Remote working is evolving.
Opportunities that let you work remotely are growing.
Many organizations that were once rigid on remote working are becoming flexible and switching to a location independent ecosystem.
And the organizations that are resisting this change have been forced to adopt this model by a microscopic virus.
So will all the organizations move towards remote working? What are the future trends of remote working?
This post answers all your questions and in addition, gives you some tips on how to work from home effectively.
Table of Contents
- What is Remote Working?
- Current status of Remote Working
- Future Trends in Remote Working
- What are the benefits of remote working?
- What are the challenges of remote working?
- Tips for Remote Working
What is Remote Working?
Remote working is getting involved in any tasks for the benefit of your organization without being physically present in the office.
In the past, remote working was mostly associated with low paying jobs that involved the employee to sit on the phone for long hours talking to customers and solving their problem.
However, times have changed. Today even a highly paid programmer can work remotely thanks to the availability of thousands of tools facilitating remote work.
Interestingly, many people work remotely even without realizing it.
Ever checked your emails or attended office calls while you were on a vacation?
If the answer is yes, then congrats, you have joined the bandwagon of millions of remote workers across the globe.
Current Status of Remote Working
Enterprises have started realizing that remote working is a reality today and will be the primary mode of working in the future. Many large organizations across the world such as Zapier, WordPress, etc. already have 100% distributed teams.
Coming to the workforce, most of the millennials are valuing the flexibility of work more than anything today. In fact, a study by PWC reports that nearly 64% of the millennials would like to work remotely. This is quite a huge proportion of the workforce, clearly depicting that the future is remote working.
On the flip side, many organizations are still apprehensive to move to a remote working environment. But the prevailing situation across the globe has forced even these companies to make a switch to working remotely.
With nearly 8000 deaths and 200,000 positive cases and counting, the Novel Coronavirus has brought the world down to its knees. Malls, schools, and colleges have been mandated to shut down. However, enterprises have switched to the remote working environment to prevent a possible shut down like malls.
Future trends in Remote Working
The future of remote working is quite clear thanks to its massive acceptance by both employers and employees alike. Remote work communication tools like Slack and video conferencing tools like Zoom will become the preferred mode of communication and replace in-person interactions.
For organizations that are not completely ready to transition into remote working, advancements in remote working technologies will make them more relaxed. Such organizations will realize that resisting remote working will do more harm than good as most of the employees will switch to organizations offering remote work.
The role of Virtual Reality and Hologram will be profound in the future of remote working. For example, using VR headsets to see your team members in your house will give the best of both worlds, the comfort of your home and the professionalism of your office. Similarly, hologram technology will have interesting applications in remote working in the future. Holographic virtual assistants are already visible in various international airports assisting passengers. The time is not very far when this technology will find its place in your workplace.
Even in industries like oil and gas where it currently seems nearly impossible to generate remote working roles, Artificial Intelligence will come to the rescue. With the advent of telerobotics where robots are controlled by humans, a mechanical engineer can operate a robot remotely and use it to repair a faulty pipeline.
Lastly, with the current environmental issues such as pollution and global warming plaguing the world, organizations will be forced to adopt remote working as working from home could save millions of tons of carbon emissions. This will help the organizations to reduce their carbon footprint on the earth.
What are the benefits of Remote Working?
Remote working has multiple benefits both for the employees and employers. Both the parties have started to realize the advantages of remote working and are inching towards adopting it unanimously. Here are some of the possible benefits of remote working –
1. More Productivity
A study by Stanford University reports that remote employees are 13% more productive than their office counterparts. This is primarily attributed to the employees’ flexibility to choose their own work schedule and work at a time when they are most productive in a day. Also, remote workers tend to opt for fewer sick leaves compared to office goers as they avoid the possibility of catching any illnesses from social interactions or traveling to work.
2. Saves cost and time
Remote workers can save a significant portion of their daily expenses in the form of travel costs. This saving becomes even more significant when you are using your personal vehicle for commuting. A significant amount of travel time can also be saved when you are working remotely especially if you commute a long distance to your office.
