How Remote Work Can Improve the Economy and the Nation

How Remote Work Can Improve the Economy and the Nation

Op-Ed: How working remotely can bring workers closer together

The American Society of Engineering Leadership in November 2013 voted in favor of a resolution supporting the use of remote work to help improve the lives of America’s working families. In this op-ed, the authors explore how remote work can be an economic and social boost for our nation.

Remote work is nothing new to our nation. The American Society of Engineering Leadership (ASEL) recently voted in favor of a resolution endorsing “the use of remote work, in the form of work from home, as a way to increase employee flexibility and promote the economic health of companies and the nation.”1 The resolution cited data suggesting that “about three in 10 jobs in 2013 employ people who work remotely” as well as data showing that “over 15 percent of the workers in America who work remotely are women.”2

“The use of remote work is growing,” said ASEL President Brian G. Laidlaw, “and we should welcome it.”

Remote work brings together employees around different issues like culture and workplace practices, which have a profound impact on employee engagement, job satisfaction, learning, retention and productivity. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center report, “more and more companies are choosing to conduct their work in a virtual environment because it makes it easier to deliver good service.”3 Additionally, a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that a third of the U.S. population now considers working from home to be part of the job itself.4 Remote work has become a legitimate option in the workplace with its flexibility, decreased travel costs, and cost-savings in the form of less time needed to commute or for personal expenses.4

Remote work also improves the effectiveness of teams. It’s been proven to increase communication, collaboration, and problem-solving.5 Companies that implement remote work are seeing improvements in employee performance and job satisfaction.6,7

Studies such as these indicate that remote work is a boon for employers, employees, and society. It will undoubtedly bring economic prosperity and jobs on multiple fronts.

But what are the costs? In our view, the most direct costs are in the form of fewer paychecks and reduced health care benefits for employees. Companies have seen declines in their worker’s salaries as a result of the “leaner” companies

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