Leaders! Don’t Miss the Remote Boat
As a company leader, increasing the overall effectiveness and productivity of your team is always on the forefront of your mind. Increased efficiency means that your employees are working smarter, not harder. Increased productivity ultimately pays dividends in the form of an increased base line. You must balance many things to hit these two goals consistently.
That critical balance can be thrown off by even the smallest of things. Offering the option for your employees to work remotely isn’t easy as it sounds. That is why many still resist transitioning to remote working as an option for their employees.
Competitors Edge Ahead by Offering Remote Work Options
Many industry leaders have approached the concept of remote teams with a certain degree of caution. From one perspective, this is understandable – after all, can a collection of individuals who in some cases spread out all over the globe possibly match the productivity or efficiency level of a group of people working in the same physical location? Is it possible for even small businesses to take full advantage of all the benefits that teams who work remotely have to offer?
Thanks to recent advancements in technology, remote teams have gained a significant amount of traction in organizations all over the world. Companies which adopted this philosophy found that they were able to hire the best and brightest, no matter where their employees are located. It opens up a tremendous pool of more than qualified candidates.
When a competitor takes advantage of this trend and you don’t, you run the risk of losing your edge and letting them take it, especially if you are a local business.
Reasons Behind the Growing Popularity of Remote Teams
To understand a little bit more about using remote teams, it’s important to first gain insight into the popularity of the concept in general. In October of 2015, FlexJobs estimated that more than 80% of companies offer flexible work options to their employees these days. This typically means remote working in one capacity or another.
To take that one step further, 64% of those companies have flexible work programs that are completely informal. In many cases, no written policy is present regarding where an employee must work, how often then must work or even how they must work. Provided that they’re able to fulfill their responsibilities, everything is fine – and businesses of all sizes are seeing a huge amount of success as a result.
Here are the common challenges that have surfaced in the past:
- Communication issues
- Accountability problems
- Decreased team moral
- Lowered team production
- Compromised quality of work
- High cost of the infrastructure
- Shared documents
The Benefits of Remote Teams
Recent technology and SaaS applications have all but erased these challenges. Even going so far as to turn those cons into pros. This is how:
- Communication issues are a thing of the past with innovative companies like Slack and Google Apps to make working and staying up-to-date even easier than it sometimes is in office.
- Team moral is improved when offering the option to work from the comfort of your home as long as the option is either earned or company-wide.
- Popular new apps like Teamwork PM have made remote teams even more productive than in-office teams by allowing employees to skip the commute and work from anywhere.
- Remote teams have become more accountable for their time due to the common expectation of time tracking and dependable apps like Harvest.
- The Software-as-a-Service Industry has disrupted the high cost of productivity software for teams, often offering free trials before even paying the typically lower monthly cost to use the software in the cloud.
- A variety of cloud software solutions have surfaced like Box, and Onlinefaxes, offering economic, innovative ways to share documents virtually and physically while still maintaining a high level of security.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of allowing team members to work remotely is that it allows them to achieve the work-to-life balance that is so important in today’s modern environment. Today’s modern workers are as dedicated and as driven as they’ve ever been, but it’s always important to remember that they have personal lives that they’re trying to lead at the same time. While they’re willing to give their all to a company in order to help it accomplish its goals, the completely separate lives that they’re building with their family members are just as important. According to the FlexJobs survey, the ability to work remotely has evolved organically out of a need to accomplish these two seemingly disparate goals at the same time.
In addition, remote teams provide significant benefit to a business itself in terms of sheer investment. For starters, it can be seen as an immediate cost-saving measure – it costs less money to allow teams to work remotely than it does to force them to come into the office each day. It also helps to break down the barrier of geography, which has historically been a significant obstacle when it comes to attracting the best talent. Every business leader at some point has found the ideal candidate to fill a position, only to have to look elsewhere when that person didn’t want to move across the country to start a new job. Now, thanks to remote teams, they don’t have to.
The ability to work remotely and other flexible options are also seen as a major incentive to today’s modern workforce. Over 60% of all organizations even include it as a part of their employee benefits package.
Overcoming the Challenges of Remote Teams
Remote teams do present a unique set of challenges to business leaders, however, that need to be properly addressed for the success of the organization moving forward. For many leaders it can be difficult to truly commit to the idea that you are now depending on people who you may never have face-to-face contact with on any type of regular basis again. The natural challenges of remote teams can be overcome by keeping a few important things in mind.
For starters, leaders always need to be available for support from remote team members. Now that people can work remotely, they will be able to create their own schedules. This can sometimes mean working odd hours, well past the normal 9am to 5pm framework that worked for so many decades. If a remote employee needs help, you need to be available to give it to them for the setup to work – no exceptions.
Business leaders will also have to lead by example to allow for remote team success. Supervisors, managers and other people in leadership positions will need to show, act and (most importantly) behave how they hope their team will in order to set a positive example for these remote workers moving forward.
When you consider the fact that 48% of all managers surveyed believe that employees who are working remotely are equally as productive, if not more so in some cases, than in-office workers, it’s a wonder why this trend isn’t even more popular than it already is.
This article was written by Leah Faul, Marketing Director of Onlinefaxes. Over the last several years the internet fax service has proudly risen as a leader in the industry and continues to innovate and expand its capabilities to empower users.