The concept of telecommuting has evolved into a popular and more common remote working lifestyle that presents a wide variety of options for professionals interested in making a living on-the-go, or from the comfort of their homes.
Technology has empowered our ability to communicate and contribute from far away locations with a high degree of success and the number of professionals interested in taking advantage of remote work is growing.
Thanks to the internet, we now live in a world where instant communication and connectivity making the opportunity to contribute remotely very accessible and as more businesses recognize the demand for remote working options, more of them are offering at least partial remote working days as a company perk.
Anyone with a desire to create a remote working lifestyle has plenty of opportunities to do so, and businesses can enable their success if they’re willing to take advantage of certain digital tools that empower remote lifestyles.
Mutual Benefits for Both Employers and Employees
Businesses should always be looking for impactful ways to save time and money while boosting worker productivity and morale, and remote working seems to address these concerns all at once.
One of the key benefits of remote working options is that both businesses and employees can save time and common expenses. With the ability to work from wherever you are and on your own schedule, expenses such as childcare and transportation can be reduced, and businesses can save massive amounts of money on company overhead.
Another potential benefit for businesses able to offer remote work to their employees is improved employee retention since remote working possibilities have become a desirable and more common perk. There are a number of reasons that people enjoy and appreciate remote work and close to 90 percent of employees report a desire to work partly from home.
One of the biggest reasons that employees are drawn to remote work is the ability to travel and have a variety of cultural experiences while still experiencing the benefits of pursuing a full-time career.
Remote work can be especially appealing for individuals who may experience ongoing or intermittent medical issues. Remote work allows them to conveniently schedule doctor’s appointments and to manage their disability or illness from the solace of their own home.
While working remotely is appealing for a number of practical and personal reasons, one of the biggest factors businesses should consider is the type of message they’re sending to their employees by allowing them to work from a place of their choosing.
Allowing remote work as an employee perk can communicate to your organization that you trust them and that you believe they deserve to have a happy and healthy work-life balance. It can also convey that you want them to be able to pursue the hobbies and aspirations they are passionate about outside of work and that they are skilled, competent and independent enough that they do not need to be micromanaged.
Allowing remote work can be a powerful way for businesses to show that they truly value their employees and believe in the people that they hire.
Big companies are taking steps to incorporate flexible time off and remote work as a part of their employee retention initiatives including Netflix who instituted a “flex time off” program. This type of attitude regarding remote work can do wonders for company culture and create a positive impact that both businesses and employees will appreciate which is why more businesses are likely to incorporate this kind of perk into their policies in the future.
The complete impact of remote work on company culture is still yet to be explored completely, but the benefits for companies and employees seems to reach far beyond what most people expect to come from the simple choice of allowing your employees to change their working locations at will.
Cloud Sharing and Online Communication
Access to collaborative projects is part of what makes so many remote working opportunities possible. Through organizational tools such as Asana and Wrike, teams of specialists can contribute to ongoing projects and manage their progress without having to be in the same place.
Cloud storage programs such as Google Drive and Dropbox allow for instant sharing and updated work, appropriately lending themselves to remote teams that are working on different schedules. Because these tools provide remote professionals with effective ways to edit and share projects instantaneously, there’s much less of a need for teams to meet in person to transition paperwork. Now teams and their clients can stay in the loop regarding ongoing projects without worrying about access.
There are also plenty of online communication tools that make remote working more possible since teams can host all of their communication in one place as well as send important information instantly.
Now remote team members and freelancers can communicate with their teams and clients through remote conferencing and even use screen-sharing programs like Team Viewer and Google Hangouts to walk through processes step-by-step. These tools can play an important role in mitigating the lack of interaction and potential isolation resulting from remote work and many companies are using video conferencing as a way of engaging remote employees in company events.
Whenever a business is considering implementing remote working options for their employees, it’s important that they adjust other company policies and communication methods so that both on-site and remote employees receive equal amounts of inclusion and consideration.
This way remote employees can make just as much of an impact on a business’s success, with opportunities to take on leadership roles despite having less actual face-time with management. As long as businesses take effective measures to involve their remote employees just as much as those in the office, they should be in a good position to recruit more effectively and retain the employees that they already have.
Finding Remote Work Online
Not only has the internet opened up countless possibilities in terms of ongoing projects, but those new to remote working can track down leads on new work and clients by taking advantage of freelancing websites such as SimplyHired and Freelancer.
