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The future of work involves a large proportion of remote workers and freelancers. Though the practice of employing freelancers has been in vogue for a long time, they have always comprised a small percentage of the workforce. In the future of work, the non-permanent workers appear to overwhelm the permanent staff.
Flexible timings, connectivity, technology, varied expectations and aspirations have all combined together to make working out of the home a feasible option. Consequently, HR is comfortable with employing freelancers and remote workers. Over the last few years, across the working world there has been a tremendous increase in the numbers who telecommute.
HR is thus adjusting its philosophy and perspective in order to cope with the changing nature of the workforce, and include freelancers and remote workers as a part of the organization’s extended workforce.
Value of remote workers
Companies have begun to realize the value of having employees work from home or from a remote location. Earlier fears of low efficiency and low productivity from off-site workers have proved groundless. Companies now recognise the benefits to both – the organization and the individual – when employees work from home. As a result, this is now being seen as an acceptable way of working. Especially when in many cases productivity is higher for remote workers than for those located on company premises.
In the future of work, employees no longer have to be seen sitting at their assigned desks or clock in the requisite number of hours. As long as they deliver results nobody questions them on how many hours they have put in or whether they were present at their work station. Face-to-face interactions are still as important part of evaluation but companies are shifting their stance and modifying their management techniques in order to accommodate remote workers. This is for regular updates on work, meetings, feedback and discussions and also for evaluation of performance. Thus company personnel become more proactive and communicative so as to keep remote workers engaged and in the loop.
Right people for each project
With the proliferation of freelancers, companies take on people for projects or specific assignments. This gives them the advantage of getting the right people for each project; at the same time freelancers have the flexibility to work on a range of assignments across companies. This system works out cheaper for the organization since they don’t take on the load of a permanent worker and it helps them expand their network of contacts and build their businesses.
It also puts more money into the pockets of freelancers who can take on a lot more than can permanent employees. And there are even instances where full time workers make a bit on the side by opting for freelance work over and above their normal jobs.
Work at all hours of the day
Technological advances have empowered freelancers and remote workers who say they find themselves being more productive than if they were tied to single jobs. Internet, emails, mobile and smartphones increase their connectivity and allow them to work at all hours of the day. This enhances their work output besides being more productive for the organization they are working for.
The future of work is basically redefining the concept of an office. It is no longer a brick and mortar building, assigned work-station and fixed working hours. Rather it is where workers are most comfortable and where they feel they can work better without indulging in office politics or being interrupted by colleagues.