The current global situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has re-designed the way we work and things do not appear to be going back to the way they were anytime soon.
Remote work may be the most influential legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey by the Conference Board. The study found that 77% of respondents expect that the number of employees working primarily from home (at least 3 days a week) will increase post-pandemic. Before the pandemic, respondents said that less than 10% of their workforce primarily worked from home, but now they anticipate that number will increase, with at least 15% of their employees working from home a year from now.
The overall benefits of remote working are starting to show up in multiple areas and domains, the majority of employees stating that they are more productive and are able to focus better in a work-from-home environment than in the regular office.
Therefore, remote working has become an increasingly popular practice in a time of social distancing imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Moreover, the IT specialists enjoy flexible schedules, the lack of commute stress, the independence of choosing their own locations to work from, the fact that they can save money, and many more. A report states that 72% of employers agree that remote work has a high impact on employee retention, a crucial factor in today’s ever-changing dynamics of work habits.
Bucharest, Romanian’s capital city, has been revealed as the best city in the world for working from home or remotely, according to the Remote Working Index Report by Broadband Deals, U.K.
This index assessed 50 popular cities in the world and ranked them based on the number of remote job openings, the average internet speed, the cost of living, the availability of food-delivery apps, and the cost of a laptop in a particular city.
Bucharest ranked first as the best city for remote working, 4.33% of jobs in the city gave workers the opportunity for remote working, the highest of all the cities in the index. It also scored highly for internet speed, coming 4th in the ranking with internet speeds of 52 Mbps, and 7th for the cost of living £421 per month. Bucharest was followed by Houston and Las Vegas, only Budapest, Kiev, and Warsaw being the other European cities that made the top 10 list.
The managing director of BroadbandDeals.co.uk, Ben Tibbits, told BIRN that “Bucharest has the perfect mix of the cost of living, fast internet speeds and availability of flexible jobs” for those working remotely. Besides the factors evaluated in the index, Tibbits notes, “Bucharest has experienced a tech boom over recent years, with demand for many roles in tech and IT.”
But, Bucharest is not the only city in Romania that has more than favorable conditions for remote working. We showed in a previous article that Transylvania (one of Romania’s historical regions), is also a great place to relocate and start to work remotely. Several major Transylvanian cities offer a good mix of road and airport infrastructure, cultural life, multi-ethnical communities and lovely nature.
Finding remote work as an IT specialist based in Romania
In 2019, Romania’s government increased quotas for non-EU workers by 50%, which means up to 30,000 work permits. Therefore, there is a high demand in the workforce and a great welcome for foreigners who are willing to move to Romania.
On the other hand, an increasing number of Romanians employees are considering leaving behind the old way of employment in favor of becoming independent contractors, which allows them to choose their projects, the time they invest in them, reaching for a more stable work-life balance.
Most of the remote jobs in Romania are provided by the tech industry, communications, assembling, tourism, textile, security, trade, engineering or marketing. By far, the tech industry is growing on both local and foreign startup companies.
Studies have shown that in 2019, the IT software industry is in the 1st position when it comes to job opportunities.
At the same time, more and more Romanian freelancers are working in IT or marketing, not only for organizations based in the country, but also for international corporations and organizations all over the world.
It’s stated that in Romania around 100.000 freelancers are working for international companies, on different platforms, like Upwork. Most Romanian freelancers have foreign clients, so besides the taxes they pay for using different freelancing apps, they also have to pay the local taxes.
This shift from office to home also demands that employees will have to be more self-motivated, change-ready, and resilient, but there’s one skill that is fundamental if they want to thrive in this digital world: they need to be much better communicators.
On the other hand many employees say they miss certain aspects of office work, like social interaction, coffee-chats and collaboration with colleagues, but also just going to the office.
Benefits of hiring a remote worker
Here are a few benefits for considering hiring remote workers in your company:
- Remote work provides flexibility and productivity. Stats showed JD Edwards teleworkers were shown to be 20-25% more productive than their office colleagues. Additionally, American Express employees who worked from home were 43% more productive.
- Remote work saves employers and workers’ money. If workers that could work remotely did so half the time, it would result in over $700 billion in national savings. Additionally, businesses would save an average of $11,000 per year for every part-time telecommuter, and telecommuters would save anywhere from $2-$7K a year. This also doesn’t take into account how much cheaper it is to hire remote workers than it is to bring someone in-house.
- Remote work is good for the environment. The less you commute, the less you contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Hiring more remote workers can contribute to reducing climate change. In fact, if U.S. workers worked remotely half the time, the greenhouse reduction would have the same effect as taking the New York State workforce permanently off the road.
- Remote work is a motivating work perk. According to a study by Softchoice, 74% of American office workers reported they would change jobs based on a work from home policy.
- Remote work contributes to job satisfaction. 53.3% of developers said working remotely was a priority when looking for a new job, and the highest job satisfaction was reported by developers who were entirely or almost entirely remote.
How companies and freelancers save money through remote work
Also, some companies reported making important savings by hiring remote workers:
- Businesses can save as much as $11,000 per person, per year by allowing them to work from home, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
- Dell cited savings of $12 million a year from reduced office space costs.
Interestingly enough, not only do companies save money, but remote workers save money too:
- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average worker spends nearly an hour traveling to and from their home and office every day–more than 300 hours in a year. Dell estimates that employees who worked remotely ten days a month saved about $350 a year in commuting costs.
- Remote worker respondents to a CoSo Cloud survey said they saved as much as $5,240 per year by working from home.
- There are all sorts of costs associated with hiring new employees. If remote work leads to 25% less turnover or 50% as reported by another study, imagine how much money you can save just by reducing churn.
Remote working is good for business
Recently, Romania passed the law of teleworking that allows Romanian employees, no matter the industry, to be able to work from home ($12 million).
The technological growth in recent years has made working remotely not only more at hand, but also more simple and affordable: there are a lot of tools, apps, and online platforms that make work easier for both the employee and the employer.
Apart from this, companies that hire remote workers get to save on office space – there are already companies in Romania that work in spaces in which fit a maximum of 70% of the employees because, in reality they are never all at the office at the same time. This reduces the dependence of a fixed work environment, people going where they are needed, and taking their office with them.
Also, in recent years, Romania has seen a growth in freelancer Hubs and co-working spaces dedicated for remote work that are available for rent, as many freelancers feel the need to change the environment they work in, from time to time, for more inspiration, focus and productivity.
For employees, this could also mean more time saved, but also a certain comfort in managing their daily schedule.
The Ministry of Labour in Romania has made a few recommendations regarding working from home, including some regulations that employers must follow.
If you are looking to increase the productivity levels of your workers, then offering remote work should be a top priority. If you’re a worker looking to find ways to improve productivity, avoid distractions, and improve your work-life balance, consider remote work.
In any case, our team of experienced recruiters and consultants is here in assisting European businesses in searching and selecting talent among IT and Communication experts from Central and Eastern Europe.