Embrace the future
The world goes remote. Home office, flexible working arrangements and working remotely are a global phenomenon. According to the latest PGI survey 79% of knowledge workers say they work from home quite often and 60% even say they’d change their current job to work remotely full-time. Embrace the future
More and more companies worldwide are offering their employees the opportunity to work remotely part-time or full-time. One of the reasons for this is that talents needed for a project, especially in the tech industry, are hard to find.
Upwork’s annual ”Future Workforce Report” shows the necessity of offering remote work. 63% are already following the trend and are taking advantage of the benefits that remote workers bring. However, the study also found that 57% of the companies surveyed don’t have the necessary policies for it. Policies around remote work are important for everyone involved to know the procedures, avoid confusion and ensure smooth processes.
If you’re asking yourself why you should take this trend seriously, even though the concept of a 9-5 office job has been working perfectly for decades, we’ll be happy to answer that for you. As experts in the field of remote work, we firmly believe that the future of work cannot be found in a regular office set-up.
Remote Work increases productivity
A study by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom recently published most interesting data on home office and working remotely. For more than 2 years, employees of Ctrip - China’s largest travel agency with 16,000 employees - have participated in this study and the results are astounding. A huge increase in productivity was measured, partly due to the fact that no one was late for work or had to leave early to be home on time for other appointments. In addition, 50% of the employees felt much healthier during this time. Fewer breaks were taken, fewer sick days were reported, even fewer vacation days were requested. As a small bonus, Ctrip also saved $2,000 in office rent.
Find out more about the study in this TedX Talk by Nicholas Bloom:
Mr. Bloom is not the only one with this opinion. ConnectSolutions CEO Michael Fitzpatrick says: “Our Remote Collaborative Worker study shows that remote work has clear benefits for employees and employers. Employees working from home are much more motivated and work harder as well as more efficiently to retain the personal and professional benefits that they enjoy doing home office.” He also explains that “the personal benefits for employees can also be seen as benefits for employers. On average, remote workers are happier, less stressed, and healthier, which reduces the cost of sick days and other absenteeism.” An overwhelming 77% of ConnectSolutions home office employees are more productive and 52% take fewer days off. 23% even say that at home they are willing to work longer to complete projects earlier.
Especially in the tech industry, young talents appreciate their independence more than any previous generation. The competition is strong and many even say that they would work for less money if they got more flexibility in other areas. That’s how strongly they associate remote work with freedom.
The tech industry is agile, dynamic and there’s something happening new every day. As an employer in this industry, it’s important to reflect this and be open to change.
Less stress for you and your employees
The relationship you have with your employees is important. If you make sure that your employees are happy and stress-free, it’ll also be more relaxed for you as an employer. Besides, what good does hiring the best talents do, if they don’t give 100%? A stress-free (or at least stress-reduced) work environment leads to more productivity and it’s more likely that employees give 100%, sometimes even 110%.
According to a study by Robert Half, 52% of employees across jobs say they feel stressed. Stress at work can quickly lead to exhaustion and your employees doing only the bare necessities.
With the option to work where you want, the stress factor reduces many times over. At home you automatically feel more relaxed and working remotely you also feel a certain kind of freedom that come with your job, which causes positive feelings. Take a look at this study on job satisfaction published in Forbes magazine. Only 24% of office workers say they are happy with their job, while it’s 45% with people working from home. And people who work remotely or have arrangements, where it doesn’t matter whether they come to the office, work from home or from their travels are even up to 58% more satisfied with their job.
In addition, the participants in this study were whether or not they usually meet their deadlines. There were clear differences ranging from “I can meet my deadlines, come what may, even if it means I have to work through the night” and “Sometimes I have to ask for an extension”. An overwhelming 87% of those who work remotely say they meet every deadline and only 13% of them occasionally ask for more time. In the office, this figure rises to 24%.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and completely throw all your company policies out the window, cause that won’t guarantee that everything runs smoothly straight away. There are some challenges you need to face. At CodeControl, we’re happy to help you with those. If you have any questions or would like some tips on the topic, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to the very short commute, employees working from home start the day motivated and stress-free. There are no spontaneous (and let’s be honest, sometimes unnecessary) meetings on the agenda, there’s no long chats in the coffee corner and the distraction is generally low. But they face other challenges, which, as an employer, you have to keep in mind. In a study on remote work, Buffer asked about the biggest challenges for employees who are not coming to an office, with the following results:
With the right approach, it’ll be a win-win situation
Employers place a high degree of trust in their home office employees, and it is precisely this trust and the freedom that comes with working remotely, that have a very positive effect on daily motivation. However, it is important to take the necessary steps to meet these challenges.
