Remote work is a buzz phrase that has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years. It’s a revolutionary step for most businesses, but also a very practical one. Increasingly, we’re seeing startups and organizations switch to working remotely, and thriving while doing so. This begs the question: is the future of work, remote work? Below, we will be tackling discussions surrounding this pivotal question.
The benefits of going remote
Companies shift to remote work for a variety of reasons, but the benefits are the same across all fields and disciplines. From a business perspective, going remote saves money. Companies don’t need to pay for physical office space as well as the infrastructure that comes with it. They also do away with setting aside budgets for equipment and office facilities. For example, a company won’t have to hire caterers, cleaners, or pay for rent. With remote working, these costs can be used to invest in other parts of the business to help the operations expand quicker.
From an employees’ perspective, working remotely ensures that professionals can perform optimally, given that each person has different levels of productivity at different times of the day. Remote work helps employees find a working environment that suits them best, so they can work at a time that fits their needs. The optimal environment that remote work provides benefits the management as well, since employees are more likely to work longer, and produce better quality work. According to the remote work research conducted by TalentLMS, 90% of remote workers believe they’re able to get more done when working remotely. Vero writer Jimmy Daly says writing at home means getting his work done way faster. Moreover, 76% of telecommuters are willing to work more hours and feel more loyal to their company.
40% of employers worldwide are struggling to fill existing positions with qualified candidates. One of the top benefits of remote work is the growth of opportunities it gives to companies. Businesses don’t need to be bound geographically in finding top talent for their company. On the other hand, gone are the days when companies had to pay extraordinary amounts to recruit qualified employees who needed to relocate for work. Looking for top talent now entails casting the net across the world, so long as the candidate has a laptop and stable internet connection, they can work. In discussing the future of work, Firneo CEO Scott Pollack predicts a bright future for companies moving towards a remote working model: “companies that can find new ways to nurture, discover and empower talent no matter where they live will find it easier to hire top talent and thrive.”
The growing trend of remote work
With all these benefits, the popularity of remote work is growing. The trend’s slowly becoming our new present, and is restructuring the nature of work, as we know it. Companies like IBM, Sun Microsystems, Zapier, and Doist have all seen the value of working remotely. While not all businesses have embraced the move fully, many companies have started letting their employees work remotely a few days a week. CNBC reports that throughout the globe, 70% of people work out of office at least once a week. Moreover, 53% work remotely for at least half of the week.
Remote workers can span many different professions. Inc. looked into the variety of remote jobs available, finding that the most common professions are business development managers, writers, nurses, accountants, speech-language pathologists, and account managers. This has consequently given rise to co-working spaces where remote workers and freelancers alike can find a conductive environment to work away from their homes.
Managing remote teams digitally
The increasing role of technology has contributed to the rise of remote working. Digital tools are the bedrock of the remote office, since they provide companies with a platform for remote team communication and collaboration. So how do you go about managing a remote team? Below, we’ll look at the different digital tools that help manage virtual offices.
Trello has detailed the different types of digital tools that support remote work: chat tools, video call software, collaboration & status tools, and communication & documentation tools. Each plays a different role in the function of a modern-day virtual office.
Chat tools are used for day-to-day coordination with colleagues. Applications like Slack and Stride are perfect because of the fun and engaging features they provide to communicate with a team.
Video calls on the other hand provide a personal approach to significant discussions—like how you seek out a colleague to clarify an important topic or give valuable feedback. Check out video conferencing software such as Zoom and Appear.in for reliable tools to aid in company-wide or one-on-one remote meetings.
Collaboration and status tools such as Trello gives at-a-glance updates for all projects happening within your team. These kinds of applications serve as real-time trackers where each team member is updated on all the ongoing tasks. These applications work alongside communication and documentation tools like Confluence and Google Docs where files can be shared to allow for creative collaboration between external partners and colleagues.
Learning how to use digital tools to enhance organizational coherency is an integral part of managing a remote office. As the landscape evolves, there’s a growing demand for specialists who can bring about organizational change to remote offices using these tools. Business Insider explains how being tech-savvy is one of the key traits remote workers need, as they’ll constantly be working with updated software to stay in contact and deliver work. Moreover, Maryville University states that tech-driven employee training methods and structures have increased due to the need to manage a rising number of remote workers. This goes to show how businesses need to embrace new digital tools and software if they’re thinking of transitioning to remote work. Furthermore, companies need to train their employees to use digital tools as a means to support their productivity and team collaboration.