With the evolution and availability of technology, the economy is opening up on a global scale. As the way we do work changes with technology, so does the workplace. While some companies have reversed their telecommute policy, others thrive on distant work. Read more for the state of remote work in 2018, and advice for successful telecommuting options.

Remote Work is a Growing Trend

According to a 2016 Gallup poll, 37% of employees would change jobs to have the ability to work where they want at least part of the time. Companies are catching up with this shifting paradigm with 43% of employees working away from their team members at least part of the time, up from 39% in 2012.

Over 50% of employees say that work-life balance is a high priority, ranking highly when considering a new job. The same percentage say they would change jobs for one that offered more flextime.  It’s clear that remote work is a growing trend.

Advancements in technology and the increasing buy-in from businesses across the U.S. and globally to use these advanced technologies has lent itself to this remote-work trend. With video conferencing and online project management software making great improvements and growing in popularity in recent years, it’s becoming very easy for teams to work remotely.

In a survey conducted by Zinc, mobile workers will account for nearly three-quarters of the U.S. workforce by 2020. Remote work is here to stay and is a growing trend not to be ignored.

Is Remote Work Right for You?

It’s nice to dream, right? But, remote work isn’t cut out for every industry or workplace. To decide if the switch to going mobile is right for your business, we’ve listed the latest facts, pointing out the pros and cons of each decision.

“The finance, insurance and real estate industries experienced the greatest surge in time spent working remotely, followed by the transportation, manufacturing or construction, and retail industries,” the 2016 Gallup report finds. Across most industries, remote work is on the rise.

Gallup chart for remote work

Image source: Gallup

While this workplace trend is on the rise, other companies are scaling back their remote-work options. Citing lack of engagement, organization, and collaboration, several large-name companies have reduced or discontinued their work-from-home programs. Gallup finds employees who spend 60% to 80% of their time working off-site are the most engaged. These employees are more likely to agree that they make more progress in their workday. Interestingly, fully remote workers are more likely than nonremote employees to agree they have the equipment to do their work right, have the opportunity to do what they do best every day, and their opinions count at work.

Related: 4 Tips to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Communication is Key

To manage a successful remote-work program, you need the programs and systems in place to provide structure and optimal communication.

“Ongoing communication can help establish an environment of trust and accountability while still giving remote employees a feeling of independence,” according to Gallup.

The most important tool for managing remote workers is technology. Since communication is necessary, establish official lines of communicating – from chat, email, and video conferencing. Develop methods for employees to touch base with you in various forms, from less urgent messages in email, to time-sensitive connections via text or messenger. Be sure your remote employees have the necessary means of contacting you and other team members.

technology will help with remote work

Technology to the Rescue

Other valuable technological tools include online project management programs. Collaboration is much easier when you can assign, track, and review progress of projects in one place online. Also, providing a central source for necessary resources is essential. These tools will cut down on the back and forth and confusing email chains.

“Meet” regularly, whether with a face-to-face meeting or video conference. Touching base with your employees will help keep them engaged and strengthen the bond they feel with the team. Through regular meetings, check progress on projects, inquire if they have any needs or questions, and take time to get to know your employee as a person. Then, let your remote employee know how their work is contributing to the goals of the company.

“No one wants to be a cog in the wheel of an organization – no matter how much flexibility they have,” according to Daniel Newman, CEO of Broadsuite Media Group.

While remote work is not possible for every industry, the numbers prove that it’s a trend that can’t be ignored. Consider if this option is possible for your business and take the steps to offer the best work-life balance for your employees with a successful remote work program.