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Remote working: should 2019 be the year you embrace a remote workplace?

To the traditional office worker, remote working may still seem like witchcraft from an alien world. However, to many it is becoming a successful move for businesses to take. Remote working is on the increase, and organizations worldwide have been reaping the benefits of this new way of working. Remote working may not be suitable for all, but it is certainly working for many modern businesses. This post will look at whether 2019 should be the year that you and your company embrace a new remote structure.

Flexible Working

Remote working offers superb flexibility. Employees can easily work and collaborate with colleagues from anywhere in the world, be it at home or in a coffee shop. This is making it something that more people are searching for in a job, especially young tech savvy professionals. This isn’t because they are lazy millennials, but because they are the generation that truly understands and loves to utilise technology.

"Remote working is
more flexible and even more effective, because it allows employees to work
without restrictions. Additionally, it allows for the employee to work during
peak hours where they might be more productive." Shemifhar Freytes, Commercial Acoustics

Remote working is also popular amongst parents. The ability to make work flexible and fit around people’s children and daily tasks is a huge benefit that can really help boost productivity for all parties. Emma Heuston, Author of The Tracksuit Economy - how to work from home productively and effectively, states that "the ability to work remotely has meant that she is not bound by her work and is able to decide where she lives. Remote working also gives her the autonomy over her day and schedule, particularly as she chooses to spread a 4 day working week over the 5 day week during school hours."

Another huge benefit of working remotely is that it is a facility to overcome disruptions such as adverse weather, travel disruption and essential appointments.

Enhanced Communication

Communication is Key. Many would think that having workers stationed in numerous locations would make communication harder. However, with today’s telecommunications technologies, it’s easier than ever. 

Technology is allowing workers to communicate more often, as well as freely and openly. This creates a communication culture where the team feel more comfortable and relaxed with one another. Group calls, meet ups, team video chats and the use of chat platforms such as Whatsapp are popular and extremely useful." - Alpine Security

Moreover, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is looking to conjoin Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Instagram Chat to provide the ultimate chat platform. This is something that could streamline remote working communications.

Additionally, a communication culture aids collaboration, which is proven to better workplace performance. Legal & HR Remote Work consultant and founder of The Remote Expert adds that "proving all parties are on board with the remote work model, communication actually becomes better within a remote team. The reason for this is that without face to face contact, the team does not take things for granted and tend to spell things out more clearly in their emails, online chats and phone and video calls. Techniques such as screen sharing are also used which give communication and training a new aspect."

This enhanced communication can also aid management. As an employer or manager, being able to delegate and monitor from where ever you are is a huge benefit of remote working. This can be joining conference calls from the car or video chats from the train. Alongside this, time management is pinnacle to the success of remote working. Apps such as Teamwork allow employees to log their activity from wherever they work, in turn allowing employers to monitor performance.

Jacinta Richmond, a qualified journalist, respected fashion writer, former publicist and published author feels that communication is the key to remote working. She says: "If you open the doors to communication, if you communicate well and if your team communicates well, then it works well. Having to chase people and not just be able to call them into your office to ask if work is done and (if not) what you need to do to get them support is a drag. It's just the same as outsourcing any task."

However, as our expert, Zena Ryder from Boudica Writing points out, that there are pros and cons to remote working. She says: "I think whether remote working is right for you depends partly on your self-discipline. It can be great if you're able to get your work done despite the constant temptations of social media, Netflix, the fridge...

"I love the flexibility of being able to work whenever I want, to take a day off whenever I want, to help my homeschooling son with his Math when he needs me, and so on.

"Should we all become remote workers? I doubt it. Some people might have problems with social isolation. But I'm an introvert and I don't mind not seeing anyone (other than my family) during the work day. I do end up seeing people though — subjects I'm interviewing for stories, networking events, and fellow freelancers who are helping me out in one way or another."

Ultimate Security

Remote working comes with the need for moving your work space to a cloud-based system. This comes with fantastic benefits when it comes to securing your work and information. Cloud storage platforms such as Google Drive offer users a reliable back up system that will automatically sync to the cloud. This is done using software, and so in the case of damaged hardware, your work will remain safe. This also means that the same work can be accessed and edited in numerous locations by any number of employees who have been granted access.

The other element of security is that cloud stored data is safer. Cloud providers’ central focus is to keep data safe. The best way to think about this is that Google are likely to have far better cyber security than your business, simply due to the research and funding that they put into their own security.

Cloud services also offer the ability to kill devices and remotely lock them. Again, the best way to think about this is if you have ever lost your Debit or Credit Card. You can ring the bank and they can automatically block any transaction from it. Killing or locking remote devices is much the same.

Nikki Knieriem, Owner and Director of Mum-Me Fit Time, says: "With big plans to move interstate to a regional area and with young kids still at home, I knew I would need to take employment into my own hands. Working in my current industry, but also working remotely were at the top of my wish list and if you are creative enough, you can find a way to make it work. I’ve now been working as an Online Personal Trainer for one and a half years.

"One of my top tips is in regards to security. Ensure you have excellent technology systems in place and have a back up plan for when technology fails."

Jacinta Richmond, a qualified journalist, respected fashion writer, former publicist and published author feels that communication is the key to remote working. She says: "If you open the doors to communication, if you communicate well and if your team communicates well, then it works well. Having to chase people and not just be able to call them into your office to ask if work is done and (if not) what you need to do to get them support is a drag. It's just the same as outsourcing any task."

Better performance

Elena Korolkova, Founder of Kick Consulting, says: "Most of my work is done remotely and in my previous role as a Practice Manager of a large financial planning firm, I spent over 75% of my time working from home. I would come into the office 1 day every fortnight to get exposure to the culture and the social side, however, those days were much less efficient than the one I did from home.

