Remote Work: A Big Boost to Local Economies

March 15, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Not so long ago, we caught a study about how the freelancer needed mobile payments to get the most out of his or her line of work. Now, we have a new study that takes a look at the freelancer—and similar remote workers—and details just how much impact those folks have on local economies. The new Connected Nation study offered up evidence on the value of that remote worker.

One of the biggest findings was that both teleworking and telecommuting—points with subtle differences related to the ultimate location of the employer—both had positive impacts on the median household income at the neighborhood level, and had the potential to step up economic growth in the immediate vicinity as well. Suggestions have even been made that telework is one of the surest paths to improving the economy of rural areas.

This in turn prompted recommendations that local and state governments start offering direct incentives to telework as part of an overall workforce development policy, specifically to “…nurture, attract and retain teleworkers.”

Additional recommendations included modifying current workforce development programs to include telework-friendly options like coding and customer service, as well as improving digital skills in general to ensure that the workforce is ready. Broadband subscription tax credits were also suggested, as a means to not only ensure that remote workers had the necessary connectivity to do the job, but also to ensure that at least one provider would be ready to step in.

One point missing from the recommendations was a push for improvement in mobile payments. We’ve already seen that mobile payment systems have an excellent impact on freelance operations, which is what most telework operations would likely be. While many telework options pay by mailed check, which can take a week or more to arrive, having a stable mobile payments option in place—anything from PayPal to the multiplicity of other competitors—increases the pace of payment and allows the teleworker to more effectively budget.

We know that mobile payments have a great impact on freelance operations, and now with this study, we have a better understanding of how freelance operations impact the economy around them. Could we say that mobile payments, therefore, have a greater impact on the overall economy than first believed? I certainly wouldn’t refuse the analogy.