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The Rise Of Remote Working
With information travelling at the speed of light, it is finally possible for humans to slow down
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Overcrowded, over-priced and under-ventilated commutes mark the beginning of every working day for many of us across the globe. What is certain is that we are never alone in facing this daily challenge: 1.6 million commuters double the population of Manhattan everyday, 3 million people use London's underground at rush hour while Mumbai's local trains services transport an incredible 7.5 million people on a daily basis. Since the advent of industrialisation, we have flocked towards city centres to secure job opportunities, communicate with colleagues and access centralised services. We have accepted the commute — or the alternative of inflated city centre house prices — as an inevitable price to pay of making a living. Does it have to be this way?
Continuing improvements in communications technologies are making physical location less important when it comes to conducting business. For example, cloud platforms allow documents to be hosted in online workspaces, enabling colleagues to share and edit the same document from anywhere in the world. Video messaging technology enables meetings to be conducted virtually, while email correspondence has undoubtedly become the bread and butter of business communication. Technology has resolved the disconnection and miscommunication issues previously associated with long-distance teamwork. As long as there is access to the internet, colleagues on opposite sides of the globe can now communicate as if they are in corresponding offices.
Alongside the advances in business communication technology has been the expansion of access to good and services, which previously marked a significant difference between rural and urban living. Consumers can increasingly buy products online without having to contend with the hassle of overcrowded high streets, and have them delivered directly to their door. For those settling outside city centres, the convenience of urban lifestyles can still be achieved with the click of a button. And, with online providers such as Amazon already trialling drone services, which promise to deliver packages 30 minutes or less using small drones, this is a convenience set only to improve in the coming years.
With the lure of clean air, open space and a less hectic pace of life that rural living offers, these technological breakthroughs are poised to reverse the pace of urbanisation, and ultimately lead to de-urbanisation as physical distance becomes increasingly irrelevant. This trend is already gaining pace globally. In the US, for example, regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 103 per cent since 2005 ,while 3.7 million employees now work from home at least half the time. The rise of remote working is having important effects on how, and where we live. A study by researchers at the University of Kansas, for example, shows that de-urbanisation is gaining momentum as people move from big cities of more than 4 million people to smaller cities with populations of 1 or 2 million.
While the benefits of remote working are obvious for employees who no longer have to face a expensive and polluted daily commute into city centres, the benefits of remote working for employers are becoming increasingly recognised. First, without contending with the commute, employees are more likely to be on time and able to dedicate more of their time to the job. Studies have also shown that a telecommuting staff is more productive than in-office workers, while the financial savings from saying goodbye to that centrally located office are significant.
Xrbia has recognised these shifting living preferences and is investing in locations that provide the best of rural living with easy accessibility to urban centres. As people no longer have to cram into overcrowded city centres to connect and communicate, homeowners can choose to prioritise their cravings for a more relaxing pace of life. Each Xrbia development is built with the wider environment in mind, and incorporates open, green spaces, walking trails and water features to bring residents back in touch with nature. At the same time, the convenience of urban living is satisfied with shops, gyms and transport links all within easy reach.
With information travelling at the speed of light, it is finally possible for us humans to slow down. Technology — the same force that led to rapid urbanisation across the globe —has now made it possible to make a living from anywhere in the world. By creating communities that combine the benefits of rural lifestyles with the convenience or urban living, Xrbia plans to champion this new way of living made possible by technology across India. With the stress on our urban centres reaching breaking point and unprecedented congestion threatening our personal health as well as our planet's well-being, it is time for us to question the logic of our daily commute and embrace the benefits of remote working.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.