"How is remote working more flexible? To allow for remote work companies have to migrate to KPI/Tasks-completed management style (most of the companies are still on the "hours-spent-in-front-of-the-computer" management style). Once the management starts to evaluate each person's performance by how they complete their tasks, it allows staff to do those tasks in their own when they are most focused and driven. Currently, there is a lot of time wasted by making sure people in the office meet their 8 hours per day quota and go home."‍‍

Selina Johnson says: "I’m a Business Support Expert providing elite Virtual Personal Assistant services to established entrepreneurs and small businesses remotely. Before I set up my business, I worked for a medium-sized company in London. I struggled with the work-life balance due to the long work-hours and 3-hour daily train commute to London and was on the brink of burnout with the physical and mental exhaustion of doing 13-hour days with little sleep, whilst caring for two children under the age of 3.

"Since launching my business I have halved my working hours and doubled my income, with no commute. My productivity and efficiency have increased and with this gained flexibility I am free to live the life I love. Now that I work remotely, I can talk about the advantages; high-level results I achieve in my business and clients, increase in productivity and free time to focus. Working remotely is the best thing I have ever done."

Paula Tucker, Founder of Spark CFO, says: "For me, working from home offers less distraction. There's less people, noise and general interruptions, so I'm generally more productive. This isn't the case for everyone though, and sometimes you need be disciplined and focused to make sure everything gets done."

"Marco Rosano from Soul and Wolf adds: "Remote work is incredibly more flexible. Remote team members are responsible for the delivery of their own work and so they manage their own time from wherever (in the world) they are. The very notion of 'sick leave' or 'annual leave' is then challenged. What is annual leave if someone is already working from a beach and can deliver work on their terms..."

Expert Insight...

"Varying up my location keeps me energised, and helps me think more creatively and bring fresh eyes to my writing. I work from everywhere from the lounge to the library, via coffee shops and cosy corners. The other day I was even on a boat! I think it keeps me stimulated and inspired, which has got to be good news for my clients." - Francesca Baker, andsoshethinks.co.uk

"Remote working has really changed our business. Avoiding traffic lets me save over 10 hours a week in commuting. With lots of online SAAS tools it is easier than ever to work as a team, even if you are not in the same physical space." - Aodhan at waster.com.au

"The most profitable business are those that trust their staff, invest in talent and are able to use the best people - no matter where they are located. "It is truly a global economy now, and many companies rely on talent in many countries, not just areas of the same city" - Joanna Wells - from taylorwells.com.au

"Remote working is a great way of rewarding your employees. Giving them flexibility, which is often needed but not available, gives them flexibility which, later on, can result in better overall work satisfaction. These, all together, make remote working a great solution for both employer and employees, creating a win-win situation which benefits the business itself." - Jakub Kliszczak from CrazyCall

"We started our business with a local remote team. Our team of 12 employees now work from their homes or the client's office. We started it this way because we couldn't afford to do it otherwise. Now there would be no point in offices, as my team would not be there (and would not want to be). This gives both the business and our team enormous flexibility and cost savings." - Natasha Hawker, Director of Employee Matters

"Working from home is not an opportunity to work in your PJs and keep on top of the laundry. It is a challenge to see how much productivity you can pack into a single day and how you can use the comfort of your home to deliver the best results to your clients.” - Janice Formichella from janiceformichella.com

"Working as a remote freelancer is flexible but hard. You get to enjoy the perks of working in your PJs and blasting music out loud. However, not many companies who have the budget need freelancers because they have them in-house already. Do not be fooled by all the stories of easy-money as a freelancer. They worked very hard (harder than a 9-5 worker) to land those big gigs that they've selectively shown to you. Thus, it's much more flexible as compared to the 9-5 but you have to work to  get there with a sustainable income too." - Jamie Cheng, Co-Founder of Digital Alpha Agency

"I have been remote working since 2004 when I left my role as a Brand Manager in high tech (video gaming) and began consulting in PR. Over the past decade and a half, the work place has transformed beyond recognition. My client's believe that is proven that remote based workers generate better effectiveness and results than onsite workers, plus they are happier (often). Communication is enhanced by office based teams being respectful of scheduled meetings as that is a focused time to interact with the remote worker, rather than sporadic communications and relying on bumping into them." - Leigh White, Coach and Communications Advisor

"We are a small team of people who have been making marketing campaigns and strategies for years now. We work in 5 locations, spread over 3 countries on 2 continents. We always, ALWAYS, use video-calling instead of email in order to get each others' knowledge, and discuss and share things. Video always works better, because you see what people mean. It was a game changer to make this our guideline: always see each other in the eye. It makes a big world small." - Harrie van der Lubbe, Full-Stack Creative Developer at Call TheONE

"Remote working has become so popular that everyone is looking for freelance jobs nowadays. Content marketing, graphic design, social media management, email outreach, video producers and almost every field of work is available online right now. I think this is the best time in human history where failure is so difficult now. Everyone can succeed with the right efforts. I think we should all become remote workers. Becoming a freelancer gives you a wider perspective to enjoy your life, to spend time with family, to be your own boss, and make money with peace." - Kulwant Nagi, Blogger at Blogging Cage

If you are looking to go remote in 2019, please don’t hesitate to find out more about how it can help your business on our blog. You can also request a quote to find the best deals on cloud computing services for contact centres.To the traditional office worker, remote working may still seem like witchcraft from an alien world. However, to many it is becoming a successful move for businesses to make. Remote working is on the increase, and organizations worldwide have been reaping the benefits of this new way of working. Remote working may not be suitable for all, but it is certainly working for many modern businesses. This post will look at whether 2019 should be the year that you and your company embrace a new remote structure.

February 18, 2019