Think about these three businesses or social changes that we are all observing today and see if you can guess the connection:
- Technology is allowing us to work more easily from remote locations with safe encrypted connections ensuring security.
- Customer service is increasingly demanding with customers now expecting a relationship with brands – so the advisors on the frontline cannot just read a script on a phone call. They need marketing and sales skills in addition to customer empathy, and the ability to work across many channels, not just the phone.
- Society is ageing and governments across the world are struggling to figure out when people should retire and how their pension expectations can be delivered – plus industry is losing skilled people before people need to stop working.
I started thinking about these connected threads because I read an article about the insurance industry in the USA. A specialist recruitment agency has started placing people into insurance jobs there, but the average age of the people being hired is 60 and many of them are working from home on tasks such as underwriting or customer service.
This is very interesting. Sixty today isn’t like 60 was 30 years ago, people are much healthier and expect to live long after their 60th birthday, yet state retirement ages are still often around 60 to 65, plus people may just have tired of spending 40 years commuting in heavy traffic to an office.
It is easier than ever before to allow people to work from home using simple technologies that are encrypted and safe. With all the additional demands from customers for high-end and knowledgeable customer service there is not only a real demand for more work at home solutions, but there is a real opportunity to tap into a wealth of experienced talent.
When I talk to people about the opportunities that a work at home solution offers, the key one is usually how it allows you to cast the net wider. If you have a team that is working from home, then there is no need to restrict your hiring to those people who live near to your office, they can be anywhere, so you can hire smarter people or those who fit the brand image better.
But thinking about this insurance industry article made me consider some other ideas. It might be that work at home becomes the predominant way that the over-60s work because it allows flexibility, does not require commuting, and taps into their skills and experience.
I think the world of work is changing fast and work at home is not going to just be another enterprise option for executives to think about, it could in fact create a social change offering opportunities for many people who might not have been able to find opportunities matching their skills in the past.
Let me know your thoughts on work at home and how it might even be changing the way we all work – especially later in our careers. Let me know what you think in the comments or get in touch via LinkedIn.