In this increasingly digital age the ability to work remotely is easier and more popular than ever, so why does the Office of National Statistics show that 87% of us were still hunched over office desks last year?
It would seem many business leaders are being told that their employees are not working as efficiently from home as they would be in an office. The ever-tempting Netflix and home baking may be being blamed.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously ended the work-from-home policy in 2013, believing it to be a less successful way of working. This despite the fact that remote workers are more productive than those based in an office. I believe remote working to be an effective, flexible, and ultimately more successful method of getting work done. There are undoubtedly benefits of working in an office but, having experienced both environments, I believe there are four main reasons why remote working works for us at B13 Technology.
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One of the incredible benefits of working from home is flexibility. Do you work better in the evening or are you an early riser? Working remotely enables you to take advantage of the hours you work best and allows you to fit business calls and meetings into your own custom-made schedule. This is particularly important when you’re dealing with teams in offshore offices. As long as you’re meeting deadlines and, quite simply, getting the job done, working from home makes sense.
- No Commute
It’s no surprise that this makes my top four reasons for remote working. In London alone there is an estimated 3 million people who make the daily commute to work via the London Underground. This commute is subject to numerous frustrating but equally unavoidable delays including traffic, tube strikes, late buses, and car problems. Consequently employees can arrive at the office late, flustered, and their motivation to work can be substantially affected. In comparison, remote workers can wake up knowing the journey to the desk downstairs is (generally) hassle free, quieter, cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and made in their pyjamas!
- More Enjoyable
This, for me, is an incredibly important aspect of working from home. For some, it is the ability to work in the aforementioned pyjamas, for others it is the control you have over your day. One colleague found working from home more enjoyable simply because they could play music in their office without disrupting anyone. Whatever the reason, I believe the happier you are, the more motivated you are to work.
- More Productive
The final reason I find working from home to be more successful is increased productivity which is a culminated result of having the ability to create your own schedule, the flexibility, and general enjoyment of working from home.
What do my colleagues say?
Charis: ‘This is the first experience I have had of working remotely and I have found it to be far more effective than working in an office. I work to my own schedule and can still contact my colleagues whenever I need to. In this digital world it’s not surprising remote working is on the rise.’
Elizabeth: ‘For me the benefits of working remotely are three fold:
1. My space is set up for my disability and I don’t have the difficulty of the commute
2. I can work to my schedule. This usually means I do some work in the morning, take a break at about 2 for a few hours and then do some work in the evening.
3. I really like that I no longer have to fuss about having a packed lunch every day.’
With the positives of working remotely, it’s only appropriate we also explore its flaws. Generally speaking these are the result of employees falling into bad habits.
- One such habit is failing to create schedules and tasks for each day. Working from home requires discipline and without it, you run the risk of failing to meet targets. Employees should be realistic but also strict with themselves.
- Work and personal spaces should be kept separate. Although it can be very tempting, employees should try not to work from their bed. They should be able to mentally disconnect from work when finished and working where they sleep won’t help with this! You don’t just have to stay at home, why not work in a local coffee shop? A different environment often improves productivity.
- Just as an employee should be strict with schedules, they should also be strict with their hours. If they start answering emails at 9 pm as well as 6 am, they will struggle to switch off and clients and colleagues won’t have the consistency needed for effective communication.
- Finally, healthy eating and exercise are important when the everyday commute to work no longer applies. Employees should get out of their chair, rest their eyes, and take regular breaks. This will enable them to feel refreshed, healthier and, in turn, will increase their productivity.
While not suitable for everyone or every company working remotely has been proven both effective and logical. An employee might attend work every day but why does their presence alone ensure productivity? Online platforms like Sococo, a method of communication between distributed teams, make working from home even easier. With a mixture of reasonable goals, schedules, and reliable methods of communication working remotely is extremely successful and I believe that eventually most of us will look back on the commute to work as a thing of the past.