In this article, we debunk 8 of the most common misconceptions about remote working in the modern digital economy.
Some people assume that people who work from home get up and start working whenever they want to. That just isn’t the case. People that work remotely still need to be available at the same time as their colleagues and clients.
Whether it’s Facebook, text messages, or the black hole of the Internet, we all have these distractions in our offices too. You may not be able to manage people in the same way you do in the office, but you can still be an effective and collaborative manager.
The truth is remote workers actually get more work done compared to employees in an office. They can work in a flexible way, structuring their time against what needs to be done, without the distraction of unnecessary meetings or questions about their progress. They still have the same deadlines and expectations they would have if you were working in an office, and if work doesn’t get done, they don’t get paid.
Depending on how and where remote working happens, human interaction still occurs. Whether it’s to attend meetings with colleagues, or to meet with clients, business still relies on face-to-face collaboration.
You don’t need to share a physical space with someone to communicate effectively. We all have smartphones, laptops and computers, and many companies use project management software, instant messaging and video conferencing, as well as email and phone calls, to provide a complete communication solution.
Many offices reflect the ethos of the company and the bonds between team members, either in the informal chat that takes place during the day, or the personal touch people give to their workstation, but working remotely doesn’t mean you have to lose that dynamic. As long as lines of communication remain open, you can still achieve that level of camaraderie.
We all know that you need people present in order to brainstorm, but with technology like Skype and Google Hangout, it is possible to have a brainstorming session involving staff both in and out of the office.
Information security concerns are a major stumbling block for many companies considering the value of remote and flexible working. However, by putting appropriate measures in place, such as an effective security policy and ring-fencing sensitive data in your own data centre, the risks can be mitigated.
For most organisations, the potential benefits of flexible working significantly outweigh the risks. We hope that this article has helped you to see past some of the common objections to remote working.
Sara Parker blogs for Face for Business (http://ffb.co.uk) – providers of phone answering solutions for UK SMEs.