As the Covid-19 pandemic surges across global societies, laying waste to economies and ‘old ways’ of doing business, vast swathes of companies are being kept alive by people working from home.
The pandemic has shown that thanks to our current digital capabilities, the working lives of a huge number of people are changing in ways that will alter the social and economic landscape of the world permanently.
Hundreds of thousands of Irish people now work remotely. It’s the highest number in history and one that is only projected to grow exponentially over the next few years.
When this pandemic ends, companies will take a long hard look at the benefits of ‘remote working’.
Remote working means that the ways in which workers are employed and make money have no connection to a physical workspace and that these activities can be conducted anywhere on earth, usually online. Remote working encompasses many different kinds of economic activity, kinds that are set to become ever more frequent and widespread over the next decade. Let’s take a look at what this actually means and what kind of ways people will be making money in the future.
For the vast majority of remote workers in the modern economy, their work will be primarily freelance. This means that they will be selling their skills to various different companies, either via their own marketing efforts or through an agency of some sorts, the latter of which is by far the most common way for freelancers to operate.
Freelance workers dominate a number of emerging sectors, particularly in the creative arts and technology industries. In Ireland, freelancers generally consist of programmers, content creators, designers, consultants, IT specialists and writers. They will do much of their work for whichever companies pay for their services online or over the phone, rarely – if ever – coming into contact with who is paying them.
The real ‘Make money from home’
While “remote working” may conjure up images of tanned and laid back millennials sunning it on the beach, laptop in one hand and a mojito in the other, the reality tends to be less glamorous. Most remote workers simply make their money from home or from trendy “co-working” spaces which have sprung up all over Dublin and Cork in the last few years.
People who work from home can be linked to pretty much every industry imaginable. For example, even online casinos employ remote workers at various levels within their industry model. Leading platforms like Mr. Green Casino offer customer support through a live chat feature. Such features are often run by live chat experts simply working from the comfort of their homes rather than in a call centre. Likewise, software companies providing dedicated tech support, such as the IT giant IBM, allow their experts to assist clients from their laptop, meaning that person assisting you with a faulty laptop may very well be doing so from a co-working space in Dublin’s Silicon Docks.
How will this shape industries in the future?
While the majority of remote working is confined to the few industries described above, this is changing fast and will soon alter every aspect of economic life. Even the design and construction of manufactured goods such as cars and industrial machinery is relying more on remote workers, who can offer their services at a greater level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness than a traditional employee would be able to.
The impact of all of this on society will doubtless be enormous – hopefully for the better.