Why Aren't More Business Working Remotely?on 25 July 2018
Employees running late, arriving harassed and embittered as they battle the daily commute to reach the office. Ever increasing rental fees for office space (not to mention the cost of providing an ergonomically sound environment for employees), it can’t be too hot or too cold and Jack needs a back-rest for his chair. There’s a lot to be said for offering your workforce the opportunity to go remote.
Remote workers are no longer on the outside looking in. With a solution such as Glasscubes, there are fantastic tools available to ease the flow of communication, allowing employees to fully engage with one another, no matter where or when they are. Got a huge project on the go and several team members involved (dotted around the UK and beyond)? No need to fret, online collaboration software can be used to ensure everyone remains in the loop and works towards the same objective.
So, if we have the technological tools and many consider it to be cheaper and more productive why aren’t more businesses working remotely?
For some, remote working conjures up pictures of slacking co-workers lounging in bed, laptop switched on, but casually strewn on the floor (one more coffee and I’ll get going). Or multi-taskers dialling onto a meeting while simultaneously loading the dishwasher or folding up a pile of just-washed pants.
Despite the benefits of allowing employees to work from home, some employers are just too worried to implement the strategy, as they have little or no trust in their work-force. The idea of remotely directing employees can be too much for certain managers. This is especially true for those who prefer to have a team at their fingertips and in plain sight, after all if they cannot see you how can they possibly know you are doing the right thing? Not to mention working hard enough? We could argue that an employee’s contribution should be measured by their output and performance (regardless of where they work from).
Small companies seem to be more nervous when it comes to remote working, with many owners preferring the team to come together under one roof. Larger companies tend to be more accepting of the concept and therefore more flexible with remote working arrangements.
Invisible Employee Syndrome
It’s not just employers that have misgivings about remote working, some employees aren’t sure about the concept either. Being away from the team or manager can leave workers feeling excluded and also lead to worries that their great performance will not be recognised. After all, if you put in extra effort and time (and go above and beyond) at home who is there to see all your hard work? If you are in the office everyone can marvel at your dedication and perseverance. The invisibility factor also relates to the social side of coming together as a team. Working remotely can reduce the bond shared by co-workers and colleagues who spend all say together working out problems, discussing ideas and having a chat over a coffee during a break. That camaraderie can be built when working remotely, but it might take longer.
Interaction and Satisfaction
It’s a given that certain jobs require an employee to be physically present, e.g. a paramedic or delivery driver wouldn’t be able to achieve much via a video conference. There are also some things we can’t do remotely, such as feel the texture of a new fabric on a mood board. But there are many ways remote workers can interact and although remote working isn’t for everyone it can be a huge boon for many. From brainstorming to sharing essential documents – it can now be done remotely.
For some the idea of “going remote” seems like a leap of faith – there are concerns about providing a secure online workspace and figuring out how to set up shared files so the right people can gain the right access. Can schedules be organised online? Can projects be effectively managed and tasks assigned to the right employees?
The answer is yes, colleagues can collaborate online, suppliers can be contacted and clients can be consulted – wherever they all are. Going remote will actually help a business to work in a more organised and productive way.
No more commuting woes, no more worries about office air con versus central heating, maybe it’s time employers all encouraged their employees to don their slippers, pour a coffee and got down to the serious business of remote working.
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