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INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY | Contributed Content, Singapore
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Gaurav Belani

The Rise of Remote Work in the Digital Age and How Singapore Stacks Up

BY GAURAV BELANI

Whether it’s due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forward-thinking leadership in modern companies, or simply the millennial workforce’s growing wanderlust, there’s no denying of the fact that remote work is on the rise.

In Singapore, workers and employers alike have warmed to this new way of working. A 2018 study suggests 63% of employees in Singapore are working at least one day a week in places other than their office. Furthermore, nearly half (47%) work remotely for at least half of the week, while 10% of employees work outside of their company’s main office location five times a week.

Considering how today, almost everything can successfully be done over the internet with the help of modern digital tools and tech, it really comes as no surprise that remote workers are going to continue thriving in their work as well as personal lives...

Benefits of Working Remotely
Here are just some of the many concrete benefits of working remotely, for both the employers and employees:

Increased Productivity
Remote workers can be as much as 25% more productive than their onsite colleagues. Specifically, working from home typically results in lower stress, fewer distractions, fewer office politics, a more comfortable work environment, and more efficient (to the point) video meetings.

Essentially, the ability to personalize your work environment to suit your exact needs can go a long way in boosting productivity levels.

Better Work-Life Balance
As a remote worker, you can spend more time with your family and loved ones. You can take frequent breaks to pursue your hobbies, or schedule your workday as you like — so long as you complete the tasks on time and be available when your team needs you.

Save Time and Money
Working remotely means no daily commute. The time saved on commuting can be used in other important activities such as learning new skills, picking up the kids from school, attending a fitness class, or simply getting some extra sleep to wake up fresh and more energized.

Plus, as a remote worker, you save money on fuel while your employer saves costs on office real estate and other overhead expenses — a win-win.

More Eco-Friendly
Remote work is salutary not just in terms of enabling a more productive work environment for workers, but on a grander scale, it is beneficial for the environment too.

That is, the lack of daily commute means reduced greenhouse gas emissions and decreased consumption of fossil fuels — something that is the need of the hour.

How the Present Digital Era Facilitates Remote Work
In the last few years, there has been a rapid transition to the extensive use of digital tools and subscription software in businesses big and small. This so-called digital transformation has allowed companies to automate their internal processes, enhance their customer experience, and above all, have teams that are fully remote.

There are intuitive tools for practically every business need, from effective task collaboration and communication to project management and invoicing, everything can be successfully done online without having to be in the same physical location.

What’s more, eCommerce has skyrocketed as people now value convenience more than ever before. So, online shopping for just about every consumer need has become mainstream. And with beginner-friendly platforms like Shopify, building your own eCommerce store has never been easier.

In fact, thanks to the myriad of digital tools accessible to everyone, the gig economy is booming fast with freelancers and “solopreneurs” making great strides while working remotely from anywhere in the world. And as it turns out, Singapore and South-East Asia, in general, are quite the prime locations for remote workers around the globe.

Singapore as a Destination for Remote Workers
For remote workers that aren’t nationals, Singapore isn’t a very popular destination for working remotely while quenching the thirst for travel. That’s mainly because of the high cost of living.

But for the remote workers who have some budget, Singapore is an excellent destination to work from. Superfast internet connectivity, numerous co-working spaces, great food, solid local transportation, and little-to-no crime make it an ideal place to work remotely.

Popular Destinations for Remote Workers in South-East Asia
While Singapore may not be as popular, South-East Asia as a whole is an extremely sought after region for remote workers and digital nomads. Here are some of the many desirable destinations around Singapore that are favored by remote workers worldwide:

  • Penang, Malaysia
  • Koh Phangan, Thailand
  • Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • Hoi An, Vietnam
  • Bali, Indonesia

Final Thoughts
The growth of the gig economy and the advent of the internet has resulted in an inevitable shift towards remote work. With proper planning and scheduling, remote work will help achieve higher levels of creativity and productivity, while enabling better work-life balance and learning opportunities for everyone.

Not to mention the growing awareness of climate change serves as another rationale for advocating remote work. So, whether you’re a freelancer or part of a distributed team in a modern startup, rest assured that life as a remote worker in this digital age is only going to be better and better.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by Singapore Business Review. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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Gaurav Belani

Gaurav Belani

Gaurav Belani is a senior SEO and content marketing analyst at Growfusely, a content marketing agency that specializes in data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in digital marketing and loves to read and write about business, edtech, AI, ML, data science, and other emerging technologies. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies and listening to music. Connect with him on Twitter at @belanigaurav.

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