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With no boss physically present to check whether tasks are completed, companies want self-starters who need minimal supervision, don't mind spending a lot of their workday alone and are comfortable using video calls, chat rooms, email and other technology to stay connected.
MAKING A REMOTE JOB WORK Chris Dyer, People G2's founder and chief executive, initially made the switch because his expanding workforce was bursting out of the company's existing office space, but also to weather financial pressures caused by the recession.
As companies add more full-time remote staff or go 100 percent virtual, it's creating opportunities for job seekers who previously may have passed on applying for positions because distance, physical disabilities or family challenges made it impossible to work an office-based 9-to-5 shift.
Tina Kalogeropoulos was more than a little apprehensive about plans her boss at People G2 had to switch from operating the business from a physical office to running a near-virtual enterprise in which almost everyone worked from home.
“I couldn't fathom how it would work,” says Kalogeropoulos, a research manager at People G2, which conducts employment and other background checks.
Coworkers got better at communicating because they have to make a concerted effort to stay connected, she says. “I feel like I get so much more work done, there are so many less distractions,” she says. employees work from home, not including the self-employed, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
“I also feel a greater sense of personal responsibility.” As the world of work evolves and companies downsize office space, send staff to home offices or operate as virtual enterprises, more people are clocking in as full-time, remote-based employees. The San Diego workplace researcher expects that number to jump 21 percent by 2016.
The rest of the staff of 24 researchers, sales and customer service reps, and administrative personnel works remotely.