These websites allow professionals to seek new work according to very particular requirements such as time frames, specialties, and desired pay—this allows remote workers to pick projects on their own terms and businesses can recruit outside talent effectively without having to pay the cost of hiring a new employee.
Many professionals working solely from their computers can also bring in a decent income working remotely whether working in web design, as a freelance reporter or analyzing company data. Data scientists earn a median salary of $112,000 and opportunities for web development, which can be done almost completely from remote locations, are growing as more businesses seek to connect with their target customers through web and mobile.
While remote work can put professionals in a somewhat isolated position, there are still plenty of ways for remote workers to network and connect with new groups. Aside from creating a new profile for a freelancing website that connects specialists with new projects, online social platforms such as Facebook and Linkedin provide easily accessible channels for professionals that are new to the job market with ways to connect and work together.
One of the most helpful aspects of Linkedin is that it connects users based on common industries, mutual contacts, and similar interests, so just because you may not be attending the same work functions or seeing the same faces in office doesn’t mean you don’t have a great chance to network and find new job opportunities.
Many remote professionals are creating their own websites to show off their work which makes sense for remote workers with a lot of content to display. This can be one of the most impactful ways to connect with leads, build your online business and support a lifestyle while you travel. Having a branded website can be an effective way to introduce customers to your work and exemplify your brand and your mission without having to attend meetings with potential clients or conduct phone calls. This can help prevent time wasted by working with an uninterested lead.
Remote workers can also take advantage of social media platforms as a way of marketing their services and connecting with potential clients. There are more ways than ever to market your business online and new generations actually prefer to get to know a business through online research before attending an in-person meeting. It’s extremely common for Millenials and members of Generation Z to search for businesses using their mobile phones or from their personal computers so professionals hoping to create a reliable remote lifestyle can save time by focusing on networking using these digital channels.
The Pros and Cons of Remote Work
The jury is still out on the effects of remote working on the workforce, but many businesses are seeing increased job satisfaction and a boost to employee morale as a result of having more remote working opportunities. Employees are also stating less daily stress associated with their roles because of their remote work.
The idea that remote workers are less efficient as they face more distractions is turning out to be somewhat of a misconception and businesses that were once wary of encouraging remote work based on the fear that employees would be distracted and a detriment to their current projects should be hopeful based on recent trends.
Some of the cons associated with remote working involve a lack of social interaction and isolation. Despite having multiple ways of communicating with their teams and clients, many employees still value the consistency and collaborative environment that working in an office presents, so the success of remote working opportunities will highly depend on your work style and personality. Added freedom and flexibility provides the opportunity for improved employee morale, but it’s important to note that some professionals might miss out on the collaborative nature of consistently working face-to-face with a team.
The more common work situation seems to be one that combines both remote working and regular scheduling with office hours. Employees that function better as part of a team working face-to-face might find their work relationships suffering if they’re spending more than half the week working remotely while working one to two days from remote locations doesn’t seem to pose the same negative impact on relationships.
If allowing your employees to work remotely seems like it is not a feasible option for your organization, don’t write the idea off too quickly. There are a variety of ways to build up to making your business more capable of managing remote work schedules.
One way to start exploring the idea of remote work is to incorporate a few work-from-home days into the work schedule. Start with testing anywhere from one to four working days a month and incorporate a tool that can help you run analytical data on your employees to test their productivity rates.
This will be a good opportunity for your employees to demonstrate their independence and will also help provide you with a better idea of whether or not providing employees with remote work perks is something that benefits the future of your organization.
If you are at a place where you are offering employees a combination of mixed office days and remote work days but you are hesitant to make the final leap, consider exploring your options with services like WeWork.
WeWork is a real estate company that rents out office spaces to businesses that do not have permanent offices. You can use a resource such as this to help you transition out of your office space and into a fully remote team. Explore your options before deciding to either jump headfirst into the transition or write it off completely.
Anyone hoping to develop a lifestyle that allows them to work from distant locations should have a pretty optimistic view of their professional future. With the growing number of online tools and work that can be done solely from a laptop, the number of remote working options should grow in coming years, and professionals interested in securing new projects and collaborating with teams from afar should be in a good position to do so as long as they’re familiar with the opportunities that currently exist thanks to a digital and connected world.