The pros and cons of remote workingon 1 November 2016
Whether you call it remote working or telecommuting, one thing’s for sure: working outside the traditional office environment is more popular than ever.
Office employees no longer have to be in the same building or even country as their managers or co-workers to work together. In fact around 20 percent of workers around the world are estimated to be working from home, with almost three in 10 dividing their working week between home and the office.
Thanks to the development of collaborative technology, remote working isn’t just possible, it’s easy and effective. And if you’re an employee, what’s not to like? According to a recent YouGov survey commissioned by Virgin Media Business, 77 percent of British remote workers say it helps them to address their work-life balance.
Plus there’s the undeniable cash incentive, with remote working saving a bundle on commuting costs (a recent report by investing service Nutmeg.com suggests workers in the UK spend an average of £50,000 on commuting over the course of their career).
But it’s not just employees who benefit. Remote working has been found to boost productivity, with 81 percent of remote workers taking part in the YouGov poll believing the way they work makes them much more productive.
And let’s not forget the savings that can be made on overheads. According to Powwownow, 46 percent of businesses say the main benefit of remote working is that it helps to reduce office costs. For cash-strapped firms, that means the ability to expand workforces without having to fork out for extra space or facilities.
But despite the benefits, resistance to remote working is still out there. Last year, when CEO Marissa Mayer famously banned telecommuting at Yahoo!, her HR department blamed the move on the lack of ‘speed’ and ‘quality’. Here are some other commonly cited obstacles to remote working, plus how cloud-based collaborative technology like Glasscubes overcomes them by keeping teams connected.
Despite the positive effect on improved productivity, some employers and managers simply don’t trust their workers to spend their time productively when working from home (though few may admit it).
One way to help managers catch up with the new ways of working, so they judge workers on their productivity and quality of work rather than the number of hours they spend in the office, is to assign tasks to be completed within a specific timeframe (after all, there’s nothing more motivating than a pressing deadline).
Glasscubes allows you to do just that, as managers can centrally control and assign tasks across their team. Since tasks are visible to all team members, everyone can keep track of what each individual is achieving, whether they’re at the office, on the road or working at home.
According to statistics published by the Guardian, 90 percent of workers say flexible working doesn’t impact their ability to collaborate with colleagues. But there are still those who believe remote working would make them feel isolated, and that they’d miss out if they weren’t at the office.
Glasscubes makes staying in constant touch with colleagues incredibly simple. The discussion tool allows all team members – wherever they are – to communicate with each other at all times. Forget email, just start a new conversation in Glasscubes by posting a new message, and each team member can add their comments.
Also don’t waste your time emailing colleagues for their thoughts on a suggestion or opinion. Glasscubes offers an instant poll tool that’s quick and very easy to use (and there’s no need collate all those email replies).
Finally, there are businesses that shy away from the idea of remote working because they believe their employees don’t have the skills – or the technology – to manage it effectively. The cost of training staff to use communication tools can also be a burden to smaller businesses, not to mention the extra outlay on any necessary technology.
Unlike many other online collaboration tools, Glasscubes is simple and intuitive. You don’t need special skills or training to use it, and the only equipment you need is a browser and an internet connection.
And the best part? The cost won’t burst even the smallest company’s budget.
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