Hybrid models of work might be the future for many organizations. However, people are still questioning the benefits of remote working to the organization’s growth. It is necessary for each organization to consider whether they should promote remote working, office working, or both simultaneously.
Learning about the deep insight of Remote working can help companies have a holistic view of remote working, whether it is beneficial to their business, what they should improve to avoid failing remote working teams, and more. And all you want to know about the benefits of remote working will be explained clearly in this article.
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How Remote working Means to Employers and Employees
A Micromanager’s Nightmare
… fine, so I don’t know your boss.
But it’s probably fair to say that if they agree with Elon Musk’s stance on remote work, they’re an advocate for micromanagement.
If you often find them standing over your shoulder, reminding you to CC them into every email or demanding detailed reports for tasks that take you 5 minutes to do but half an hour to evaluate, you know your boss is a Musk.
And if that’s the case, I can almost guarantee that your boss is against remote work.
Why? Because micromanaging is so much harder with a remote team. They can’t tap persistently on your shoulder or aggressively count the minutes per day you spend in the bathroom.
Not that that’s stopped them from trying. Some of the more extreme cases of ‘overbearing boss’ syndrome came out of lockdown, with apocalyptic-sounding ‘bossware‘ that can track your monitor and even read your messages to determine how ‘happy’ you are.
The irony, of course, is that you’d be much, much happier if none of this was happening.
This lack of trust from leaders translates to fear, high turnover, and a purge of creativity from remote workers. No one is happy in a micromanaged workspace, and as a result, no one is productive.
But that’s not what you want to show to your autocratic boss, is it? You want to project the image of someone who works well under pressure and someone who refuses to look away from their computer even when they hear concerning guttural noises from their dog.
So what do you do? You become one of the millions of workers worldwide who waste 67 minutes daily doing inane work to make it look like they’re doing something.
If you’ve ever found yourself messaging on Slack, or moving random tasks around a kanban board, just to explicitly show your management that you haven’t returned to bed with a Netflix controller, then you’re absolutely being micromanaged. Or you’re just very insecure about your job position.
In a memo to his workers, Musk said ‘the more senior you are, the more visible must be your presence’. That’s because, at Tesla, a boss’ ‘presence’ is their authority. The more present they are, the more pressure there is for those underneath them to be present, too.
But also, those senior members being more present makes it easier for their seniors, including Musk, to keep an eye on them. It’s quite the tyrannical loop.
What’s clear is that this kind of tyranny is tough to enforce with everyone so dispersed.
So, do your micromanaging boss a favour. Get to the office, glue your eyes to your screen, and don’t even think about going to the bathroom, you’ve already filled your quota for the day.
A Team Builder’s Nightmare
Teams that play together slay together.
Though I just made that quote on the spot, there’s quite a bit of truth to it. Bosses want their team members to gel because this leads to higher productivity in a very natural way, non-corporate way.
More often than not, they encourage this through team-building games, activities, nights out, and retreats. Very few of these are possible in a remote workspace.
As a result, your management can perceive your team as less cohesive and less cooperative. This, to be honest, is totally justified, and can lead to a lot of problems like mismanaged workflows, low team morale, and high turnover.
But the worst one of all is loneliness. Loneliness is the root of myriad problems in the remote workspace and is the biggest contributor to unhappiness while working from home.
The solution? Virtual team building.
Though activity options are more limited online, they’re far from impossible. We’ve got 14 super easy remote team-building games to try right here.
But there’s more to team building than games. Anything that improves communication and collaboration between you and your team can be considered team building, and there’s a lot that bosses can do to facilitate that online:
- Cooking classes
- Book clubs
- Show and tells
- Talent competitions
- Tracking running times on leaderboards
- Culture days hosted by team members from different parts of the world 👇
The default position of most bosses is to see a list of virtual team builders and pursue none of them.
Sure, they’re a pain to arrange, especially regarding the cost and the need to find the right time for everyone across multiple time zones. But any steps taken towards eradicating loneliness at work are very important steps for any company to take.
A Flexibility Dream
So the world’s richest man doesn’t like remote work, but what about the world’s strangest man?
