What is remote work?
Remote working means that employees complete their tasks in different locations than employer-provided workstations. These include the home, co-working spaces or other shared workspaces, a private office and all locations outside the conventional company building or site.
Why is remote working so popular?
Remote working is becoming increasingly popular as it provides benefits for both employers and employees. In the course of the corona pandemic, it came back into focus, as many companies had to quickly switch from conventional to remote working environments for health and safety reasons.
The long-term popularity of remote working is related to its benefits, including reduced or no commuting time, benefits in finding and hiring employees, and productivity improvements.
How does remote work works?
Remote working requires a mix of the right culture, the right processes, and the right technology for virtual teams to work successfully from anywhere. From a cultural perspective, the success of remote working requires that a person or team is working externally by default. While there is no single blueprint for this strategy, successful remote workers typically share some common characteristics, such as:
- Strong, reliable connectivity: Virtual teams rely heavily on fast internet and mobile technologies that support intensive use.
- Communication and collaboration tools: Remote workers need to be able to work together as if they were all in the same location. This requires secure, high quality applications and platforms for technologies such as chat, video conferencing, file sharing, remote desktops, and other regular business needs.
- Healthy culture: High-performing virtual teams usually have a culture of trust and collaboration. Instead of personal contact or a certain number of hours in the office, the focus is on results. A remote working culture also includes supportive management that believes in this approach and helps both employees and teams to be successful with this working method.
What are the benefits of working remotely?
Employees and corporations alike tend to work remotely because it offers some distinct advantages over traditional on-site work. These include the following:
- Fewer or no commuting: Remote workers usually spend less time commuting between home and work – especially if they choose to work from home. Often they win back a lot of life every week. Someone who normally commutes 30 minutes in both directions would save five hours a week thanks to home office, not to mention travel costs.
- Improved business continuity: Virtual teams are often inherently more adaptable because they don’t have to be in the same place to do their work. This is a boon for business continuity planning, especially in unexpected or emergency situations where employees can suddenly no longer work on-site.
- Reduced office space requirements: Companies with a large number of remote workers typically require less physical office space, resulting in savings and greater long-term flexibility.
- Advantages in search and hiring: Hiring remote employees can significantly expand the circle of potential candidates, as they are not on site and / or companies do not have to offer expensive relocation assistance. This can be particularly advantageous for HR managers who operate in a particularly highly competitive local job market or who are confronted with a shortage of skilled workers for certain roles.
Remote Working Best Practices
While there isn’t one “right” remote working method, there are some general best practices that can be used to create the conditions for success. These include the following:
- Clear guidelines and guidelines: A culture of trust is often based on a healthy understanding of expectations: Should employees be “in the office” (or available for online communication) at a certain time or for a certain number of hours per day? How is performance measured? Which devices and applications are approved for business use? All of these questions need to be clarified.
- Team building: Even a virtual team is ultimately a team. Managers in particular are responsible for building collaborative, communicative teams that pull together. This includes – if possible – occasional personal meetings, e.g. on the occasion of a retreat or a social event, as well as other customs such as celebrating individual and team achievements.
- World- class technology: Companies with high-performing remote teams invest in the technology their employees rely on to do their jobs. These include remote desktops and mobile devices, high-speed broadband, reliable and user-friendly applications, and other business-specific requirements.
Remote work challenges
Remote working problems often arise when there is a lack of best practices and basic principles for working remotely. This leads to the following challenges:
- Loss of productivity: Without clear guidelines and guidelines, employees can lose their motivation and productivity drops.
- Mistrust and micromanagement: A lack of trust or the virtual monitoring of employees can increase the feeling of fear and at the same time lower morale.
- Unreliable technology: Inadequate tools and technology can affect the productivity and morale of virtual teams. Bad broadband connections, unreliable applications, outdated hardware – all of these lead to frustration and, ultimately, significantly worse results.
- Reluctant Remote Workers: Ultimately, another challenge arises when employees are reluctant to work remotely or employers prefer a different strategy. Remote working is best for people and businesses who want to take advantage of these
What is the difference between working remotely and working from home?
Working from home is a form of remote work, but the two terms are not necessarily synonymous. This is because remote working doesn’t dictate where employees work; it just means they seldom go to a traditional office to get their jobs done. Usually they work in a different location, which can be their home, but is not limited to that.
In addition, “home office” can also refer to a temporary or unusual version of remote work. This includes, for example, people who usually work at their workplace in the company and move to the home office for a day or two because they have to look after their children at short notice. This working method is sometimes referred to as “teleworking”. While remote employees mostly or always work externally, teleworking means that employees also regularly carry out their work on site in a conventional office.