70% of workers say that remote working would give a new job more appeal. For employers, especially those seeking talent from a limited pool, finding ways to offer flexible working structures is going to be vital.
1.5 million people already work remotely in the UK and industries that have adopted remote working are making these gains:
- Top talent is becoming easier to attract,
- They are retaining top team members for longer and
- They are discovering innovative working methods
So which industries are they?
1. Medical and health-related
In the USA, this is the field with the greatest number of remote working jobs. While, in the UK, you might think that the monolith of the NHS is a ‘hands on’ employer, not only does it advertise a range of remote working roles. Also The Priory Group, Europe’s biggest provider of acute mental health treatment services (especially addiction rehabilitation), now has a slew of remote working options available.
Surprised? Many people think that construction is just about as hands on a job as you could find, but management offices are being established around the world to offer remote working for overseers. In preparation for the 2013 Olympics, O2 gave their entire office workforce one day a week to work from wherever they wanted – the result was that 36% of them felt they were more productive.
3. Charitable Sector
Charities have been under the cosh recently and need to maintain services without increasing costs. The National Trust is one organisation that has mastered remote working as has the Red Cross.
4. Think Tanks
From Demos to The Adam Smith Institute, it’s not as surprising that organisations meant to be at the vanguard of thought have embraced remote working. Nesta, the innovation foundation, aims to offer remote working at every level.
5. Customer Service
Again, no surprise here – whether it’s answering customer calls, or sending out follow up emails to clients, this is an area where remote working has become the norm.
6. Administrative work
Virtual PAs, remote office managers or offsite business development specialists … they’re all roles where remote workers have become ever-present. It’s the easiest field in which to launch into remote working and many organisations now begin their remote operations with administrative outsourcing.
Salespeople are target driven and often work flexible hours to achieve their goals. Remote working (often interspersed with periods of intense in-house training) gives sales personnel the ability to manage their own time to best advantage. Employers like American Express use remote working to create virtual teams that are fronted by sales consultants who also work remotely.
8. Computing and IT
Naturally, this field offers great scope for remote working. Not only is the industry built on innovations that allow remote work to flourish, but this sector has always sought to create teams with the widest possible diversity to encourage new developments.
Online classrooms and virtual lectures are now sophisticated and compelling. But it’s not only lecturers who can work remotely – curriculum developers often create courses entirely remotely too. The Royal Academy regularly offers remote positions.
10. Accounting and finance
Telecommuting is a natural outgrowth of the finance and accounting sector, not least because finance has always been at the forefront of using communication technology to client benefit.
So there you have it, 10 industries embracing remote working to their benefit. There’s no doubt that, with the advances in IT cloud solutions and internet connectivity, there will be many more to follow.