The corporate world is going digital and remote working is on the rise. While permitting employees to work from home, away from a corporate office, has been around for a while, remote working is now becoming mainstream. One may see more and more companies not investing in huge office spaces and employing resources who can work for them from home. While this may seem like a pro-employee practice, it is a game-changer for the employer. The business world is obsessed with millennial’s right now. The generation come-ups with a new corporate ideas everyday, and aren’t afraid to express them in a creative way.

You could be running a media company, a tech studio, a production house or a retail model, having your employees working remotely means fewer cost heads and more productive work culture. So, what do you mean by remote working? Are you considering it for your setup? If the answer is yes, you need to know a few things before you go for it.

What is remote working?

Remote working is the flexibility given to an employee to work at his/her own pace and space. So, when you hire someone, you don’t have to worry about making him/her sit in your office. You could have them work from home or from a co-working space or coffee shop, whatever suits you. Also, if you don’t have to pay competitive market salaries. A lot of remote employees work on an hourly basis or as consultants for multiple companies, hence, their fees are not what it would be if they were working in a single corporate set up.

You could have a system where your employee works from home for most of the week and meets you once a week for updates and meetings.

One may see a sudden rise in co-working spaces too. These places act as centers to facilitate organic working without worrying about unwanted guests, connectivity issues and a not so conducive working environment. Co-working spaces also give your employees a chance to network. Since a single center holds multiple organizations across industries, it is possible that your employee can get you business deals, prospective hires and also act as promotional channels for you.

‍Now that you are clear about what remote working essentially is, you might want to understand how it can benefit you.

There are plenty of benefits of remote working for employees and employers, ranging from higher productivity to happier, healthier work cultures.

Benefits of remote working

Flexibility

This is one of the most obvious benefits, and it seems more in favour of the employee than anyone else. But, if you think again, you are also working remotely as an employer. You don’t need to sit in an office with your team to get your work done. You could be vacationing with your friends or spending quality time with your family, your work does not suffer and you don’t have to face the brunt of Monday Morning Blues and a deadline on Friday. Flexible working means flexible lifestyle, and that gives you as well as your employees the chance to live their dream of travel, pursue a hobby of cooking, follow their passion for dance and still work and make money. Since travel to work does not apply to you or your team members, you can start your day early and finish in good time to take your dog for a walk, run errands or just be present at home when your children come back from school. Since physical presence is not required, it is the perfect setting for pursuing a Master’s degree, a language course or a training program that just doesn’t happen in a 9 to 5 scenario.

Better Health

One may have never heard of remote working employees getting stressed out with work. They have high motivation and higher morale to work which means more productivity and lesser chances of attrition. In India, most big cities come with the havoc of long-distance daily travels and pollution, a huge matter of concern and the number one cause for stress and fatigue. There is also no stress of dressing up and fitting in. You can work in your pajamas in your balcony with a pedicure happening on the side, and you’re still more productive than your in-house counterparts. Less stress and fatigue also leads to lesser absenteeism. Your employees are so comfortable and at ease with this setup, they don’t feel the need to skip work unnecessarily.

New Passion and Drive

Remote workers work better than the 9-5 force. They are more inspired, motivated and comfortable working with lesser distractions and counterproductive meetings. It brings with it a new passion, perspective and drive to perform and make time for other things. These employees excel in their work, achieve goals and even go the extra mile since they perceive their work to be more like a reward for themselves.

Higher productivity

Studies reveal that remote employees love the perks of their work so much, that they don’t mind putting in a few extra hours or go beyond their scope of work because they are highly motivated. One study stated that 65% of full-time employees had increased productivity when asked to work from home.

‍Cost-Effective

If you are running a company of products and services, you can do away with the cost of office rent, electricity, supplies and furniture. Employers can save a substantial amount of money per remote worker per year, even if their entire team is not working from home.

‍Engaged employees

If a highly motivated team with better productivity isn’t enough of a carrot, one can offer remote work opportunities to keep their employees happy and engaged. More and more people today are quitting their jobs to work remotely and some are even willing to take a pay cut to work from home. Remote employees have reported being happier than non-remote employees, which means you have a consistently performing team always.