Don’t worry, we’ve got some useful tips for you:
1. Proactive management
1. Proactive management
One of the most important factors working remotely - if not the most important - is good management. Managers are not physically present, which can make the actual managing more difficult. As a manager, you have to find a way to stay in touch and be the contact person for questions and problems despite your physical absence. Effective management is more important than ever when leading a team of people who are based around the world.
Helpful tools for proactive management:
Boomerang is a Gmail plugin that is extremely useful if you work with lots of emails and communicate via email. With the plugin you can schedule your emails to fit your personal calendar. It’s also good for setting up reminders, telling you if your emails have arrived, and tracking responses.
Evernote can help your team stay organized. The tool is cloud-based and allows you to create notes with text and images that link to important information and sync directly to the cloud. You can use notes from any device and share them with others in the team.
Good old Google Drive. We’re certainly not telling you anything new here, but often teams are looking for an alternative for no reason. Of course, every team has to find a storage tool that works well for them, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. With docs, sheets, slides and many other functions Google is a good go-to tool, which synchronizes with all used devices.
2. Good communication
2. Good communication
If a team is not based in the country, let alone the same office, and may even never have seen each other in person, it is essential to communicate regularly and efficiently. That shouldn’t be a big challenge, thanks to a wide range of communication tools on the market. As a manager it is your responsibility to make sure that all employees on a project are kept up to date at all times. The communication channels should also be made clear from the start - which channel is used for which conversations and discussions?
Helpful tools for good communication:
BlueJeans is a video conferencing tool. It allows you to record meetings, which is very useful when discussing complex topics. For remote workers it’s important to sometimes connect a face with a coworker, as they don’t have those interpersonal daily interactions like grabbing a cup of coffee together.
Surfly is also a great tool to ensure good communication within the team. With Surfly, colleagues can simultaneously browse the internet and open a chat or video. You don’t even have to install a browser extension.
To demonstrate something or learn how to use a new tool, there is nothing better than a small intro video. Loom helps you with just that. The cloud-based tool is very user-friendly and is also ideal for user testing.
One of our favorites and also used by us is Slack. The tool lets your team communicate efficiently and can easily be integrated with other tools. You can set up different channels for different topics and have a clear overview of all communication channels.
3. The time zone challenge
3. The Time zone challenge
The advantage of being able to hire international talents by opening up to the concept of remote work also comes with the challenge of having team members based in different time zones. However, in this digital age, there are several ways to overcome this obstacle.
Helpful tools to overcome time zone difficulties:
Workplace is a kind of Facebook for the workplace. There are groups, chats and every employee has a personal account. You can easily keep up to date with relevant groups and projects and keep others informed about your work and progress.
When it comes to keeping track of specific tasks and areas, Trello might be helpful for you and your team. The Task Management Tool uses digital post-its to help you plan projects. Progress can be clearly marked and, for smaller teams especially, it is a good way to clearly assign tasks.
Every team and every manager has to find their own way how to deal with remote work, but these tools are good for getting you started. If you need any help or advice, you can always come to CodeControl. We work with a lot of tools that are suitable for employees working remotely and are happy to give you more tips!
How do I know that remote work is the right decision for me and my team?
Remote Work allows you to invest in specialized talents, which pays off in the long run. At CodeControl, we only hire the best freelancers who have all passed our 3 stage recruitment process (including a coding challenge) with flying colors. We believe that working remotely is the future of work and that trust beats micromanagement well and we are happy to help you with your first steps in this direction. The future that everyone is going on about, is now!