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Are you remote working ready?

December 20, 2017

Remote Working

The times they are a-changing and increasingly, businesses are re-aligning themselves for our new digital times. Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Technology is leading us marching bravely into a new world of work.

The old standards are being taken down and replaced with reimagined ways of doing business. While some businesses will always be location dependent, others are seeing the many benefits in moving some, or even all the business onto a remote working model. Its a frightening thought for some businesses, concerned about these uncharted waters. For others, its a bright new world of possibilities and a land of opportunity.

How does a company know if they’re ready? What are the benefits? Can they actually trust their people to get the job done? Will the employees take to it? What’s in it for them? What’s in it for the company, really? Is this just a fad, some sort of transient trend which will pass over like storm clouds, leaving the business a mess? And how much does this all cost, anyway? Surely, there’s a cost. There’s always a cost, right?

Questions, questions, questions….but if managers and business owners just take a short step back, they may realise that their company isn’t only ready, but the time’s never been so right to make the change on this scale. Maybe remote working is actually already happening in the business?

Shifting some of your staff to remote working can be cost effective. People take up room at the end of the day. They need physical space, office supplies, furniture, car parks, heating, aircon, facilities. Simply put, smaller office spaces cost less. Remote working can also lead to an increase in productivity. Though it would be understandable for companies to believe telecommuters would work less, all the research indicates the opposite true. Working alone, without the distractions of the traditional office space, remote workers find themselves better motivated and more efficient in their work, according to research. Also, while remote working doesn’t work for everyone - some benefit from a more structured bricks and mortar setting - those who do take to telecommuting report better job satisfaction, a clear bonus in terms of retention.

But can we trust them to get the job done? Well, its not like they’re going to disappear. All the tools exist to build accountability into the process, communication is ongoing between teams, projects can be moved forward, and by keeping that communication clear and consistent, the job gets done. Deadlines are met.

Ask yourself what happens when a member of the team has to take an unexpected day out of the office? A sick child maybe, a school holiday or car trouble? The answer is they work remotely. They check emails, answer calls, keep up with projects through Google Docs, they still communicate with the office and their team. They’re motivated to work, and though they’re not physically visible, they have a clear presence in the business. In short, remote working is here. Its already a part of your business.

These are just a few of the benefits to business of moving to a more flexible way of working without losing any efficiency or it having negative effects on productivity.

People work well when they’re able to self-motivate and build this flexibility into their work-life balance.

Its wise for businesses to look around. How are competitors working? Do they still work in a formalised single location setting, with all the furniture and car park spaces that entails? Or are they moving forward, by reimagining how they work and how they encourage their people to work? Are they changing their culture to meet the demands of our modern times? If they are, maybe its time your business did. Nobody wants to be left behind.

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