In the 1980s, IBM started placing “remote terminals” in the homes of some of its employees. By 2009, 40 percent of the company’s 386,000 employees no longer needed to turn up to an office each day.
Forward to 2017, and IBM is traveling back in time. Thousands of employees are being told they have to start working from set locations, or wave goodbye to their jobs.
The irony is hard to ignore.
Just this year, an IBM panel discussion mirrored the findings of a 2014 whitepaper from IBM’s own Smarter Workplace Institute:
“The remote workers in this research were highly engaged, more likely to consider their workplaces as innovative, happier about their job prospects and less stressed than their more traditional, office-bound colleagues.”
Some say that 19 consecutive quarters of falling sales have left IMB looking to trim the workforce without resorting to layoffs.
Whatever the reason, in cases like these, the best talent will find other jobs — jobs that take employees’ work-life balance seriously. Just look at how a similar move by Yahoo in 2013 ended with the company selling to Verizon for less than 5 percent of its peak price.
Remote Work Is the Future
According to recent findings by Gallup, 43 percent of the American workforce already spends some of its time working remotely.
The report states, “Flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job.”
With that in mind, many of IMB’s employees are looking for other opportunities. And so are employees of other companies who are being forced fo endure outdated ways of working. Cubicles suck, after all.
Thankfully, there’s a huge (and growing) number of respectable employers happy to take on remote workers.
These Companies Hire Remote Workers
A world-class company specializing in the creative fields, Adobe hires a huge amount of top talent. Although not all of the company’s positions are remote, there is a good number to choose from. Many of these can be found on Flexjobs.
If you’re after complete flexibility or want to be a digital nomad, Apple isn’t the company for you. But Apple does have a flexible work environment to give you more control over your schedule. Again, available remote positions can be found on FlexJobs.
This is the company behind WordPress, WooCommerce, Longreads, and more. Automattic’s mission is to “make the web a better place.” It does this through an entirely distributed (and massively talented) team, spread across 50 countries. All the employees get together once per year for a seven-day retreat to help the team to bond.
Needing no introduction, Amazon has a range of remote work opportunities. A lot of these are in the customer service and sales departments, but more technical jobs do pop up occasionally.
American Express claims to “value work-life balance, just as you do” and therefore offers a decent selection of telecommuting jobs. Recently named one of the top 20 companies for remote work, this is definitely one to check out. Look out for openings on Flexjobs.
Headquartered in Chicago but dispersed across 32 cities around the world, Basecamp is known to be an incredibly fun, close-knit team to join. You’ll be working on a fast-growing project management platform that many users fall in love with as soon as they use it.
One of the most transparent companies on the net, Buffer is a pioneer in remote work. Managing an entirely distributed team, the company has managed to build a loyal — and growing — following of social media managers who want an easier way to schedule their posts.
CleverTech is apparently made up of a “remote but absurdly talented group of people.” There’s almost always a range of technical roles available, where you’ll be creating “bespoke technology solutions” for huge clients around the globe.
Another huge company offering a good choice of remote work, Dell also offers plenty of flextime and compressed workweeks in a number of departments. These range from developers to data scientists. A detailed list can also be found on Flexjobs.
The team behind my top to-do list app (ToDoist) is almost entirely remote, with everyone “free to make [their] own schedules and connect with the rest of the team throughout the day (or night).”
One of Google’s major search competitors, DuckDuckGo is aiming to “raise the standard of trust online.” The company recognizes that people work best in different environments, and therefore trust their team to work remotely, from wherever they like.
Although based in Melbourne, Envato employs plenty of remote workers, and always allow for flexible schedules. If you’re lucky enough to be one of them, you’ll receive a subsidy to fly out to visit the HQ for a couple weeks, plus you’ll get three month holiday each year.
The Formstack team claims to “know how to work hard and play hard from wherever we feel most productive”. This is a relatively small but close-knit team, working on improving an ever-popular, impressive online form builder.
GitLab is a trusted, fast-growing standard for source code version management. This is a remote-only company with a range of technical roles available. Want to know how their remote team works? Check out the GitLab remote manifesto.
Although GitHub has its HQ in San Francisco (and offices in a few other areas of the world), a large portion of its workers are entirely remote or allow for flexible home working.
Another remote team, HubStaff is a trusted time-tracking platform with a huge number of users. Whether you’re a marketer or developer, keep your eye on HubStaff’s careers page.
Mototola is a world leader in communication solutions. Not surprisingly, a company of this size isn’t completely remote, but they do have a decent choice of remote positions available. The easiest way to find these is on Indeed or Flexjobs.
If you’re interested in the Node.js ecosystem, you’ll be pleased to hear that NodeSource is an entirely distributed team. Hoping to work with “the best in the industry”, the company is happy to let you work from wherever you like, on your own schedule.
Toggl, the small company behind the popular time-tracking app, “believes great people will make awesome stuff anywhere.” Although they don’t have a ton of positions open at any one time, all of their positions are remote.
Trello, one of the web’s most loved productivity tools, may be headquartered in New York, but its team is distributed across the world. There is almost always a selection of interesting positions open in all areas of the business.
Don’t fancy a software or hardware company? Upworthy is a massively popular online publication, with most of its jobs being completely remote. Plus, there’s unlimited time off. In return for all this freedom, they expect nothing but your best work.
Want a career that’s more mission-driven? This is a non-profit organization, aiming to “encourage the development and distribution of free, educational content, and to provide the full content of these wiki-based projects to the public free of charge.” Many of the vacancies at Wikimedia allow for telecommuting and flexible working, so you’ll have plenty of control over your schedule.
Are you a talented developer? X-Team is always looking to take on fully remote developers to work with some of the world’s largest brands and fastest-growing startups.
Zapier is a company that allows anyone to connect their favorite apps to help automate otherwise time-wasting workflows. Their team is completely distributed (since the company was founded in 2011) and includes everything from writers and developers, to engineers and data scientists.
With 8,000 work-from-home employees already, Xerox is no stranger to remote work. Although a lot of the roles revolve around customer care, there are some more technical roles such as software developers and programmers.
Remote Work Job Sites
And then there are the thousands of other employers who are happy to hire remote workers. If you’d rather search these en masse instead of visiting individual company sites, some of the best remote job search sites are below.
At over 10 years old, this is one of the leaders in remote work opportunities. With over 30,000 jobs from 5,000 employers, the opportunities are endless. As you can see from the links I’ve included above, many larger companies list their remote positions on FlexJobs to make it easier for people, like you, to find.
If you’re a developer looking for remote work, there’s no better place to find a massive range of options than Stack Overflow.
The Remote section of Indeed.com currently has almost 70,000 available positions. With easy access to employer ratings, it’s easy to find a company you’d love to work with.
Packed with telecommuting and flexible work opportunities, there is a huge number of available positions in almost every industry imaginable.
This is a simple site, with basic search functions, but it works well. There are plenty of vacancies here with relatively small companies, doing exciting work.
Say No to the Office
There really is no reason for employers to be taking huge steps back, like IMB is doing for thousands of its own employees. Thousands of other successful companies manage to operate at the top of their game despite being distributed across the planet.
If the freedom of remote work is important to you, then, do check out some of the sites above. The opportunities are immense.
Which other reputable companies offer remote work?
Image Credit: Olesya Kuznetsova via Shutterstock.com