The Virtual Employee: Who Are They?

Who is Working Remotely: Demographics of a Remote Employee

The AGL Institute recently completed their October monthly research report. The data was collected via a survey administered online to over 900 individuals and covered a variety of topics including remote work, importance of soft skills, training and development in the remote setting, and more. Dennis, a colleague at the AGL Institute, has created a prototypical summary of a remote worker.

The typical remote worker is a young (25-34 years old) white man (49% of respondents) or woman (52%). They are generally well educated (42% of remote workers have a bachelor's degree), come from a low income household, and are working full-time. Statistically, 66% of people have a home office and 44% have a preference for the ability to work remotely, especially when transitioning employment. Remote workers place the most value in no commute, better work-life balance, less interruptions and better time management. Additionally, they see less social interaction as the primary disadvantage to remote work. Only 23% of remote workers have been trained on how to work remotely, but 50% of remote workers have received soft skills training which they deem to be very important to their work and would be very interested in additional training. Most remote workers (81%) do not have experience managing other remote workers. In their managing experience, they recognize cost efficiency and increased productivity in the as the primary advantages in managing remote workers while placing emphasis on miscommunication and less oversight as primary disadvantages.

Now, let’s get personal 

The summary of a prototypical remote worker is nice, but it is a highly generalized view of any population. To give you a better idea of who is working remotely, here are some “real people” that we derived from the data. 

Olivia, 25

Olivia is a full-time web developer, having successfully landed an entry-level job after finishing her bachelor’s degree. Single, but with two dogs, she is focused on building up her resume to advance through her current company or seek out better employment as her income is lower than she anticipated. As an avid dog-lover, Olivia is thankful that working remotely allows her more time with her pets as she doesn’t have a commute which helps her to better manage her time. While she can feel some isolation from her peers, she is hoping to continue working remotely to allow her time to pursue outside interests.

What can AGL do for her?

Olivia represents the youngest generation within the workplace. She is still finding her bearings, and most likely has little to no experience in a professional environment. She has a dream job, something that may not have been possible without virtual work given the complications commutes can bring to the table. She is still trying to socially insert herself into the organization (which can be difficult, knowing that 60% of virtual employees state lower social interactions as the primary disadvantage of remote work). She has an adequate level of education, but is still learning the ropes of navigating a professional culture. Moreover, she is working remotely for the first time, which can be difficult to navigate without proper training. Questions will naturally arise such as: should I email my boss every time I have a question? Is it appropriate to contact a co-worker outside of typical work hours? Could I be overlooked for a promotion due to my remote status? These are all questions (plus many more) that will be covered by AGL institute. Tune in for more reports as AGL institute is your one stop shop for navigating the ever-evolving world of virtual work with a human touch.

Stay tuned for more,