Mark Zuckerberg is on a mission to take his company, Meta, to the extremes of remote work.
Now, Tesla and Meta are two very different companies, so it’s unsurprising that their two CEOs have polar opposite opinions on remote work.
In Musk’s eyes, Tesla’s physical product requires a physical presence, whereas it would be a shock if, on his mission to build the virtual reality internet, Zuckerberg demanded that everyone involved be in one place to do so.
Regardless of the product or service your company pushes out, repeated studies side with Zuck on this one:
You are more productive when you’re flexible.
One study from those long-lost years before the pandemic found that 77% of people are more productive when working remotely, with 30% managing to do more work in less time (ConnectSolutions).
If you’re still wondering how that could be, consider how much time you spend doing non-work-related stuff in the office.
You might not be able to say, but the data puts you and other office workers at spending around 8 hours per week doing non-work related stuff, including scrolling through social media, doing online shopping, and engaging in personal tasks.
Bosses like Elon Musk are consistently blaming remote workers for a lack of effort, but in any typical office environment, that same lack of action is pretty much built into the foundations, and it happens right under their noses. People cannot work consistently for two blocks of 4 or 5 hours, and it’s unrealistic to expect them to do so.
All your boss can do is be flexible. Within reason, they should allow workers to choose their location, choose their hours, choose their breaks, and choose to get stuck down a YouTube rabbit hole about fireflies while researching this article (sorry to my boss, Dave).
The end point of all that freedom in work is simply a lot more happiness. When you’re happy, you have less stress, more enthusiasm for work, and more staying power on tasks and at your company.
The best bosses are those that centre their efforts around the happiness of their employees. Once that’s achieved, everything else will fall into place.
A Recruiter’s Dream
The first contact you had with remote work (or ‘telework’) was likely with Peter, the affable Indian fellow who would call you from a call centre in Bangalore and ask if you need an extended warranty on your chopping board.
In the 80s and early 90s, outsourcing like this was the only kind of ‘remote work’ there was. Given that your chopping board has long since been binned, the efficacy of outsourcing is up for debate, but it most certainly paved the way for the globe-spanning recruitment that many modern companies engage in today.
Zuckerberg’s Meta is one of the best examples of recruiting without geographical limits. At least count (June 2022) they had about 83,500 employees working across 80 different cities.
And it’s not just them. Every big dog you can think of, from Amazon to Zapier, has accessed a global talent pool and handpicked the best remote workers for the job.
You might be tempted to think that, with all this increased competition, your job is now constantly in peril of being passed onto another Peter from India, who could do the same work for a much lower cost.
Well, here are two things to reassure you:
- It’s way more expensive to hire a new recruit than to keep you.
- This opportunity for global work benefits you, too.
The first one is fairly common knowledge, but we often seem blinded by fear of the second one.
More and more companies are hiring remotely is good news for your prospects going forward. You have access to so many more jobs than the ones directly within your country, city, and district. As long as you can manage the time difference, you can work for any remote company in the world.
And even if you can’t manage the time differences, you can always work freelance. In the US, the ‘gig economy’ is growing 3 times faster than the actual workforce, meaning that if your ideal job isn’t up for freelance grabs now, it might be in the future.
Freelance work has been a lifesaver for companies with some work to get done but not enough to hire a full-time in-house staff member.
It’s also a lifesaver for people who don’t mind forgoing a few company perks for the most extreme kind of work flexibility.
So no matter which way you look at it, remote work has been a revolution in recruiting. If neither you nor your company has felt the benefits yet, don’t worry; you will soon.
What are the Benefits of remote working?
Here are the 5 greatest benefits of remote working that you can easily discover when you manage a remote working team in both the short and long term.
- Flexibility – Benefits of remote working
Remote working offers flexibility to employees. Employees can choose when, where, and how to work. In particular, Many remote jobs also come with adjustable timetables, which implies that employees can start and end their day as they prefer, as long as they can accomplish and generate strong outcomes. It also allows them to keep their workload at an advantageous pace, empowering them to choose how to complete work tasks.
