As many of us know, working remotely became the new normal during the Covid pandemic. Even in 2022, 4.7 million people in the US still work remotely at least part time, and 16% of companies worldwide are full remote working.
But is working from home good for business? We’ll discuss it in this article, along with looking at the benefits of working from home (and some drawbacks).
What is Meant by Working Remotely?
The general working remotely definition is employees doing their job not in an office scenario. It typically means people working from their homes but could include any location that isn’t their company’s building. For example, it could be a café, on vacation, or anywhere else.
Another way of looking at the working remotely definition is employees doing their job without a commute. As such, it involves communicating with their company via email and voice and video calls. We might also call it mobile working, telework, distance work, or working from home.
Benefits of Working Remote
Depending on who you ask, there are plenty of benefits of working remote. From an objective perspective, the main benefits are:
It’s generally accepted that remote working equals higher productivity. This is for numerous reasons, including fewer distractions, less anxiety, and being in a more comfortable environment.
In fact, one survey found remote workers are 77% more productive than when they worked in an office. After all, if you’re at home in front of a computer, there’s nothing to distract you from working.
Another clear benefit of working from home is decreased cost, both for companies and employees. For example, not commuting to an office means less money spent on gas or public transport. Also, it can often save employees from paying for expensive childcare to cover the hours between school pickup and the end of the day.
Companies theoretically benefit from working from home jobs because they can save on infrastructure costs. While they might still need to rent an office, it could be smaller than before. Also, they can save on things like electricity and HVAC bills, simply because there are fewer people in the building.
Reduced Staff Turnover
Working from home jobs typically means happier employees and, by extension, reduced turnover. Flexible working conditions, being in their own homes, and even a lack of commute lead to employees that are more content with their jobs.
In one survey, 69% of employees said they’d give up job benefits to work remotely. In another, 99% of people said they’d choose to work remotely for the rest of their careers. These stats alone should illustrate the preference for working from home.
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Challenges of Working Remotely
Of course, working from home jobs aren’t all beneficial, at least not for everyone. Some of the challenges companies face include:
Isolation and Motivation
There’s no denying that working from home is isolating when compared to working in an office. While this might affect employees with families less, it can be a big issue for those living alone.
In turn, this can impact both team spirit and decision-making. After all, it can be difficult to feel part of a team when you’re separated from everyone.
Transparency and Visibility
Similarly, having a team of remote workers can reduce transparency. If everyone is working alone at home, you generally have to take their word on how much work they’re doing. Granted, there are ways to track productivity, but these can be gamed fairly easily.
Communication and Collaboration
For many, online communication doesn’t come close to in-person conversations. Video calls have different etiquette, and we often miss out on social cues that would help us when face-to-face.
This, combined with delays in text messaging programs, can severely impact the way employees communicate and collaborate. Plus, there are fewer opportunities for the kind of impromptu conversations that can lead to great ideas.
Much like transparency, tracking productivity is a big concern among management in remote working companies. It’s led to a rise in screen recorders, mouse trackers, and more, which all check how much work employees are doing. How a company chooses to track productivity with working from home employees depends on the type of work they’re doing.
Tips to Motivate Your Virtual Team
While the challenges of working remotely are clear, there are ways to address them. Consider these motivational tips and you should reduce the chances of them happening.
1. Set Clear Expectations
This is a no-brainer, as it’s something you’d do with in-person working, too. Make sure employees know what you want and when, and revise your expectations based on working from home scenarios.
2. Allow for Flexibility and Autonomy
However, combine this with flexibility and autonomy. For example, if someone needs to go pick up their kids, let them clock out for a few hours. Similarly, give people the autonomy to make their own decisions (within reason), and you shouldn’t have to worry about a lack of productivity.
3. Foster Accountability
With autonomy comes accountability. If you plan to let your remote workers be flexible with their time, they must give something back. This means they take responsibility for their actions and decisions, both positive and negative.
4. Provide Adequate Recognition
Finally, make sure employees are recognized for the work they do. This’ll help not only with productivity but also with team spirit. For example, if you used to do pizza days or PTO gifts, think of a remote working alternative (such as gift cards or early finishes).
Improve Your Team’s Productivity with Textr Team
One of the cornerstones of a productive team is effective communication software. With Textr Team, you can keep your team in touch while working remotely. Not only can you bring your whole team on board in one place, but you can also assign multiple mobile numbers and use numerous tagging and do not disturb features. Better yet, account management is hassle-free.
Start your 7-day free trial today to see how Textr Team can improve your remote working collaboration. Download for iOS, Android and web browser here.
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