As with most great innovations, there are still far too many businesses determined to hold onto comfortable traditions like the corporate office. Those businesses who insist on keeping their offices are the equivalent of an eccentric car collector; all too happy to throw a lot money at something destined for the scrap-heap.
Every popular myth about remote working can be debunked, which I will now proceed to prove in this article.
‘Employees Won’t Work if They’re Not Being Watched’
The fear of employees abusing the system is something more related to the problem of providing proper motivation, and less to do with the nature of the system itself. If businesses are afraid that their employees will take advantage, then they need to rethink how their recruitment, reward, and managerial systems work.
In fact, research has shown that remote working can actually make employees more productive: one study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 35-40% of remote working respondents were more productive.
Other research has shown that remote workers perform better; studies conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that enabling employees to control their workspace made them happier and more motivated.
Remote working can be a powerful productivity tool, as different people work better under different circumstances: so giving them the autonomy to decide where and when they work is a much smarter way of doing things.
‘Employees Need to be in the Same Location to Work Together’
With the sheer number of online communication and collaboration tools now available, working from different locations is no barrier to working together. By implementing just a few of these tools, entire departments can be connected and managed regardless of distance.
From clever task management apps such as Asana and Microsoft Planner, which enables managers to dish out and monitor employee workloads, to collaborative software like Office 365 and Google Docs allowing teams to co-operatively create and review documents, working together has never been easier.
Communications between employees have also improved; with so many more avenues and options to choose from, there’s really no excuse for radio silence. Aside from the obvious choices of email and VoIP, employees can also connect over instant messaging services such as Slack, or hold video conferences through Skype for Business.
‘We Need an Office to Store and Maintain Our Equipment and Infrastructure’
Using an office space to hold and maintain business equipment and infrastructure is considered the more expensive and restrictive way of doing things nowadays. With unified communications making hosted solutions more accessible and reliable, having to purchase and maintain expensive systems is no longer necessary.
This technology is even being adapted to tackle a variety of industry concerns; such as tightening security over customer data (a hot subject with GDPR fast approaching), and maintaining a professional company image.
What’s more, is that choosing a hosted infrastructure over an in-house one, ensures that not only will businesses not suffer from disasters such as office fires and flooding, but will also save money by not having to maintain their own infrastructure.
‘No Office Means No Employee Culture’
Unlike a traditional business structure, remote working enables a much greater level of freedom and flexibility when it comes to building a company culture.
For one, remote working has proven to greatly benefit employee wellbeing; both mentally and physically. Studies conducted by psychologists at the California State University found that remote working led to employees feeling more energised and increased their creativity levels. Additionally, the increase in life/work balance that comes with remote working, enabled them to devote more time to their health, as well as remove any stress caused by commuting and office politics.
These benefits are persuasive enough to suggest that employees would take a 10% pay decrease to not have to travel to work every day. In fact, they’re so persuasive, that employers are using them as incentives to hire better candidates and increase their retention rates (95% of employers believe that flexible working has an impact on retention rates).
Remote working is the future of the workplace. The technology shows it, the research shows it, and the market shows it; as more and more leading enterprises begin to adopt the practice (American Express, Mozilla, Etsy, and Trello amongst them). The benefits speak for themselves, and it’s just a matter of whether or not businesses have the courage to take the plunge.
Guest Blog by Alex Meehan of RedSquid Communications
Alex has been writing for Redsquid Communications since she was first taken on as their content creator back in 2016. She is singlehandedly responsible for over 50 blog articles, and continues to develop Redsquid’s online voice to this day.
Editor’s note: This article was submitted in time but published late due to a clerical error.