Remote workers are becoming more common, especially in the tech sector, but what are the benefits of remote workers? And why should you consider using them alongside your office workers?
The Benefits of Teleworking
First and foremost, from the employee’s point of view, remote working provides them with flexibility to work when they want. It also reduces the money they have to spend commuting to work (a huge factor for many employees) and can also be a great help to workers with children at home.
From the business side, it's attractive to staff. Yahoo lost a lot of good workers when it changed its policy to one that was negative about remote workers. The fact that remote working pairs well with childcare also means that more experienced, veteran workers are interested, as it affords them more time with their family.
Allowing a worker to be remote is also a sign that you trust them to work hard. This can be very rewarding for a worker and makes them feel more valued, whereas telling them they must work in an office so you can check up on them regularly has the opposite effect. Most digital workers are highly motivated and paid well, they don't need a supervisor checking up on them regularly, their job and wage is motivation enough.
More Productive, Lower costs
Remote workers are also often more productive than in office workers. Whilst they don’t necessarily work traditional hours, they often end up doing more work than the traditional office worker. For example, time that would normally be spend commuting can instead be spent working. Also, because their work is accessible from home, they can (and often do) spend additional time outside of conventional work hours catching up on emails or finishing up a project.
There is also (usually) less to distract workers at home, although admittedly the television and household chores can provide sources of procrastination. The home is often a much quieter environment more conducive to work than the office environment, which can be noisy and full of distractions.
Remote workers are often encouraged to use their own devices, this means less cost on the business end to maintain hardware and keep software updated. Furthermore, through the use of cloud services such as hosted desktops, you can still keep remote work centralised and easily accessible to all who need it. With the cloud, just because a worker is remote does not mean that they aren't connected to everyone else.
The Challenges Facing Remote Workers
The most obvious challenge facing remote workers is that they have no tangible link to the offices they're working for. This can lead to a workforce feeling fractured and having no sense of community, which in turn can stifle creativity. Furthermore, remote workers may frustrate those in the office by not being available when others are. Because of this, if you want a successful remote working culture it would be wise to instigate a few rules.
Firstly, whilst one of the benefits of remote working is the flexible hours, it’s prudent to instigate a set period when remote workers must be accessible to those in the office. For example, if your normal work day is 9-5, remote workers might be required to be contactable between the hours of 10 and 3, so that any problems emerging in the office can be dealt with that day rather than carrying over to the next.
It might also be advisable to implement reasons for remote workers to come into the office on a semi-regular basis. Be it once a week or even monthly, giving them a chance to feel a part of the company culture and for your other workers to get to know them as well.
If you wish to develop a sense of community further, then it would be wise to set up a forum or community on the company intranet. Here employees can enter into discussions with one another about both work and social events, getting to know one another regardless of their actual location. Taking these steps will ensure that your remote workers don't feel isolated from your in-house staff and vice versa.
Communication is Key
A remote worker system is heavily dependent on a strong communications link. Companies which harness remote workers often reap the benefits of cloud computing and storage because it allows their workers a lot more versatility and improves accessibility across the entire business. The faster your web connection and the more efficient your cloud services, the more your company can benefit from remote workers.
With competition for talented workers on the rise, remote working can be a winning feather in the cap of any employer, and is well worth considering when developing a workforce to take your business to the next level.
The power of cloud makes sharing online workspaces a doddle and services such as hosted virtual desktops are perfect for this. An employee can access all of their work applications and connect to the office anywhere that has an internet connection, making for a much more agile business.
Remote working and hosted desktop are a marriage made in heaven – why not ask us today what it can do for your business?
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