Working remotely is on the rise.
Many factors — from trusting your team members to investing in technology — are making remote work an efficient, effective choice for most businesses. — fizkes/Getty Imagese

Remote work is more popular than ever. And with factors like improved technology, cost-cutting and sustainability, the average office could go digital in as little as one decade.

Zapier, a firm that provides business connectivity tools, commissioned a Harris Poll that surveyed over 880 knowledge workers — professionals whose work involves computers — and found that 66% of workers think the office will be obsolete by 2030. Knowledge workers are favoring the idea of telecommuting for several different reasons, but the most popular incentives are money and freedom. In fact, 48% of workers would work from home to save money, whether on their commutes or their lunch breaks. and 74% would be willing to quit their jobs to work remotely.

It’s not just knowledge workers’ desire to work remotely that’s gaining ground. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), remote work increased 115% from 2005 to 2015. Currently, 16% of the workforce — 26 million Americans — work remotely at least part of the time.

As technology improves, remote work is becoming easier than ever. For business owners, having remote employees can be cost-effective, especially without renting office space each month. The talent pool for potential employees can grow to include anyone around the world. And with fewer cars on the road at rush hour, remote work is the more sustainable option.

[Read: Coworking Space vs. Working Remotely: Which Is Right for Your Business?]

Having remote employees may also mean having more relaxed employees. According to Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, a firm that researches and finds solutions for telework, office workers are more stressed than remote workers. “We can’t continue to push people to the breaking point. That’s not sustainable and the ability to work remotely has been consistently shown to reduce work-life conflict and stress,” Lister said.

Taking the time to train yourself to run a remote team can help avoid future setbacks.

Here are four ways businesses can adapt to remote work:

Invest in modern technology

Without the ability to talk in person, your remote team will need software to communicate. Using communication tools like Slack or collaborative programs like Google Docs will allow your team members to work together even if they’re in different places. According to Lister, video conference platforms help team members communicate more effectively.

Remote team training

Taking the time to train yourself to run a remote team can help avoid future setbacks. In addition to training yourself, train your employees in whichever collaborative platforms your business uses. “Basecamp makes its entire employee manual available for free,” Lister said. “It covers all kinds of things, such as when it’s appropriate to use email, or chat, or even ... pick up the phone.”

Meet in person

Taking the time to have your team meet in person can provide a sense of togetherness that technology can’t. While Skype calls can boost productivity and save on commute time, in-person team building exercises can strengthen a team and make remote work feel less remote. If your employees are only remote part of the time, use that in-office time for person-to-person communication.

[Read: 7 Tools That Will Help You Work From Home]

Trust your employees

According to Lister, one of the most important aspects of having remote employees is trusting that they’re doing good work. “Trust is fundamental,” Lister said. “Employees need to be managed by results — what they do, rather than where, how or when they do it.“

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Watch Now: CO— Blueprint, 9/23

Check out the video from our CO— Blueprint event that took place Wednesday, September 23, 2020, where the panel discussed everything you need to know about recruiting and managing cohesive teams remotely.



Published December 19, 2019