Workers to pollsters: Widespread remote work is imminent

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Surveys repeatedly show that workers are keen on telecommuting, so much so that they’d be willing to take a pay cut for the right to work remotely. Unsurprisingly, a new one from project management solution Wrike confirms this. The poll of more than 1,000 employees found nearly 80 percent would sacrifice employer-provided free meals to telecommute, 54 percent would give up their employer-paid cell phone plans and 31 percent would trade paid vacation for the ability to work remotely.

All of which, you could say, is yet another firm kick landed on an already very dead horse, but the other survey findings were more surprising. While telecommuting is often presented as a good idea whose time has not yet come due to entrenched institutional skepticism, Wrike’s findings suggest we may soon be turning a corner on a future where remote work is far less fringe, even for those in the least hip organizations.

Already, 83 percent of respondents reported spending at least a few hours each week working outside the office. This probably amounts to a bit of checking work email and the like out of hours, but many were extremely hopeful about the expansion of virtual work at their companies. When asked if their offices might go fully virtual in the future, 65 percent of respondents said yes, though they differed on exactly how long the shift would take:

  • 25 percent expected their office to go fully virtual within a year or two (or their office was already virtual)
  • About another quarter (24 percent) expected the shift to take three to five years
  • While 16 percent thought it would take five years or more

Despite this disagreement about the exact time frame, the over-arching message of the survey seems clear. Workers are expecting a virtual workplace, and expecting it soon. Management will have to take heed, won’t it?

How long do you think before your organization goes fully virtual?

Image courtesy of Flickr user renaissancechambara.

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