Remote workers opt for email, phone

by L&D11 Nov 2016
A new study from the United States has found that despite significant technological advances and a continual rollout of new products, remote and mobile workers still rely predominantly on email and phone.
The survey was conducted by West Unified Communications, who gained responses from 300 remote workers. Among the findings was that 75 per cent of respondents rely on both phone and email. In comparison, 32 per cent use instant message apps such as Slack and Yammer, 31 per cent use video conferencing, 28 per cent use web conferencing and 19 per cent utilise collaboration apps (Dropbox, Flow, Salesforce).
A perhaps surprising finding from the research was that Generation X members of the mobile workforce use more collaboration apps than their Millennial counterparts. Of Generation X workers, 25 per cent relied on collaboration apps, compared to 18 per cent and 10 per cent for Millennials and Baby Boomers respectively.
A further notable finding was that more than a quarter of those who work remotely 'feel the distance' between themselves and other employees and supervisors, and had experienced miscommunications as a result. In particular, 31 per cent of Millennials felt this disconnect, compared with 20 per cent of Baby Boomers.
The research also gathered information on the reasons for employees opting to work remotely. The chief reason was a sick child, with 35 per cent pointing to this, following by transportation issues (34 per cent), a wish to avoid long commutes (30 per cent), improving productivity (30 per cent) and a wish to avoid the distractions of an office environment (28 per cent).
Remote workers have not turned their backs on the office environment entirely, however, with 47 per cent of those surveyed saying they actually prefer working in an office and only work remotely for some of the time. One of the concerns voiced, particularly by Millennials, was that if a boss isn't present to witness good work, it could hold the worker back from promotions and career opportunities. Perhaps because of this fear, no less than 60 per cent of respondents interact with supervisors in a 'direct and transparent' way on a daily basis.