Remote working – a necessary evil or the future for a happy productive workforce?
Remote working is becoming less of a perk and more of a necessity in the ever-increasingly competitive battle for tech talent. But with the office expanding into our personal spaces, are we jumping too quickly? Is this the self-checkout counter of the office world?
There is a lot to be said for working in an office, the company culture fosters professionalism and I can pass that on to new members of staff in person, something I cannot do on my own at home talking over portals. Learning from colleagues who have been longer in the game is also invaluable for my career, both in my position now and in my future. And working from home can see you left out of the loop, missing important announcements made at company meetings because you weren’t there. Hearing that there is a job going in the section you want to move to often comes through in-house gossip and again if you aren’t there to hear about it you can find it hard to network. Of course there is an app for that and software for remote workers can fill those blanks daily, leaving it up to you to see how involved in office culture you want to be. But it has to be said that its harder to draw the line between home life and office life when they are one and the same.
Computer giant Dell has said it aims to have 50% of its workforce remotely working from home by 2020, and many of IT Search’s larger clients are rolling out similar levels of remote working next years. For the employer there is obviously some fundamental cost savings to be had, on top of the increased competitiveness for talent attraction. But what is the cost? Employers worry perhaps that they cannot keep an eye on productivity, staff may become isolated, and expectations for everyone might be vastly at odds from the reality.
However, studies have been showing time and time again that working from home is adding to peoples sense of job satisfaction and although it doesn’t give much to each persons output (a small increase of 4%) it definitely brings something to their quality of life. But is that quality of life truly being negated by the hard push office life and everything that goes with that: a two to three hour commute, work wear bill, lunch bill, childcare costs… and is remote working the only solution? Could better expenses and in-house childcare have the same effect? I doubt it.
Employers might still be on the fence about engaging remote workers full time but most have come around to the idea that flexibility is more than a talent acquisition tool, but is actually the key to a happy productive workforce. There is something about flexibility that drives employees like nothing else. The option to work from home once in a while, when I’ve a sick kid on the couch, or a repair man coming, is a game changer for my life as an office professional. Ditching the commute and starting work fresh after a full cosy eight hours sleep is pretty appealing on rainy days.
For me it’s a no-brainer, a flexible work environment where working remotely is an option should you need it will win hands down every day of the week.
Just my two cents worth,