Over the last five years, the total proportion of remote workers has increased by 44%. Extend out to 10 years, and this proportion reaches 91%. While these numbers have seen a significant jump in more recent years, outside of this there still undeniably exists a strong ongoing trend. Using writing and other well-represented remote work opportunities as examples, we want to investigate what components have allowed this evolution to take place.
While we have investigated the business side of this equation before, just as important are the technological and socio-cultural aspects. By examining these, it might be possible to conclude as to remote work’s greater scope, and its maximum level of future integration into traditional models of employment.
The Strength of Technology
The ability of technology to make working lives easier is a development felt in practically every industry. In many businesses, fundamental aspects have seen such enormous evolution through tech that they might be unrecognisable to the shapes they took just a few decades ago. Writing is a standout in this regard, where virtually every avenue of tech development has had demonstrable positive effects on our ability to work remotely.
Finding sources for topics, checking for updates on developing stories, or reviewing for repeats or plagiarism, all these elements and more fit perfectly with the remote work ethos. In this way, taking what is already an online process and extending it one step further is hardly a difficult task.
As more industries evolve into the digital sphere, this scope of this idea constantly widens. While not the case for some types of jobs, especially those in physical item processing, the replacement of older analogue methods with more efficient digital solutions constantly raises remote-work viability. This is being embraced even in Silicon Valley, where Microsoft is allowing more flexible working.
Extending Involvement and Scope
While we tend to think of remote work as allowing existing employees to perform their work at a distance, this only tells part of the story. The other side of this coin which is becoming increasingly relevant is the ability to start and continue employing staff from entire continents away. By extending involvement and scope in such a manner, it becomes possible to vastly increase potential pools of talent beyond regional limitations.
This is especially useful for writing careers because of how few limitations are applied to writers in terms of their physical location. For example, a writer in New Zealand might be able to perform similar work to somebody in the UK or USA, with the same level of understanding on many key topics.
Playing into this widening scope is the connecting tissue that makes up the internet. As the primary source of information for an increasing number of people, learning from the internet rarely discriminate in terms of a person’s location. In 2018, 33% of American’s used the internet as their primary source of news, compared to 16% from print, and similar numbers hold for most other developed nations. This information is global, and thus not geographically limiting.
Of course, writing is just one of many examples of the types of professions which could benefit in this international regard. The same can also be true for those who work in internet tech jobs, such as web development. Consider workers who contribute to online casinos as another illustration. Whether calculating how bonus offers work, coding the websites themselves, or even developing the games like slots or roulette, no part of these jobs would necessitate existing in one central location. This is the flexible future that many will be looking at, where both work and entertainment can be accessed from your home.
On a more cultural level, one of the biggest problems that stand in the way of remote-work adoption is established working tradition. Until recently, the only way to work for a business has been in person, and whether knowingly or not, this fostered an attitude that remains to this day.
According to a study by Owl Labs, around 44% of companies don’t allow remote work at all. The ideas supporting this decision vary heavily, but ordinarily tie into ingrained ideas of what constitutes ‘real’ work. Many organisations refuse to change their systems unless they have to, as enacting systematic change can be seen as taking an unnecessary risk. If it ain’t broke, they say, don’t fix it.
Tying into the earlier points of extending the scope and evolving technology, writing has been one of the foremost types of work to challenge these preconceptions. If unforeseen instances force some workers to take a remote approach, writers are often the first to be given the chance. In doing this, writing work has been some of the most visible in displaying remote-work advantages.
Commonly reported among these advantages are benefits that workers report in terms of fewer distractions and stress reductions. In turn, these have been shown to increase worker happiness, which pays dividends for overall efficiency. Employers might have been hesitant to take these claims at their word but seeing the evidence for themselves in these situations provides undeniable truth. While remote work does come with its own set of concerns, this is still a case where the pros outweigh the cons.
Not Built in a Day
Changing base business practices that have remained constant for generations was never going to be an easy pursuit. We are creatures of habit and doubt, after all, where any deep changes must be born from overwhelming evidence. This has been true for many aspects of tech-related business, as it is for remote work.
While not standing alone in this regard, writing and its related jobs have shone as a prime example of what remote work can offer. From leveraging emerging technologies to allowing wider ranges of employment opportunities and challenging preconceptions, writing has made a powerful argument. We might be a few years from fulfilling the full potential of what remote work has to offer, but on our way there, writing has been an indisputable bulwark.