Misconceptions about remote working

There could be a myriad of benefits of remote working, but it also comes with its setbacks and misconceptions.

Miscommunication

A very common misconception about remote working is that it creates miscommunication. While remote workers don’t bond over coffee breaks and don’t indulge in water cooler conversations, one can have a good team-building exercise done over video calls, offsite meetings and team lunches. With the present-day set up of video conferences and WhatsApp calls, no team member is far behind in communicating their needs and requirements with others. Nothing gets missed out unless the intent isn’t there. Since remote workers have major FOMO (fear of missing out) they tend to take extra effort in establishing a bond with their team members.

Remote workers always work

Remote working means no fixed schedule. While this is the biggest plus of working from home, it could have a setback of constantly being nudged for work by colleagues and superiors. One must strike the right balance and manage time well, so the employee does not under-work or overwork themselves. You can chart out a time slot most suited for you, set expectations about deadlines and stay committed to it to avoid work-related issues.

‍Remote workers don’t work

While remote workers are not valued by every organization, some still feel remote workers don’t work. Since there is no monitoring of time and productivity, people live under the impression that a remote worker wiles away his/her time in doing nothing since he/she is not watched upon. On the contrary, remote workers work better. They have their own special time schedules. Some prefer early mornings, some are more productive at night, but whatever they do, they get the job done.
Some interesting statistics about remote working as per global surveys and studies:

  • More than 50% of the Indian working population work remotely half of the week and about 11% work outside their main corporate office.
  • 53% of remote workers were shown like to work overtime beyond the call of duty as compared to the 28% of 9-5 office goers.
  • 80% of remote workers reported improved morale.
  • 37% of men and 31% of women worked from home at some point in their lives.
  • 66& of workers stated that working from home led to increased productivity and output.
  • Almost 69% of the workforce in India agreed that flexible working hours means a greater work-life balance.

How can you transition to remote working easily for your organization?

  1. You can begin by talking to your team and analyzing each employee and set a fixed scope of work.
  2. Identify potential remote workers in the organization and talk to them personally.
  3. Come up with a carefully thought out strategic plan to organize the process of transition from a 9-5 force to a remote group.
  4. Ensure you have the essential tools, technology, resources and software to fit a remote working culture.
  5. Build a culture of mutual trust and understanding to have better efficiency, seamless communication and higher productivity.
  6. Create an online communication system where all members can participate freely and effectively.
  7. Train your remote workers to be responsible for their own tasks and provide them with training sessions and all the required resources to do their jobs effectively.
  8. Create a well suited remote working policy for your company, compliant with Indian working laws.

How to define remote working policy in your company?

Now that you’re convinced you to want to hire remote workers in your organization, you need to understand a few things before you define your working policy. Each individual works differently, so before you chalk out your do’s and don’ts, have a good chat with them. You can cover the below-mentioned points in your conversation and then on your legal document.

1. Frequency

While some of your employees may want permission to work remotely for the entire week, some might like to come to the office on a few days every week. You could leave it to them to decide their convenient time or define a time slot that works for you. Whatever the work may be, you must get time management issues out of the way before you move any further.

2. Model the policy

If you want your employees to work from home comfortably, do it yourself. Once they see everyone doing their job well from the comforts of their home, they are more likely to do so with better results.

3. Don’t seek explanations

If you’re giving them the flexibility to work from home, don’t devalue it by asking your employees to give you an explanation for it. There could be someone with a medical issue or with personal problems, small kids, ailing parents, etc that makes them want to work from home, but talking about it regularly with them can be a little stressful. Instill faith, build trust and strengthen your relationship with your team to reap benefits from your remote workers.

Top 10 companies in India that offer remote working

If you’re looking for remote jobs or want to understand how the best in the industry work with their teams not being in office, here’s a list for you to feel inspired.

  1. Symantec
  2. Dotdash
  3. Facebook
  4. VMware
  5. UnitedHealth Group
  6. Axelerant
  7. Xerox
  8. RiseSmart
  9. Intel
  10. SAP

To conclude, telecommuting, remote working or working from home is a tried and tested model of work that is currently widely practiced and is high on demand. It is effective, beneficial and a win-win situation for employees and employers.

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