What’s your opinion on working remotely?

7 minute read •

March 12, 2019

Workflow

More than two-thirds of people around the world work away from the office at least once every week, according to a study by Switzerland-based serviced office provider.

A recent American workforce survey found that 43% of Americans spend at least part of their week working from home, with 34% spending four to five days working outside the office. It’s a trend on the rise and looking at ways to make remote work actually work is part of a wider shift to offer increasingly flexible conditions for employees.

For some businesses working remotely really means working from home, giving staff the flexibility to make the work/life balance that little bit easier. For other businesses working remotely is their business model with teams across the globe communicating, collaborating and implementing projects primarily through using cloud-based tools. Whilst for a business there are financial benefits for remote working including reduced commercial leasing and travel expenses, the real pros and cons of remote working lie with your team.

Two-thirds of managers who were surveyed reported an increase in overall productivity from their remote employees.

Benefits of remote working:

Work when you’re at your best

You have the ability to ride the wave of productivity and creativity when they come. Most remote working options allow for flexible work hours, when and where the work to place is of much less importance. The knock-on effect of this can be transformative, you scheduled tasks around when and where you want to work.

As of 2019, the number of companies with remote workforce is getting bigger — 66% of companies allow remote work and 16% are fully remote.

More time to do things you love

The global average commuting time per day is just under an hour in total. Imagine what you could do with an extra hour a day? For families, this could mean more time with their children. People take up new hobbies, workout in the middle of the day and connect more frequently with their loved ones.

However, Some people are better remote workers than others, thanks to their discipline, willpower, home environment, or personal preferences.

Find your currency

We are told throughout our education that people learn differently, remote working allows people to figure out how they may work differently. Digital tools and online collaboration gives you the option to find out where they work best. For some, it is a co-working space allowing you to retain the office environment and social scene. For others it is a home office, allowing you to keep on top of your home life throughout the day. Maybe you work best from the library, the beach, the laundrette or the coffee shop.

The potential pitfalls of remote working need to be highlighted and if you are considering working remotely overcome. Firstly, it’s likely the social interactions you are used to having in the workplace will be significantly reduced and this could leave you or your teammates feeling isolated. It’s difficult to ensure everyone is on the same page when you are not in the same room as each other. Remote working also relies on a significant amount of trust and transparency, you need to know your team is performing their best independently and as part of a team.

Remote work is not a trend — it’s here to stay. 

Things to consider with working from home

Remember when Homer learnt that if he was fat enough he could work from home? It didn’t end well. So it’s important to create clear rules and contact points to make sure you don’t end up neglecting your monotonous responsibilities and burn down the local power plant.

If you are thinking of implementing remote working, or are starting a new team and looking at the remote model, here are a few tips on how to overcome these pitfalls:

1. Check-ins

You’ll need to overcompensate for the lack of physical connection. Schedule in regular video meetings where each team member provides, in detail, their tasks and goals. Where possible supplement these with one-on-one video or phone calls with each team member.

2. Clear lines of constant communication

Internal communication needs to be really, really easy and natural. Using Hassl’s messenger feature and mobile app you can have fluid conversations with team members, and group chat with your whole team from literally anywhere. Your team will feel connected at all times knowing they can contact each other for instant support.  

3. Tracking

Whether it’s through reports or our time-tracking feature, the simplest way to ensure tasks are getting done on time is to turn on time-tracking. If tasks are clocked through both the desktop and mobile app, team members don’t need to feel like they are justifying their every day, and a team leader or project manager doesn’t need to check-in as much. Tracking adds a layer of transparency and validation to remote working that makes working from anywhere justifiable.

4. Offer options

Another option is to offer remote working conditions without going all in. Have an office, have a team who work together most of the time but foster a modern work environment where remote working can be scheduled in when a team member thinks its best for their workflow.

 

Some Problems with Remote Working.

Remote working is a great option for creating a modern workplace but it’s important to remember that culture is everything, working remote works best as part of a wider ethos of flexibility and freedom.
Keep in mind that remote working isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Some people prefer to be surrounded by people in an office. Working alone from home could be detrimental to your productivity and lifestyle. Ryan Hoover, founder of Product Hunt, asked his twitter followers about their view on remote work. Here’s what he found:
  • Loneliness
  • Disconnecting
  • Distractions
  • Watercooler serendipity
  • Communication
  • Respect

How to ask your employer to work remotely:

Here are tips from Jason Lengstorf from lengstorf.com.

  1. Work Out the Logistics Ahead of Time
  2. Arm Yourself with Research
  3. Focus on the Benefits to the Company – How it benefits yourself and how it benefits your boss
  4. Start Small with Trial Runs
  5. Ask Forgiveness, Not Permission
  6. Don’t Give Up

 Andreas Klinger, wrote this crash course for those building remote teams

 

TLDR:

Working remote can improve productivity but it can also hinder. The most important thing is understand how you work best and create a work lifestyle that supports it. Because being able to work from the confort of your own bed might sound like the dream but you might realise that the social interaction and workplace environment actually makes you more productive. If you are an employer, take some time to speak with your staff about working remotely. There is no harm in trying it, it might be better for everyone.  Check out how to add Guests for Remote Collaboration in Hassl. 

Author

Rachel Linacre

Rachel is Hassl's head of operations. She loves getting shit done and dogs.

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