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Op-Ed: Has technology made work-from-home the new trend for businesses?

By Jenna Cyprus     Apr 8, 2014 in Technology
More and more businesses are offering telecommuting possibilities for a wide range of positions, and it’s saving both employers and employees money and time. Technology and the rising mobile trend are driving this paradigm shift.
With the rise of the mobile trend and supporting productivity apps, business owners and HR managers are facing an influx of more job applicants asking about telecommuting options or “virtual workspaces.” Out-of-town applicants are probably not planning to move to be close to a company’s office, but it’s a good bet that they’re counting on a telecommuting option, and with good reason. More and more businesses are offering telecommuting possibilities for a wide range of positions, and it’s saving both employers and employees money and time. Technology and the rising mobile trend are driving this paradigm shift.
Job seekers are filtering searches to prioritize telecommuting positions. Regardless of whether your job is to answer client calls or if you’re a freelance yoga teacher or writer, employees and employers are figuring out that many jobs don’t need to be performed in an office. After all, with quality video conferencing technology widely available, digital face-to-face meetings can take place anytime and anywhere.
Now trending
Don’t let the Yahoo! recall on telecommuting fool you; this trend is here to stay. As mobile technology makes it easier and more cost-effective to have employees work from home, almost every industry is dabbling in it, and more are getting hooked by the day. Let’s say you operate a retail store with an online shop. The vast majority of your employees can probably work from home whether they’re maintaining the website, at the receiving end of customer calls, or managing the events and social media aspects of the company. The only workers who need to leave their home to perform their responsibilities are those shipping the items or selling items in-store (assuming you even have a brick and mortar operation).
The same kind of situation can be found in many industries, and even schools are getting into the virtual world. There are full-fledged and very reputable classrooms that let more students pursue passions while getting more time with teachers. Technology hasn’t just changed the way people socialize, date and shop but also how people work. Why still go to the physical office every day, when you can do everything else online?
Budget cuts
Every business is interested in saving money; telecommuting can shave a big chunk off the bottom line. Companies are learning that they can seriously decrease overhead, and may even be able to pay workers less because they’re getting the benefit of working from home, which saves them time, gas money, and the frustration of a daily rush-hour commute. How much companies can save on overhead depends on unique circumstances, but in some cases, it can be thousands or even millions per year.
Additionally, it’s becoming more necessary to compete for talent in the digital world; ensuring employees are not only happy, but are tech-savvy can pay off handsomely. For example, if a business has a client in Japan who wants a video conference and that’s something an employee is comfortable doing, that expertise with this technology will pay off. It’s not just about saving money, but also keeping up with the changing technology to accommodate customers’ needs.
A greener company
This “trend” of telecommuting also pairs up nicely with the trend of a greener lifestyle overall. Reduced overhead can help lighten a company’s carbon footprint, and not requiring employees to commute daily can also help the environment by decreasing CO2 emissions. Add in the eco-benefits of things like cloud digital document storage instead of printed paper copies, and it’s easy to see how a company can go green while making employees happier, saving more money, and increasing productivity. There are more ways to green up than just kickstarting a company recycling program.
Some trends stay because they’re beneficial, easy, and don’t have too tough of a learning curve. When it comes to working from home, technology will only continue to make things simpler. This can be challenging for some old-school employers to embrace, but Millennials are taking telecommuting by storm. As the biggest niche of job seekers, the pressure to offer virtual environments will only grow stronger. By embracing technology and how it can save money, companies can make employees happier and ultimately lead to a healthier eco-system. It’s no surprise that working from home will soon be the new standard; it’s about time.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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