Computers have changed not only the way we work but also the way businesses are structured. Thanks to modern technology, work doesn’t involve millions of employees commuting to and from their offices each and every day, five days a week. Technology brings people together and enables teams to work without the need for meeting face-to-face. At the same time, this ability to work from virtually anywhere has blurred the fine line separating our personal and professional lives.
As the job market becomes more and more competitive, candidates are able to seek for dynamic work environments that include flexibility to choose their own work schedule and the ability to work from home. According to statistics, a third of all Millenials consider work flexibility, social media freedom and device flexibility more important than the salary when they accept a job offer. Modern employees value their freedom and their autonomy above everything else.
Until not that long ago, the Internet wasn’t fast enough and personal computers were less affordable, and so working from home was rather the privilege of the upper management, as these employees were perceived as having a much stronger motivation to work without supervision than everyone else. On the contrary, lower level employees were held accountable at almost every step of their work processes.
Back in 2012, Reuters sponsored a poll that showed about 17% of all workers commuted for at least a few days every week. In 2016, the same poll evidenced that number as closer to 40%, making it obvious that some of the lower level employees were also working from home.
How Can Businesses Hold Their Remote Workers Accountable?
The increasing number of telecommuting workers is partially due to the impressive development of time tracking applications and productivity monitoring software tools. Among the best examples of such software tools we can mention Veriato, Work Examiner and Interguard. These apps alone have been adopted by millions of businesses across all industries and areas of activity. Businesses can relax, as they know they can keep tabs on their work productivity in a fairly accurate and timely manner. However, the downside of such apps is that they can demotivate employees and lower their morale.
Businesses should find the right balance between their intention to protect their interests and the opportunity to offer their employees a positive and motivating work environment, in which to feel valued and trusted. Many employees consider such tools as just another method of businesses to spy on their workers. Businesses should address this concern before implementing any new piece of time tracking and productivity monitoring software.
One of the biggest wins of implementing technology in the workplace is the ability of larger teams to collaborate in real-time with other teams from all over the world. Time zones are no longer an issue, as this collaboration can take place even outside business hours. Being able to use such advanced collaboration tools at home has enabled employees to connect with their collaborators regardless of their time zones and working hours.
Why Would A Business Need A Remote Workforce?
A remote workforce can help businesses cut their overhead costs. Since you don’t need to rent as much office space as before, it comes without saying that your overhead expenses will be lower. Also, you won’t need to buy as much furniture to cater to the needs of your employees. In fact, you can start a business today by using only a computer and an internet connection – all thanks to the submarine cable systems between nations and continents. With more and more accessibility to top-notch software tools, any business owner can run their operations from home, without the need for a brick and mortar office. This means the entry barriers to entrepreneurship are now lower than ever before.
As the ability to cater to remote employees becomes more important, tech companies invest in cloud-computing solutions more than ever. These cloud-based apps allow employees to access various documents and software from any place in the world, provided that they have access to an internet connection. You can even conduct your operations from the coffee shop near your home or even from the beach. The location would make no difference to the user experience.
The ability to telecommute is one of the things that can do wonders for your team’s morale. The general assumption that allowing people to work from home leads to a decrease in productivity is wrong. Even if it were true, the decrease in productivity will surely be compensated by the steep decrease of your overhead expenses. Generally speaking, allowing people to work from home can’t be a loss.
Are People More Productive When Working From Home?
Much to everyone’s surprise, many of the employees who work from home are actually more productive. They are also less prone to quitting their employer and more satisfied with their jobs. One study showed that subjects working from home for a period of nine months were 13.5% more productive than their colleagues who worked in the office. Other survey found that over 90% of remote workers believed they were more productive when working from home.
The truth is that the office environment can be a lot more distracting than businesses and employees may think. Working from a cubicle is one of the biggest productivity killers of all times. Also, snack breaks, countless meetings and the chatter of other workers can disrupt people from doing their work.
Another secondary effect of working remotely is that workers communicate less often with their managers, but they do it in a more effective and more concise manner. Thanks to cloud-based software and collaboration tools, teams can streamline their communications for better productivity.
How To Draw The Line Between Personal And Professional Life When Working From Home?
Technology has definitely made our life better and our work more convenient. However it has also contributed to blurring the line between our personal life and our jobs. Some people work round the clock, as they are always connected to their email accounts and to their business tools. They turn their days into a mix of personal activities and work tasks, and therefore end up exhausted and burnt-out. This is something to keep in mind when choosing to allow your teams to work remotely. There are both pros and cons to working from home. Businesses and employees can benefit from this flexibility, provided that they do make efforts to accommodate and to draw a line between work and family time.