With more and more companies adopting the virtual remote working, it has become one of the major rising cornerstone of modern work force. Remote working or telecommuting is not necessarily a new concept and it has been there in some varying forms all the while. But lately due to high proliferation of internet, increased bandwidth, improved communication tools and need for work life balance among the employees, it has really taken off. If you would have asked a manager or executives from top management about 10 years back for complete work from home, it may have seemed like a distant dream. But if you ask today remote working is actually the future of work.
This trend has been largely driven by millennials who wanted flexibility and autonomy and how they work. Gone are the days when employees used to spend their entire career lives working through the same office building working for same one company. Career is now look that as a tour of Duty as popularised by Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn. Where an employee joins a company to achieve a specific purpose in a specific period of time and with clearly outlined incentives at the end of the tour. As more and more companies are adopting telecommuting or remote working practices, they are realising that remote working is not only an employee perk but rather it also benefits the companies as well.
In the year 2009 Cisco conducted a survey about remote working of about its 2000 employees. The company realised that it saved about $277 million dollars in productivity value by allowing employees to work remotely or telecommute to work. This saving was largely contributed from savings in office rent, supplies, utilities and equipment. Moreover the survey showed that about 91% of the respondents said that they were more productive when working remotely. Also the attrition rates fall dramatically by more than 50% when the companies give employees flexibility to work from anywhere.
Remote working increases the productivity of the employees since they don't have to constantly fight visual and auditory distractions which are imposed upon them from open floor office. They can focus all of their energies into doing the best work of their lives and not get exhausted in order to block all these distractions which happen on the office floor. When an employee is working in an environment very feels comfortable in and and the environment is that of his particular choice, the quality of work output as well as throughput significantly improves.
Remote working not only helps companies to save on cost and improve employee productivity but it also allows employees to spend more time with their families as they don't have to travel 3 hours everyday to and fro from office to home in soul crushing traffic.
Hiring remotely allows companies to attract talent from not only a particular geographical location but also literally from anywhere around the world. And also as companies go for contractor route (versus just remote hiring only) for the work instead of having a full payroll which gives flexibility and cost savings to both sides. Of course the companies have to comply with the local laws and regulations regarding employment.
The definition of productivity in a remote work environment changes drastically as the focus shifts to the work done as compared to the time spent on the desk. This quantification of work creates more transparency in the work environment.
Remote working also helps older people to find employment in an easier way. The life expectancy has been increasing constantly at the same time the cost of living has been exploding which leads to older people having to work longer in the lives and delay the retirement. Companies which offer remote working allows older people to make ends meet without the hectic commute of every day from their home to office.
Sometimes managing a work force of remote employees can be slightly tricky when you are not physically near your colleagues. But thanks to all the software and collaboration tools which are available, remote working has become so much more easier.Ssome of the software tools that remote working teams use to collaborate and get work done are:
Google Drive gives lot of different applications for free in one integrated package. You can use Google Docs to write and edit documents, you can create folders and upload all the videos, pictures and documents etc in the drive which can then be shared with your colleagues. To manage all your expenses, data, reports- there is Google sheets, you can also make and share presentations using Google Slides. So Google Drive is net net the Swiss knife for remote working teams.
Slack is a great communication and collaboration tool which is spreading among small and large businesses alike like a wildfire. The reason why Slack is loved so much by teams of all sizes is because of its delightful and simple design and also the flexibility it offers in terms of integrating different pieces of functionality/ module called slack apps or slack bots. Slack has a large and growing app directory base where you can find slack bots for each and every need of your company and team. So slack is a central place which brings all the tools and communication together in one place and that's why remote teams love it.
Skype is a go to App for voice and video chat for remote teams. Skype offers free and simple way to have Video chat with your colleagues or clients remotely. Video calls are the closest that you will get to working with your team who are sitting time zones apart. Zoom is another interesting video conferencing app which is growing fast user base both among remote startups and large companies, but still the share ubiquity of Skype makes the go to video conferencing app.
There are lot of other tools for different functions of your organisation to collaborate remotely like indesign for your design team, Jira for development and product management teams, bitbucket for your dev team to manage your code repositories, google Hangouts, email etc.
Despite having all of these collaboration and communication tools, remote team still need to meet their colleagues face to face in order to develop the camaraderie required to build a company or a product. Therefore companies which are 100% remote, do an annual or bi annual offsite trips where all the team members meet face to face and share a bonding session.
Remote works surely does look like the future of digital work and there are lot of big established companies which have been built 100% remote ground up such as Automatttic the developer of Wordpress, Hubstaff, Gitlab, Toptal, Enpointer etc. So is your company leveraging the benefits of remote work ?