- Time and cost saving – Benefits of remote working
One of the biggest benefits of remote working is time and cost saving for both employers and employees. In terms of business, the company can save budget for the spacious in-site offices, along with other expensive bills. And the employees can save money and time for transportation if they live in a faraway location. If someone prefers to live in the countryside to enjoy better air condition and less noise pollution, they can afford an economical house rent fee with better house space and convenience.
- Work-life balance – Benefits of remote working
When job opportunities are not limited by geographic factors, employees can find a better job and work for a better company in a different city, which used to be their concern of time spent for caring family and children. They are less likely to have burnout as it is said that reduction in job stress by about 20% and an increase in job satisfaction is improved by 62%. In addition, they will be able to eat healthier and do more physical exercises. They can avoid dealing with toxic relationships in the office with other bad co-workers and their inappropriate behaviours.
- Productivity – Benefits of remote working
Many employers ask whether remote working really makes us more productive, and the answer is straightforward. There is nothing 100% guarantee remote working enhances productivity if your team is a low-performing team with irresponsible members. However, with good management, they can enhance productivity by at least 4.8%, according to recent research of more than 30,000 US employees working at home.
Moreover, employees can focus on their duty than spend time on small talk. They get enough energy and concentration to improve job performance as they don’t have to get up early and hustle on the bus or have to take a nap if their brain is overwhelmed or in a creative block.
- Global Talents – Benefits of remote working
With the advancement of the internet and digital, people can work in almost every place in the world, which allows the company to hire professionals around the world with different ranges of salaries and conditions. The diverse teams encourage employees to see things from multiple perspectives and think out of the box, leading to more innovative, creative ideas and effective solutions.
What are the Challenges when working remotely?
The benefits of remote working are undeniable, but there are challenges of managing employees’ work from home and other issues. It is a disaster if employers and employees fail to follow work standards and self-discipline. There is also a warning of mental problems for people who spend too much time at home with a lack of human interaction and communication.
Why does Loneliness Matter? Loneliness might be one condition that feels all too easy to sweep under the rug. But this ain’t no stomach ulcer (seriously, you should get that checked out) and this ain’t no ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thing.
Loneliness lives entirely within the mind.
It eats away at your thoughts and your actions until you’re a husk of a human, doing the bare minimum for your online job before spending the entire evening trying to haul yourself out of your negative funk in time for work the next morning.
- If you’re lonely, you’re 7 times less likely to be engaged at work. (Entrepreneur)
- You’re twice as likely to think about quitting your job when you’re lonely. (Cigna)
- Feeling lonely at work limits individual and team performance, reduces creativity and impairs reasoning and decision-making. (American Psychiatric Association)
So, loneliness is a disaster for your remote job, but it also goes far beyond your work output.
It’s a battle for your mental and physical health:
- Loneliness is worse for your health than alcohol addiction, obesity or smoking 15 cigarettes a day. (University of New Hampshire)
- Loneliness is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. (National Institute of Health)
- Loneliness increases your risk of death by 60 to 84%. (American Journal of Epidemiology)
Wow. No wonder loneliness has been declared a health epidemic.
It’s even contagious. Seriously; like an actual virus. One study by the University of Chicago found that non-lonely people who hang around lonely people can catch the feeling of loneliness. So for the sake of your career, your health, and others around you, it’s time to make some changes.
Remote working can cause distractions among employees while working from home. Many employers refuse to remain remote working as they believe in two main reasons, first, their employee’s lack of self-discipline, and second, they are easy to be distracted by the “Fridge” and the “Bed”. But it is not that simple.
In terms of mental condition, people are likely to naturally get distracted constantly and it is getting worse if there is no one to control and remind them like their co-workers and managers in the office. With low time management skills, many employees don’t know how to maintain a proper schedule for task completion.
Distraction also happens in inappropriate and poor workplaces. Home isn’t the same as the company. For many employees, their homes can be too small, disorganized or crowded with family members to work concentratedly.
Published by Statista Research Department, the report shows the immense data of reasons that affect employees’ concentration on their work during the coronavirus outbreak in the United States as of June 2020.
