Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Behold! The Remote Worker Renaissance is Here.

We’re past the early adopter stage. The tide has turned. And it’s coming your way. It’s time to embrace remote workers!

“We Don’t Do Remote”

I know. There are some of you that say you just can’t go remote. There is too much important chatter and information exchanged in the office. An employee out of the office doesn't form relationships they need to get information to do their job, and they aren’t able to collaborate as effectively as on-site workers. Remote employees also miss the level of contact with others they get in the office and the feeling of being part of the team. There is too much culture and shared experience remote workers miss out on. People in seats in the office also makes it easier to see them working. Tom Peters, the speaker and business management expert, talked about the important of Management By Walking Around (MBWA). Some managers struggle to monitor performance when they can't see their employee.

Get over it people!  These are real concerns, but they can be overcome!  They also don’t outweigh the benefits of remote work (for employer and company).

Talented Employees Want It

More and more people want remote work. Gallop has consistently found that flexible and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee's decision to take or leave a job. (I had this awesome link to support this with data but it's dead so you can check this out instead or refer to the dozens of other pieces about this out there). There is less time commuting - which often means more time for family, friends and hobbies. This is Work - Life balance, and is connected to lower absenteeism, less stress, and more happiness. It also can save a lot of money. The flexibility to work in pajamas, to plan your day and activities better, be more available to family in an emergency, or to work from different locations has massive appeal. Employees also enjoy being able to prioritize and plan their work, with less interruptions.

Companies Benefit Big Too

For the company, there can be significantly less cost associated with office space overhead (even when remote options are offered just some of the time, but certainly when a team member is 100% remote). Many companies subsidize commuting costs, which can offer another savings. Companies are also doing their part to cut traffic congestion and save the environment. Remote workers are more efficient and productive, being able to find focus when they work best, less distracted by coworkers, and have a higher availability. A Deloitte survey shows remote work is strongly linked to performance and employee retention. Remote workers scored higher on every other category measured about their work (loyalty, morale, you name it). Perhaps most importantly, the cost of salaries and time to hire can be drastically reduced when you are not limited to a geographical area. Talent in some parts of the country is cheaper than others, and many employees report willing to work for less in order to be remote.  Even if it's only to compete in the war for talent, companies need to find ways to provide successful remote working arrangements.

If you haven't already, it’s time to open your mind and consider making remote options work. Time and tide wait for no one.