“Inexorable” Trend Toward Remote Work

(p. B1) When Dell recently surveyed its 110,000 employees about their work habits, it discovered something surprising: While only 17% of Dell’s employees were formally authorized to work wherever they prefer, 58% were already working remotely at least one day a week. That’s good news, says Steve Price, chief human resources officer at Dell. In 2013, the company had said it wanted half its employees to work remotely for at least part of their week… by 2020.
. . .
. . . , data indicates that the remote-work trend in the U.S. labor force is inexorable, aided by ever-better tools for getting work done anywhere. Surveys done by Gallup indicate that in 2016, the proportion of Americans who did some or all of their work from home was 43%, up from 39% in 2012. Over the same period, the proportion who only work remotely went to 20% from 15%. Amazon.com , American Express , UnitedHealth Group , and Salesforce.com allow employees to work remotely at least some of the time.
. . .
(p. B4) . . . nearly every company that employs knowledge workers is still learning which jobs can best be done remotely, as the tools to accomplish remote work become increasingly powerful.
. . .
To understand the issues, it’s helpful to look at a company that has always been almost entirely remote. Automattic, maker of WordPress, the content-management system that powers 28% of all websites, has 558 employees spread across more than 50 countries, up from 302 in December 2014.
. . .
With teams that may be spread across a dozen time zones, Automattic relies on Slack for synchronous communication, Zoom for weekly video conferences and its own internal system of threaded conversations for documenting everyone’s work and for major decisions.

For the full commentary, see:
Christopher Mims. “More Workers Have Out-of-Office Experience.” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., June 5, 2017): B1 & B4.
(Note: ellipsis inside the first quoted paragraph, in original; other ellipses, added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date June 4, 2017, and has the title “Why Remote Work Can’t Be Stopped.”)

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