Remote work is a buzz word of late – to the point that it’s a global trend – trend as in trendy, cool, hip. And it’s not just MacBook-loving 20-somethings that are infected.
Even the sceptics (who generally aren’t Gen Y or younger) are getting pressure from a few rungs below to make remote work the norm.
Now, we’ve got a pretty modern workforce over at Business Fitness – our sales reps spend a lot of time working from the road, we have offices in multiple cities across the world, and working from home is a privilege our team benefit from a fair bit.
But despite all the largely unscientific (yet wonderfully fashionable) data suggesting ridiculous ideas like “working out of the office quadruples productivity” (seriously, who’s calculating this stuff?), remote work isn’t the solution to everything. It has its pros and it has its cons, but we’ve worked out a few tips for the optimal remote working arrangement.
1-2 days a week is optimal
Begin with only 1-2 days out of the office. The key to an increase in productivity is variation – so working from home 5 days a week is really no different to doing the same in an office.
It’s the novelty and the change of scenery that motivates the average employee, and only allowing 1-2 days encourages your team to get the most out of their limited remote working time.
Working constantly from home poses a serious risk of decreasing productivity (living and working in the same place can be mind-numbing), especially if the employee has a complicated home life.
The right tools
For remote working to… work, you need a few things sorted out.
You need a robust document – and email – management system, and a sleek, paperless office.
And hey, a snazzy client portal with super secure electronic signing won’t hurt either.
Face-to-face group meetings
Skype doesn’t count. You need everyone together at least once a week, or you’ll start to lose touch with the fact that you’re all in a team together. Human interaction is the most valuable tool we have in the profession today – both for your team and for your clients.
If you are going to work from home, you need an office
This office needs to be:
- As soundproofed as possible. Barking dogs and afterschool TV specials = no, no, no.
- Either physically or virtually lockable. Video meetings or calls with clients really, really don’t need interruptions. Especially ones about math homework.
- Not something that looks like a spare bedroom (even if it is). If video meetings are your thing, that fluffy bedspread behind you probably won’t go down so well.
In all the excitement of the remote working epidemic, the 21st century employee must not forget to: remain professional, strive for productivity, and actually talk to people face-to-face every so often.