Remote Working Improving Lives and Families
An apt from Claire O’Connell, Director, People & Culture, Canonical. This applies to individuals and companies who want to benefit from remote working.
Flexibility of Remote Working and how it is Affecting Lives
When we think about remote working, our imagination brings to mind, people working on their personal laptop from their homes, cafes, parks or other communal environments.
Remote Working is especially useful for parents who can work from home while raising their kids. Given the benefits, it seems surprising that not all employees get a chance to work from home. In some countries and cultures, work from home immediately conjures up an image of a person sitting next to a laptop and watching daytime TV.
Such countries do not get this remote working flexibility. Many countries are trying to experiment with Remote Working and implement state laws and regulators too.
Recently Japan did a trial run for Remote Working in anticipation of managing traffic for the upcoming Olympic Games due in 2020.
Many people experience self-doubt and they find it difficult to get the work started and keep oneself motivated and on track with the impending deadline. Furthermore, many people prefer the routine attached with going to work and also the human company that one gets to experience while at work in an office.
Working from home is the preference for many employees. But there is another group of people who identify themselves as digital nomads, who work while traveling and feel comfortable working in conditions like café with plenty of background noise as they can easily phase out all the background noises and get their work done.
However, remote working is no longer an alien term. With the emergence of technology, remote working has become a key part of our work culture. Technology has been leveraged to make work a collaborative and immersive experience.
Today we are accustomed to working in a space where our colleagues are working remotely. And this trend is emerging strongly and is here to stay for the long run. Gone are the days when employees worked 40-hour work week, with a team of colleagues located in the same office building.
When my boss asked me who is the stupid one, me or him? I told him everyone knows he doesn’t hire stupid people.
Work environments do leverage the strong potential of technology to turn the workplace into a highly flexible and high customizable work environment. Remote workers simply need this, they are asking for flexibility in their work environment.
It empowers the employees to work from whichever location they choose, and whatever time they wish to work. They are able to fit their work around other important things in their personal life such as childcare. Also, they are able to do away with the trouble and cost of commuting on a daily basis.
Companies recruit the best talent and save on the cost of facilities in the office. The setup is win-win for both the employees and the company.
Companies Embracing Remote Workers
The internet has been the game changer. It has given rise to a number of opportunities, job profiles that were unheard of in the last decade that came into existence a few years back and spurring the growth of many businesses and solopreneurs.
Thus connecting solopreneurs to lead or projects and connecting the clients to talented and experienced professionals. ProFinder, the brain child of LinkedIn does something similar. It connects solopreneurs, freelancers and remote workers to projects or leads.
Remote Year founder and CEO Greg Caplan said, “Productivity has moved to the cloud; great work can be done anywhere. People are more creative and productive when they’re inspired by their surroundings.” The all permissive availability of the internet and the latest technology trends are keeping us passionate about work from remote locations. It is also good for digital nomads who combine work with travel.
A company called “ Remote Year” provides a service such that every subscriber or member who avail these services travel and work for one month abroad, after the one month they can move to another city and work from there. This gives them a flexible option to travel the world-explore twelve different cities across the globe.
This new generation of companies is facilitating remote work. The future is promising with more opportunities to work.
The Man Who Created Autocorrect Has Died. Resturant In Peace.
Remote.com is one such company that is establishing connections between remote workers and companies that are offering remote work opportunities. They provide a comprehensive solution for both hiring managers and job seekers.
It is a platform that allows users to work on full-time jobs, manage projects, and receive payment through a secured escrow payment system.
The Challenges of Remote Working
The most common problem experienced with remote working is the loss of face to face conversation. So performing work or completing projects that are highly collaborative in nature becomes difficult. In such scenarios companies embrace video conferencing, this although beneficial is not a perfect replacement.
Bosses generally feel that accountability is much low in case of remote workers. Micromanagement is usually required to keep the remote team on the right track allowing fast delivery of project requirements.
According to the type of job and the role played by the remote worker, it is important to figure out some metrics that will help to assess the performance of the remote workers; otherwise, it becomes difficult to get a sense of how they are working, and whether the project deliverables are on time.
Having some members of the team working from the office while other from home, can create envy and frustration in the employees working full-time from office. Bosses and managers have found it much difficult to handle such emotional conflict.
Moreover, the team does not really function as a cohesive unit, with full-time employees feeling the remote workers have less accountability and they are not genuinely part of the team, and remote workers feel excluded that they are not being treated as real teammates. Getting past this duality is crucial to assure the completion of projects.
A recently conducted survey asked 1,000 employed adults in the UK, who were aged 18 and over, to complete its poll in early 2017. It found that 48 percent of those aged under 35 feel that they are most productive when they are in the office. However, only 19 percent of respondents aged above 55 agree. — ZDNet.
The Compensation Dilemma
According to general perceptions that since remote employees work from home they should accept less pay. After all, they are enjoying the perks of working from one’s home. They do not need to travel and spend on childcare, office clothing or meals etc.
Their in-house counterparts are actually more entitled to a higher pay and benefits. However, remote workers argue that the math is not so simple. Remote workers certainly avoid some office related costs, but that is no justification for giving remote employees less compensation and benefits. Actually, they should be given an equal pay if not more.
Remote employees do work full time (40 plus hour week), hired to complete projects that are profitable for both the client and company. So the expectation from remote workers is equal to that for in office workers. Remote workers are equally accountable; they have to update their work status on a daily basis, and very often micromanaged.
Also, remote workers have to go the extra mile to stay connected through virtual meetings, emails, Skype calls to stay on the same page with the rest of the team and get the project completed.
Tools that help adopt the Remote Working culture are Slack, Skype, Zoom.
Remote employees must be equipped with a personal laptop, internet connectivity, phone etc to get the work done efficiently and they have to invest in these resources. Instead, the company should provide them with a new company laptop, company sponsored internet access, a company mobile phone, a virtual meeting software with live screen-sharing and whiteboard capabilities.
These resources are available to onsite workers. They do not get the company IT person to fix their IT problems, they are on their own to figure out the problem which can be quite frustrating. Instead, companies should provide the best resources and technology to help remote employees get the work efficiently and on time.
Consequently, remote employees who have been a valuable asset and have been working with the company for years should be highly rewarded. They should be given incentives, bonus, paid holidays, and another gratuity.
Such remote employees are a class apart as they are highly self-driven, resourceful, skilled, adaptable and more. They do not complain about Monday blues, or get bothered about standing out in the latest office fashion or get sucked into the office politics.
Instead, remote employees are hard working and sincere and must be compensated fairly for their consistent effort. Like on site office employees, remote employees should be given health and medical benefits such as affordable health insurance, paid gym membership, or complimentary access to wellness services like meditation and massage therapy.
All these benefits when given to remote employees the company show that they really care and value their remote workers. Encouraging remote workers to stay fit and healthy, and maintain a good work life balance.
It is very important to provide remote workers with fair salaries as their hard work, talent, knowledge, and experience must be recognized. They should be incentivized to stay loyal to the company’s mission and long term goals.
If they are generating value for your business then it’s only common sense to nurture them with further training and skill development. Giving them opportunities to grow is important to retain talented employees whether remote or onsite for the long term.
Giving them support, recognition, fair salaries, and perks will ensure that you are giving back to the employees what they in are giving to the company in terms of increased revenue and business growth.
Check out the List of companies where you can search jobs for Remote Working.