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The professional landscape was very different back in 1995. At that time, BlackBerry hadn’t launched its first smart device, just 14% of American adults used the Internet and 1 out of every 10 employees worked from home. In fact, some of America’s largest workforce population–millennials–weren’t even born yet.
Twenty years later, smartphones launched with stylus pens and multi-core processors, Internet use grew 6x over, and nearly 4 out of every 10employees worked from home. Also, according to a Flex + Strategy Group survey conducted during the previous year, 35% of the employees who worked remotely were millennials.
As the professional landscape continues to evolve, both today’s young professionals–and their employers–recognize telecommuting advantages. For example, 38% of millennials freelance, more than any other generation. With unpredictable interruptions, office politics and frequent idle chatting, a remote location tends to distract employees less than a traditional office environment. Happy employees hit their stride in a comfortable work environment, and only 7% of workers say they are most productive in an office.
Employers also prosper from increased productivity and a much larger talent pool, regardless of geography. Rukma Sen, Head of Content and Media Relations at Crossover for Work, considers this attribute the biggest, most liberating benefit of a remote workforce.
Yet, while 65% of workers think they would be more productive telecommuting than working in a traditional workplace, working from home actually requires a distinct skill set (such as the ability to self-manage, work independently, and stay focused amid distractions). Transparent employers frequently include these personality traits in remote job postings, however some companies do not mention millennial professionals should also feel comfortable solving for the following issues that arise:
In Brie Reynolds’ (Senior Career Specialist at FlexJobs andRemote.co) conversations with remote workers, many cite overwork as their development area of opportunity. When employees live and work in the same area, distinguishing between when personal time begins and work time ends can be difficult. Setting office hours and communicating those hours with roommates and family holds remote workers accountable to their schedule. Overwork may seem advantageous to the employer, over time it ultimately leads to an overworked, non-engaged employee. Home offices or offsite locations should be quiet spaces, with environments encouraging productivity.