Why Distributed Work is the Future of the Workforce

The growing popularity of a distributed workforce is happening organically and pushing organizations globally to adopt a new flexible work model. This means enterprise companies can easily find a bigger pool of qualified talent from all over the world as well as stay competitive by having a foothold in remote markets by employing local talent. Work flexibility, better productivity, global coverage, and a diverse workforce makes distributed work one of the best business models a growing company can implement.

However, the concept of working remotely or teleworking is not new. Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s as people started to own personal computers and have access to the internet at home, remote work became a viable alternative to being in the office. As personal computing technology improved, internet speeds got faster and Wi-Fi became more accessible, employees realized they could effectively perform their job duties outside the office — so long as their employers allowed it.

More recently, advancements in cloud-based productivity tools, video conferencing and powerful collaboration apps have made the popularity of distributed work explode. In fact, studies show that by 2025 remote work will equal or surpass traditional fixed office work. The remote-work phenomenon is being driven by several trends:

The globalization of business necessitates distributed work. According to the University of London, international business travel increased by 25% between 2013 and 2018. To better accommodate global business needs, companies are investing in new methods of communication to bolster internal collaboration and enhance the customer experience. Company culture and collaboration have moved outside the boundaries of a physical location and now happen virtually through digital communication tools like chat apps and face-to-face video conferencing.

Enterprise Remote Working Statistics

  1. Companies are leveraging distributed teams to address talent shortages. By supporting remote work arrangements, companies can now hire the absolute best talent for any given role, regardless of their physical location.
  2. Younger employees expect employers to support evolving work preferences. Much has been written about the impact of millennials and Gen Z employees entering the workforce. Research consistently shows that younger employees prefer to work from wherever they are most comfortable and productive. As a result, employers are evolving remote-work policies to accommodate different methods of collaboration.
  3. Younger employees expect employers to support evolving work preferences. Much has been written about the impact of millennials and Gen Z employees entering the workforce. Research consistently shows that younger employees prefer to work from wherever they are most comfortable and productive. As a result, employers are evolving remote-work policies to accommodate different methods of collaboration.

Enterprise Remote Working Statistics

The Advantages of a Distributed Workforce

Access to global talent

Perhaps the greatest benefit of having a distributed workforce is the ability for enterprise companies to find and employ the absolute best talent from all over the world. This means organizations are not limited to only hiring local candidates who live within commuting distance from their office. Distance and geographic boundaries no longer matter. Instead, organizations have access to a massive pool of qualified and skilled workers from all regions of the world.

Boost innovation

Distributed teams open the door for talent from all different backgrounds, knowledge and experiences, which brings different ideas and ways of thinking to the table. By employing individuals who do not look, talk or think like the rest of your team, you can avoid the costly pitfalls of conformity, which discourages innovative thinking.  In fact, a McKinsey and Company study found that companies that have higher ethnic and racial diversity did better than the industry mean, with a 35% increase in financial performance.

Drive employee productivity

Allowing your team members to have a flexible schedule and work from wherever they are most comfortable helps drive productivity. A two-year study by Stanford showed there’s an astonishing boost in productivity when employees work remotely. It turns out that remote employees take shorter breaks, have fewer sick days and take less time off. In fact, on average remote workers complete nearly a full day of extra work every week compared to colleagues who work exclusively in the office.

Better coverage

Having a distributed team spread across multiple regions and time zones gives companies better global coverage. Remote offices and team members who work in various strategic locations allow enterprise companies to have a local presence in that region — employees who know the local language, culture and customs. This is invaluable for a company that is trying to make an impact in that location. Additionally, by employing individuals from different time zones, companies can easily provide services 24 hours a day globally and teams can work on projects around the clock for faster completion.

Provides headcount affordably

Although cost-saving is not the only reason to have a distributed workforce, it is an added benefit. For companies with corporate offices in large metropolitan areas, expanding your physical office space to accommodate your growing headcount may be costly. Instead, you can hire remote employees without additional office space rent, furniture, electricity, food and beverage costs, and other expenses. Opening additional smaller offices in less expensive regions or renting space at coworker centers may provide additional cost savings. You can also find high-quality talent in certain regions of the world who are willing to work for a fraction of the cost as their North American colleagues.