down on travel time. According to a Regus UK survey conducted among 1700 U.K. professionals, 58% of workers are looking to “work remotely in order to improve their travel schedule.”
Steven Farley, Regus CEO for North America, comments, “These results show that today’s workforce is truly mobile. Only a very small proportion of workers are true home-based workers spending all of their time away from their main office in a home office. Workers report that they are not looking to replace one fixed office space with another such as the home, but are declaring that they need places to stop off and regain productivity while traveling to and from business meetings in their own, or in other cities.
“Businesspeople clearly show that they need drop-in locations where they can productively work from a few hours to a full day. Business centers prove to be a popular choice as they can be found in city centers and suburban markets and provide a professional environment that favors concentration, very much the opposite of noisy cafes where it is hard to find focus and privacy,” Farley adds.
Recent reports estimate that today’s average U.K. commute takes anywhere from 55 to 90 minutes, with more than 3 million workers regularly facing journeys of 2 hours plus to get to and from work. Research has found that the commute has a detrimental effect on well-being, with the Office of National Statistics reporting that commuters have lower life satisfaction, lower levels of happiness, and higher anxiety.
According to Richard Morris, CEO UK Regus, these factors are leading commuters to question the logic of traditional working practices.
Morris comments, “The survey tells us that workers are no longer willing to accept the stress and expense of the commute and are looking at flexible working solutions that enable them to gain this time back, work nearer to home and enhance productivity.”
“Whilst working flexibly won’t be a fit for every type of job there are millions of people across the UK for whom this more agile approach to the working day makes perfect sense. With over half of all workers thinking this way, 2017 looks set to herald the beginning of the end for the outdated, costly and time-consuming journey to one fixed place of work,” Morris adds.
Tomorrow we’ll look at some of the guidance offered by on telecommuting.

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