Teamwork and management issues
It is hard to avoid failing in teamwork and management due to working from a distance.
Managing remote teams is harder than you think. It is a set of challenges from lacking face-to-face supervision, lack of guidance and clear expectations to know how to accomplish the goal, tracking task completion and progress, and low productivity.
In terms of teamwork, of diverse team members’ backgrounds, leaders seem hard to deal with language and cultural differences, lack of frequent face-to-face interaction and communication among team members, leading to misunderstanding and biased judgments, and conflict arise and go unsolved such a long time.
Transition back to the office
In the post-pandemic period, people gradually back to normal life without home quarantine and social distancing. It means that companies also slowly move from a home office to an on-site office. The big problem is that many employees are reluctant to transition back to the office.
The pandemic has transformed work culture forever and people who are used to working flexibility seem to oppose being back to rigid work hours. Many employees show extreme anxiety about returning to work as it can affect their healthy habits and work-life balance.
Which type of industries should be working remotely
According to a McKinsey survey about 90% of surveyed organizations are switching to hybrid working, the combination of remote working and some on-site office working. Plus, FlexJob also mentions in its latest report, there’re 7 industries that can leverage remote working in 2023- 2024. Some are likely to receive the benefits of remote working while some are growing in demand for setting up more virtual teams for a hybrid working model including:
- Computer & IT
- Medical & Health
- Project Management
- HR & Recruiting
- Accounting & Finance
- Customer Service
Tips for working from home effectively
#1 – Get out of the house
You’re 3 times more likely to feel socially fulfilled while working at a coworking space.
We tend to think of working from ‘home’ as strictly from home, but sitting alone in the same chair with the same four walls all day is a surefire way to make yourself as miserable as possible.
It’s a big world out there and it’s full of people like you. Get out to a cafe, library, or coworking space; you’ll find comfort and companionship in the presence of other remote workers and you’ll have a different environment that offers more stimulation than your home office.
Oh, and that includes lunch, too! Head to a restaurant or have your own lunch in a park, surrounded by nature.
#2 – Organize a small workout session
Stay with me on this one…
It’s no secret that exercise increases the amount of dopamine in the brain and generally lifts your mood. The only thing better than doing it alone is doing it with other people.
Set a quick 5 or 10 minutes every day to exercise together. Simply call someone in the office and arrange the cameras so they’re filming you and the team doing a few minutes of planks, some press-ups, sit-ups, and whatever else.
If you do it for a while, they’ll associate you with the dopamine hit they get each day. Soon, they’ll be jumping at the chance to talk to you.
#3 – Make plans outside of work
The only thing that can really combat loneliness is spending time with people you love.
Maybe you get to the end of a working day where you’ve not talked to anyone. If it goes unchecked, that negative feeling can really linger throughout your evening and even into the next morning, when it manifests into dread on another working day.
A simple 20-minute coffee date with a friend can make a difference. Quick meetings with those close to you can act as a reset button and help you tackle another day in the remote office.
#4 – Use remote work tools
Success comes a long way with good self-discipline. But for remote working, it’s hard to say every employee can remain good self-disciplined. For both managers and workers, why not make it easier for yourself? You can refer to Top 14 Remote Work Tools You’ve Never Heard of (100% Free) to find a suitable way to improve your remote team’s effectiveness and teamwork. AhaSlides is among the top online support tools that can help your company ultimately deal with remote working challenges.
You can find out the complete list of tips to make your remote team happier and work harder with 15 Ways to Fight Remote Working here.
The Bottom Line
Many companies, especially high-tech industries, are forecasted of growing optimistically towards virtual working benefits. They believe they can control the quality of remote working rather than being limited by their challenges. Cause challenges come with benefits. More and more companies believe in the benefits of remote working and facilitate remote working or hybrid working.
You have noted many working remotely advantages and disadvantages, along with many handy tips to manage a remote team effectively. The time seems right for your company to start thinking of building a remote working team. Don’t forget to leverage AhaSlides to help you have better virtual interaction and communication with your team.