Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Market for Remote Workers to Double by 2015, Says Ovum Report

July 16, 2012

While telecommuting and remote worker practices are still viewed with skepticism by many companies, others have come to realize the value of having their employees stay home, yet still work.

Sufficient remote workers have come to the realization that, according to a report from Ovum, the market for "outsourced home agents" will swell to twice its current numbers by 2015. Of course, there are still challenges involved with this market, and the Ovum report spells those out too.

The market for remote workers is rapidly swelling, and for several reasons. While the United States is leading the trend, the rest of the world is also looking to get involved, sparking subsequent growth. The number of agents working at least 20 hours a week, based on the Ovum report, will hit around 130,000 total over the course of the next four years, and while the United States will be leading the way on that front, with around 88 percent of the total, English speaking countries will also get a taste of the market – with many looking to Australia for its similarities to the United States in work and overall economic culture.

Recent advancements in security, project management and team building have also removed many enterprises' concerns about using remote workers, but the market is projected to maintain its niche until further advancements can be made. The biggest impediment to using remote workers is data security, as allowing users who aren't physically in the building to access data – especially sensitive customer data and trade secrets – poses a risk of unauthorized users using those channels to gain access.

Some businesses are equally concerned about supervising those remote workers, as well as properly integrating them with the corporate culture, and will require further evidence of advancement on those fronts before going to remote workers.

As for the sectors most likely to see gains, customer care will see the biggest, offering nearly half of those gains on its own. But technical support will weigh in heavily with around a quarter, and roughly 32 percent will come from communications and media-related applications.

The use of remote workers offers, in and of itself, delivers a lot of benefits for both worker and employer. Not only do workers get the benefits of a commute that no longer requires gasoline – but doesn't necessarily preclude its use, for those who want to slip out and spend the afternoon working from a coffee shop – as well as a note of flexibility in scheduling and the increased morale that comes with that, but enterprises also get that note of flexibility, as well as overall more productive workers who no longer need to bother with things like "face time" and the "office grapevine."

There are drawbacks, of course, but many of these can be surmounted with proper planning and the correct tools. It's good to see that the market for remote workers is climbing, and hopefully, will carry on doing so and help a lot of people get back to work.

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Edited by Braden Becker