1. Better employee retention rate
A flexible work environment has a positive impact on the employees’ mindset towards the organization. This flexibility also depicts the trust the organization has on the employees which again boosts their morale. All these factors improve the chances of the employees staying in their current job.
2. Saves Cost
Not only the employees save costs, but even the employers also save it by avoiding the money spent on running a physical workspace especially if you are in a city with a high cost of living. For instance, you can save the money spent on rent, electricity bills, buying furniture, etc.
What are the challenges of Remote Working?
Though it looks rosy to the outside world, remote working is not without its fair share of challenges. Here are some of the challenges that are commonly encountered by remote workers –
1. Lack of Social Interaction
One of the most important challenges that you might encounter while working remotely is the lack of social life. This will be even more pronounced when you do not have any family members or friends staying and working with you. You might miss the casual talks with your colleagues or even the impromptu water break chats with your friends that are quite common in the office.
2. Working too much
This is a commonly encountered problem by many remote workers. Since you have brought your office to home, the line between your office life and your personal life becomes even thinner. You start to cross the boundary regularly often ending up overworking even beyond your regular office hours.
When you work from home, you are bound to be distracted by multiple factors. It could be the television, or the courier delivery boy or even unannounced guests who plan to show up just because you are at home.
4. Communication Issues
Though technology has advanced to facilitate location independent tasks easily, you might still miss out on certain points about a task. These points would have been casually discussed by your colleagues during the lunch break and were critical for your task. But you missed it because you were at home.
5. Technology-related challenges
When you are at the office, the infrastructure is taken care of by the organization. You do not have to worry about slow internet or a faulty laptop. All these get resolved immediately by the in-house IT team. But when you are at home, you do not have this luxury as you are on your own.
Tips for remote working
It doesn’t matter whether you are a newbie or an expert in remote working, you need to set some ground rules and follow them religiously to ensure that you make the best out of your remote working.
Here are 6 essential tips for you to implement while working remotely –
1. Set a schedule and stick to it
Easier than it sounds, setting a schedule and sticking to it is the most important exercise that you should follow while working remotely. Ensure that you start and end your work at the same time every day. Take short breaks after regular intervals to rejuvenate yourself.
2. Maintain a dedicated working space
Create a dedicated workspace for yourself in your home. This should be ideally a table and chair in the quietest place of your house that has no disturbance. Adorn the workspace with your favorite items that resemble your office desk such as a family photo, a small plant, etc. Have all the essential items such as notepad, pen, headset, etc. handy so that you don’t have to scramble for it in the last moment.
3. Be available for meetings throughout the working hours
Often people mistake work from home as leaves and tend to start traveling during this time. As a result, when asked to join an impromptu meeting, they often end up picking the call while traveling. This not only displays a lack of professionalism from your side but can also cause a lot of noise during the call. Always stay at a dedicated place during the work hours and be available for all the calls irrespective of whether it is impromptu or a scheduled one.
4. If you are unable to work, take leave
There might be situations when you are ill or have genuine reasons to not work. During such times, ensure that you apply for leave. Enterprises understand that you have a family life and would encourage you to maintain a healthy work-life balance to boost your productivity.
5. Dress like you are in an office
Get ready to work from home just like how you would get ready to go to an office. Wear clothes that you would generally wear to the office. This generates a feel of professionalism around you while you work at home and improves your productivity.
6. Have a backup internet connectivity
Often ignored by many employees as a trivial thing, having backup internet connectivity is more important than it looks like. Its importance is felt when you have a scheduled call and your internet gives up on you. So it is always advisable to have a backup internet while working from home.
Remote working is growing and the day is not very far when most of the workforce across the globe will be working remotely at least once a week. The current situation in the world has only helped remote working to etch its place firmly in the minds of both the employers and employees as the preferred mode of working. The benefits of remote working are plenty, however, unless the guidelines highlighted in the post are followed, the chances of you reaping the full benefits of remote working are slim.