There are plenty of remote work evangelists these days—and a plethora of companies that have cropped up to serve this ever-growing workforce demographic. Yet some cultures have embraced the shift more than others; as mentioned in a previous post, several political, technological, and economic factors have contributed to the rise of remote work in a variety of regions.
Cultural attitudes continue to play a very significant role in the rise of remote work. From that perspective, here’s what makes remote work appealing (or not) in several countries around the world:
Combatting the rise of the machines.
In the Philippines, working from home is getting government support due to concerns about AI eventually displacing lower-skilled workers’ jobs; on the plus side, it enables parents to have more time with their kids while curbing commuter traffic. Bosses continue to be skeptical of remote work, however, as a recent survey demonstrated that only 9% were willing to let employees work from home for an entire week.
Where startups gather, coworking follows.
Shanghai, China, recently played host to the GCUC conference, one of the remote work conferences worth attending globally, where China’s booming startup sector has taken coworking to another level. Coworking spaces are now incorporated into hotels, and some are even offering niche services and layouts, such as performance and recording spaces for musicians. Remote work is seen as a huge opportunity here.
Easing into remote work: a business model for the 21st century.
In Nigeria, a gradual shift toward working remotely has been embraced by some larger companies. Easing into the arrangement has proven helpful for employees and customers alike, who have had to adjust to a changing dynamic. Smaller companies are still finding difficulty in gaining clients’ trust, however, without a brick-and-mortar office to demonstrate their legitimacy.
Supporting the gig economy in offices.
While there are plenty of coworking spaces to accommodate location-independent workers in the Startup Nation, Israeli companies have yet to embrace remote work. Although individuals can land jobs and work from anywhere, a strong cultural emphasis on meeting face-to-face prevents local teams from offering full-time virtual work. Ironically, Tel Aviv is home to global online freelancer marketplace Fiverr, where the gig economy is thriving—but the company’s own employees work onsite in the company’s 38,000 square foot office.
Work to live, not live to work.
Remote work isn’t only about greater productivity. In Spain, the general attitude toward work has lent itself a healthy work-life balance for as long as its citizens can remember. (Where else can you find professionals encouraged to break for naps in the afternoon?) As such, remote work fits into the local ethos perfectly, and some co-living companies like Sun & Co are betting on the increase in remote workers traveling to this sunny destination.
Out of office—permanently.
In the U.S., many workers are seeking flexible and remote work arrangements. Here, an increasing number of professionals consider home to be their workplace—whether their employers are major corporations, nonprofit organizations, or distributed startups. According to recent data analysis from FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, 40% more U.S. employers are offering flexible workplace options now than they did in 2010. On average, they’re saving $11,000 per half-time remote employee.
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