Remote work opportunities are on the rise thanks to innovative technology that makes telecommuting and virtual collaboration more effective than ever before. Remote work flexibility has long been a primary benefit offered to IT/tech professionals, and now companies are expanding remote flexibility to full-time remote positions for these experts.
So it’s no surprise the computer/information systems industry currently ranks second among industries embracing remote work. As more and more highly specialized tech professionals demand flexibility when it comes to their work schedule and location, companies will be forced to reconsider their traditional policies and embrace fully remote tech teams.
The Rise of Remote Tech Work
Because technology has allowed work environments to become more flexible and customizable, top tech and IT specialists are demanding more flexibility for themselves. Tech-driven companies are jumping on the opportunity of remote work to help deal with the high cost of living for tech employees in tech hotbeds, like New York City and San Francisco. Those cities are pricing out the tech experts looking to move there for work, meaning that companies located in these hotbeds must explore creative alternatives to the finite resource of local talent.
When it comes down to it, remote employment opportunities are a win-win for both parties. Companies get access to the top talent available while saving on various on-site costs. It also gives companies in less populated areas like Oshkosh, WI or Grand Rapids, MI access to specialized remote talent that would’ve been previously unavailable to them, putting them on par with competitors in major tech talent hotspots like Silicon Valley. Additionally, remote tech experts get to work when and where they want rather than in places like Silicon Valley or NYC where cost of living continues to rise. Another bonus of remote work: eliminating the challenge of commuting.
Remote policies also result in better work. According to Gallup's report, employees across various industries who spent 60 to 80 percent of their time working remotely had the highest rates of engagement. As execs become more comfortable with the idea that work is fluid and can happen anywhere at any time, they come to realize that simply having a body to fill a seat is no longer worth the expense, nor is it effective in accomplishing big picture goals.
But is Remote the Best Option?
In 2016, 57 percent of employees working in computer/information systems spent some of their time working remotely, according to a report on workplace findings by Gallup. But is expanding remote work options your company’s only choice to net top tech/IT talent and drive innovation in the future? Not everyone is sold.
IBM, one of the first major companies to embrace remote work policies back in the 1980s, has recently announced the end of its remote work flexibility. Its reasoning is that in-person interaction between employees breeds more innovation and creativity. After 19 consecutive quarters of declining sales, innovation is deemed critical to the massive organization’s future success. While studies have shown that remote workers are more productive and work longer than on-site employees, IBM needs innovation and cost savings by downsizing to co-locations more than it needs productive employees. Yahoo, Reddit and Best Buy have also done away with remote work options in recent years in an effort to reap the benefits that having employees on-site can provide over those offered through remote policies.
While it’s undeniable that demand for remote work flexibility from high-end IT and tech talent is on the rise, figuring out the most important business contributions of your employees is key to identifying whether remote work options are best for your company.
If productivity, employee retention and work-life balance are vital to the culture and function of your business, experimenting with remote work flexibility results in a variety of benefits. On the flip side, if innovation, on-site company culture, and face-to-face time are key, then remote work might not align best with your business goals. Regardless, it’s important to be aware that removing all remote work flexibility will limit your ability to attract and hire high-end tech talent now and even more so in the years to come.
About the Author
Gianna Scorsone serves as the Sr. VP of Marketing and Sales Operations for Mondo, the largest national staffing agency specializing exclusively in high-end, niche IT, Tech and Digital Marketing talent. Gianna guides the evolution of the sales strategy through analytics and current trends, as a result of the convergence between sales and marketing alignment. She also oversees the company’s marketing strategy, including lead generation, marketing automation and content marketing. She has more than 17 years of sales management and marketing experience.
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