The notion of a workplace is undergoing a major transformation. The internet allows people to share ideas, files, and projects across the world with lightning speed. For industries that primarily deal with information and communication (as opposed to manufacturing), the need for dedicated commercial space is becoming antiquated. This is especially true for businesses that wish to hire the best candidates across the globe and don’t want to be limited by their region’s pool of potential hires.
Forbes projects that half of the U.S. working population will soon work from home or at least away from a central office on a regular basis. Many workers and companies have already made this leap. Of course, many of these businesses still maintain some office space for a number of reasons, such as maintaining a workplace culture. But is remote work right for your team and company? If you’re on the fence about this future, here are some factors to consider.
What is the Nature of Your Work?
Not every job is an ideal fit for remote work. If your company’s day-to-day operations include plenty of meetings and hands-on demonstrations, you probably want your team to be physically present most days. The same goes for industries that require some level of physical labor. Working remotely means your body is essentially unavailable.
If, however, your business mainly deals with data, information, and simple communication tasks, remote work might make a lot of sense. In these cases, your employees’ brains (and fingertips) are the most valuable assets. It doesn’t matter where they’re working, so long as they have a functional internet connection.
Establishing Trust With Your Team
Even if remote work makes sense on a practical level, you must also consider the potential pitfalls of fragmenting your team across physical space. One of the primary advantages of maintaining office space is its usefulness in the realm of team management. Having your team in one place at the same time makes it easier for everyone to communicate, establish trust, and hold each other accountable.
This isn’t to say that communication or trust-building is impossible without a shared space. Video conferences, text-based chat groups, and occasional in-house meetings can be enough to keep your team on track. Still, if you’re going to offer remote work, you need to establish some kind of performance management system so that all employees are accountable for their contributions. Working away from an office is a big responsibility and everyone on your team must be on the same page.
Keeping the lights on isn’t cheap. Depending on the size and scope of your operation, owning or renting commercial property might hurt your bottom line. First, take account of how many employees you have. Then, consider how long, on average, it takes for your workers to get to the office each day. You might start to realize that your employees are burning a lot of gas just to show up, and that you have more space than you need.
On the other hand, your office space might be integral to your company culture, both internally and externally. For instance, if you’re in a prime location, regularly conduct meetings with clients and customers, and utilize every part of your space, your property might be a fixture of your business model. Whatever the case you must consider these costs and benefits, even if it means offering remote work to a portion of your staff, or moving to a smaller location.
Stress, Productivity, and Culture
For many people, working remotely can significantly reduce stress and actually increase productivity. Commuting to an office, socializing with others, and feeling confined in a cubicle each day can take a toll on many workers’ mental and physical health. There are plenty of examples of how managers can reduce stress in the workplace, but offering remote work, if possible, might be one of the best.
When team members can work from their favorite location, skip the morning rush hour, and feel in control of their work environment, they’re often more inclined to get work done. There’s always a risk here in terms of employee work management, of course. But as long as team leaders establish clear guidelines for how team members should approach remote work and what’s expected of them, this opportunity can make for a more positive, productive company culture in the long run.
Remote work might not be right for every company just yet, but it seems to be the way of the future. Keeping the above considerations in mind, you might realize that remote work can lead your team in a positive direction.At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.