A hot topic among company executives has been remote work. Should employees be allowed to work from home or other places around the globe? If so, how frequently? How will they log hours, and how will their output be measured?
Like most things, the answer depends. It depends on your company, the goals, organizational structure and the employees. If your organization is built of people that have no motivation and will lie about their hours while not getting anything done, then remote work is a very bad idea.
In, most cases, though, remote work can be extremely positive, and its implementation should be a high-priority. Assuming that your employees care about working hard and you have good systems in place to track and measure output, you should allow more remote work.
Here is why:
Employees will be more efficient.
By the time most people enter the working world, they know what it takes for them to be productive. If that means being in the office for ten hours each day, then so be it. If someone works better from coffee shops or from their bedroom, though, then allowing them to do so will increase their output.
Expecting that everyone will work their best in the same space each day in your office is not a very reasonable expectation. This is especially the case with the distractions that come from an office.
They will be happier.
A move to allowing remote work is also an admission of faith in your employees. It tells them that you trust them to do good work from wherever they would like. This faith can motivate employees to both try harder, and they will better appreciate your leadership.
The trust can definitely be broken, but high-output employees that want to be in their roles will only work harder when you give them the chance to pick their poison.
It gives people a break from one another
Building a strong and collaborative team is critical, and it is one strong reason against remote work.
That being said, putting the same people together five days a week for 8+ hours each day can become a lot. Employees can grow tired of each other. Remote work, on the contrary, gives them an opportunity for a break. They can decompress, and it will lower the chances of pent-up anger with others.
It will open your employment to larger numbers of people.
Allowing remote work will also permit a wider range of people to work for your business. It means that mothers who need to be home can work and so can people who are traveling. Additionally, if someone needs to move location for external reasons, like a sick relative or the relocation of their spouse, you can retain them on your team.
It will also open the door for full-time remote employees that want to work for you. Many millennials want to travel and live in a variety of different countries these days. They often have a harder time finding jobs because many companies will not accept them. This does not mean that they are not able to add the same level of value, though. They will just do so from a different location.
As you set up these processes and infrastructure to monitor remote work, it can include employees from outside the country. You will eventually not need to have people in the office for them to contribute to your team. This can dramatically save costs, as salary standards in other countries are often cheaper than our own.
It will save your employees time and money.
Whenever employees work remotely, they do not need to make the commute to the office or pay for that commute.
This saved money will increase their happiness, and the saved time will make them more productive. There are correlations between commute time and happiness, and, therefore, when people have less time en route, they will put more effort into their job.
Technology today better permits it than ever before.
The technology supporting remote work is stronger today than ever before. Communication tools like Slack make it easy for someone to not be in the office and still contribute in similar ways. Plus, as many companies are embracing new working standards, they are sharing their tactics and learnings. You can use those to get a jump-start in your own processes.
Remote work also encourages diversity. You can bring on people from many different countries and backgrounds by enabling remote work. This will enhance the diverse and creative thinking that you have within your business. You will have a wider range of perspectives from people living all over the world as opposed to in one, or a few, locations.
Pay attention to the cons, but embrace the benefits.
There are definitely cons to remote work. Among other negatives, it could hurt team culture, you could have lower production from certain employees, and it can feel like a challenge to manage and set up the infrastructure to enable remote work in the first place.
Overall, though, the benefits outweigh the costs as remote work will yield all of the positives above. That will, ultimately, lead to higher levels of productivity, output and creative thought.