The benefits of remote work for employees are numerous:
Less commute time:
- Fewer costs (transportation and food)
- More free time
- Less work-related frustration
- Higher level of job satisfaction, etc.
Also, there are plenty of advantages of remote work for employers, too:
- Decreased operational costs
- Lower carbon footprint
- Better access to applicants
- Higher employee productivity
- Increased staff retention, etc.
But how has the concept evolved and changed over time?
The History of Remote Work
There was a time when working from home wasn’t closely connected to remote PC monitoring software.
You’re right, it was before computers as we know them today even existed!
The period after WW2 saw a significant change in the corporate and office working environment. The popularization of high-end office buildings was at its highest, especially in the big cities destroyed by the war, which were just being built back up again.
Moreover, at this time, the role of female workers was more intensified - both in number and position significance.
However, something was bound to disrupt the Mad-Men-esque idyll of the period - and that something was long commute times.
Before the business world started worrying about finding the best remote monitoring software, it had gridlocks and air pollution to deal with. Even before the concept of remote work existed as such, the clean air movement laid the groundwork for it in the ‘70s by stating its principal advantage - zero commute time.
In 1973, NASA physicist Jack M. Nilles published The Telecommunications-Transportation Tradeoff, a ground-breaking piece of scientific research that we can now reference as the beginning of telecommuting and remote work.
Here he stated that cities growing and the depletion of non-renewable resources will inevitably lead to a change in the way Americans work in order to avoid performance degradation and productivity monitoring inaccessibility. This, of course, included a necessity for big management and corporate culture changes, together with fewer greenhouse gas emissions caused by fewer miles traveled.
Only two years later - in 1975 - we saw the first personal computers being introduced to the world, and right in the middle of the OPEC oil embargo, too. Despite the general hostility towards working from home from the business world, during this period, the press started to publish favorable articles backed up by the argument that working from home saves gasoline.
While remote work monitoring software was non-existent at the time, towards the end of the ‘70s, we had the chance to see the first instances of corporations sending their employees to work from home, even if partially. In just several years' time, a large chunk of the collective was sanctioned to work remotely. The concept itself appeared to be gaining in popularity and support - even without access to productivity monitoring software.
In 1983, the world saw the beginning of the Internet and, with it, a new way of working in a nine-to-five job. A novel technology was there to provide a work-from-home environment and different means of performing professional duties.
In these two ground-breaking technologies - personal computers and the Internet - we now recognize the concept of working from home - or anywhere, really - and the ability to monitor PCs remotely.
Even then, when it was a big unknown, people were attracted to making money in unconventional ways. The Internet allowed people with skills and technical possibilities to make money for small jobs - selling things, writing, designing, etc. As the market grew, so did the Internet.
In the early ‘90s, WiFi was invented. This gave even more possibilities to people keen on working independently from the office - whether that was as full-time employees or freelancers. However, the concern about how to monitor remote employees stayed - and maybe even increased now that they could truly work from anywhere.
Nevertheless, most companies still cared more about urgent work being done on time, so the freedom to work from home on a sick day, for example, was slowly becoming the practice.
By the mid-nineties, it would also become the norm for US federal workers, when in 1995, Congress approved permanent funding for work-related equipment - to create “flexiplace” in their homes.
In the next decade, there was still no remote work monitoring software in sight, but official telecommuting policies were being established in federal agencies, under the condition that it didn’t affect their working performance.
We soon saw the first examples of co-working spaces and enterprise networking tools, as well as corporations making a sharp shift to employing remote workers, rather than hiring freelancers for their needs.
Modern Remote Work
The transition to remote work as we know it today was the result of a workforce revolution. For many, remote working and freelancing are the closest they’ll ever get to a nine-to-five job.
This also means that companies have to resort to using remote PC monitoring software or software to monitor users' internet activity to ensure optimal productivity and prevent time theft from these workers as well.
Even those that want to work free of office space constraints, strict company policies, and managerial guidelines, are covered by this practice - and many welcome it.
They have largely found this type of software to increase their productivity, and use only legal services and tools for completing work tasks, and even elevate their communication skills with the rest of those involved in the project.
They don’t see it as a remote spy monitoring software - they regard it as a tool that promotes fair work and provides a means of objective financial compensation in terms of invested time, efforts, and provided quality.
It’s no wonder remote work is becoming increasingly popular - the pros are clearly outweighing the cons. Over half of the entire world workforce is continually performing their work assignments from outside the office, and the number is only growing with the health restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has made even the biggest companies rethink their company policies in this sense - in part because of their access to quality remote work monitoring software.
So what are some of the trends and challenges of the modern remote workforce?
The Rise of Digital Collaboration Tools
Along with the widespread popularity of remote work, digital collaboration tools have experienced a parallel ascent to popularity.
The more teams are fragmented around the world, the higher the demand for digital collaboration tools to bridge the gap between team members. These tools ensure that communication ties aren’t severed, and that effective cross-functional collaboration is still possible in a remote work environment.
Some tools have become so popular they’re part of the common vernacular these days, such as Zoom and Slack.
Global Talent Pool
Another byproduct of the increase in remote workforces is an increasingly global talent pool.
Now that many companies aren’t geographically restricted when they hire, they can look abroad for top candidates. As such, many remote workforces comprise employees from around the world, and companies have a much deeper talent pool to draw from.
With the global talent pool also comes a significant challenge though - juggling time zones.
Coordinating when you have team members in London, Tokyo, and New York can be exceptionally difficult and can bring about many logistical issues as a result.
The rise of asynchronous communication tools has somewhat offset this challenge, and different time zones are no longer considered such a big problem.
The Dark Side of Remote Work
While remote work has been beneficial for many employees and employers, it has also given rise to new challenges.
For example, many employees now feel isolated as they no longer have a shared workspace where they can chat with their coworkers. As a result, burnout seems to be on the rise, and employee disengagement can also be common.
While this is still a very real challenge today, many companies have tried to mitigate this dark side of remote work through:
- Creating collaborative remote work environments
- Providing Zoom calls for coworkers to chat
- Encouraging communication in teams
Remote is Here to Stay
It seems that remote work has a short history, but intends to stay for a long, long time. While there are issues each company can expect to face when transitioning from an in-office to a remote working environment, plenty of those can be solved by using a tool like Insightful.
Updated on October 6th 2023