- 2 November 2016
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If you’re working in a modern office, chances are you have the option to work remotely a few days a month. This means that instead of having to head in to work from the office, you can simply set up your laptop and work from home — or the coffee shop, or the library, or wherever you choose. It’s one of the ways that employers are making jobs more flexible for their staff, and everyone is benefitting from this balance. Rather than confirming a manager’s fear that no work will get done if it isn’t being supervised on site, employees are just as productive at home, and there’s more trust being built on both sides.
Working remotely is the future for many industries, but what makes it both possible and successful? Let’s find out — and find out what to avoid as well:
How It’s Possible
The key behind the rising popularity of remote working comes down to one word: technology. Because there are so many advancements in devices and secure workspaces — not to mention many more avenues of digital communication — it’s easier than ever to work outside of the traditional office space. This means that companies can look to hire candidates outside of local areas, and employees can be more comfortable working from any location. It even provides a boost of goodwill to company culture, according to Sir Cary Cooper, professor of organizational psychology and health at Manchester Business School: “By enabling a culture whereby working anywhere is the rule — rather than the exception — employers immediately put trust at the heart of their company ethos — a key to providing a happier and more fulfilling relationship with its staff.”
It’s not only the hardware like smartphones and laptops that are making remote working both possible and popular, it’s the software solutions, too. Cloud ERP is a huge part of remote working; it powers cloud solutions that allow for collaborative work between colleagues, even if one is in the office and one is working three states away. Plus, cloud applications are becoming more secure than ever, which allows everyone to rest easy and not worry about any potential cybersecurity disasters.
But just because you can do your job remotely doesn’t mean you can forego good communication practices — in fact, it’s more important than ever. A Hubspot blog post notes that regular and effective communication is vital to successful remote working, and that means everything from reaching out constantly to other teammates to taking a few extra minutes to read over your emails and instant messages before you send them. Although it’s great that technology is making working from anywhere possible, you need to ensure that you yourself don’t end up sounding like a robot!
The Future of Work
Although there are still some industries that don’t lend themselves well to remote working, the ones that can make it possible are pushing the trend forward. It’s not just confined to tech-heavy sectors either — TechRadar reports on a Citrix survey that found more than 50% of businesses in the UK will adopt flexible and remote working practices by 2017. “And when we get to the close of the decade, that percentage should increase to 70%, so the study guesstimates,” it adds.
Other than improved technology, another driver of remote working is millennials. This demographic already has a firm presence in the workforce, and they come to expect a little more flexibility in where they’re allowed to work. (Given their level of tech savvy, they already know their way around working remotely.) Since Generation Z is set to be the next round that enters the workplace, employers can expect even more candidates who have never known a world without internet connectivity — and who are prepared to work anywhere, anytime.
What all this means is that if you own a business that wants to attract young, fresh talent, you’ll want to look into mobilizing your workspace so your employees can connect from anywhere, not just the office. As top candidates begin to expect more freedom in choosing where they work from, it’s up to employers to provide the hardware and software solutions to make it possible.
Prepare for Remote
There may still be some lingering issues with remote working — a lack of social communication; constant fears that work won’t be completed unless staff are in the office from 9 until 5 — but the truth is that the trend only seems to be moving upward. If remote working really will increase to 70% by 2020, then it’s smart for businesses to equip their infrastructure with cloud solutions as soon as they can. It’s always better to be an early adopter than an outlier.