Remote work: new flexibility and what we have to surrender for it
Earning a pay rise while travelling the world
The advantages for employees are clear. Why take a holiday to finally make that trip to Asia? As long as the hotel has a stable Internet connection, the database can be updated just as easily by the pool. Customer emails can be answered on the beach and coordination with colleagues can be arranged without difficulty via Skype. On the other hand, there can be far more practical reasons that lead to individual colleagues working remotely – for example relatives who require care or partners who live abroad. So there are many different motivations behind remote work. One thing is clear: employees expect certain benefits from the increased flexibility and freedom. Scientific studies are not yet available, but surveys show that the advantages do arise: for example, a survey of 1,400 users of the ‘Flexjobs.com’ portal revealed that making working life more flexible had led to increased personal satisfaction and even improved perceived health in the majority of cases.
Boston or Berlin?
How companies with a location disadvantage benefit
For a long time, the public debate around making working life more flexible has been focused on this aspect: the benefits for employees. However, more and more companies are also recognising the advantages of having remote workers – and these benefits are certainly noticeable. Of course: for many businesspeople, a key question is whether the development brings a financial pay-off. The answer is a definitive yes. Just imagine if half of your employees no longer needed a space at the office. You would make direct savings on all the costs for your office infrastructure. But for many companies, a completely different factor is decisive: their location disadvantage up to now. Small and medium-sized businesses located outside of major urban conurbations increasingly complain about a lack of skilled staff and decreasing numbers of applicants. Remote work virtually functions as a recruitment miracle in such cases: if a change in job is possible without changing location from Berlin to Boston, SMEs will also become more attractive to skilled staff.