Once or twice a week I get to work remotely. I skip the morning commute and I go to a cozy cafe and sit with my laptop. There I do my job. For example, writing this post. The smell of home baked bagels and a hot cup of dark roast coffee fuel my brain better than the white fluorescent lights of the office. I’m not the only one. On weekdays, this particular cafe turns into a co-working space, with patrons sharing conversations and exchanging ideas over lattes and cupcakes.
In many cities, this scene represents modern business life. For many, myself included, it is a major perk of the job. But the rise of the remote worker goes beyond working from home or the cafe across the streets. Work retreats to warmer locations are becoming increasingly usual. And, even life as a digital nomad seems realistic for corporates, too. Rather than workplaces, future offices will transform into places to meet and align ideas.
Redefining the nature of work
Consider this. That smartphone you carry in your pocket today is likely to be more powerful than your work laptop. With our smartphones, we have access to email, chat, video conferences, cloud storage, collaboration apps, and dozens of other technologies that now make it possible for almost any office job to be done completely and remotely.
While working with solely from our smartphones seems unrealistic at the moment —mostly because of screen-size constraints, laptops are also more powerful, lighter and thinner than ever, giving us the freedom to work from anywhere. A commute to a powerful workstation at the office is not necessary. As a result, in the US, a recent poll indicates the number of American employees that are working remotely is steadily increasing. In 2016, 43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely. That represents a 4% increase since 2012.
In the eyes of remote workers, the benefits are clear. People who work remotely consider themselves happier, and feel more valued and productive. Therefore, offering flexible work options is essential to attracting top talent, particularly for highly specialized work. Plus there’s the added benefit that remote work can decrease overheads and real estate costs.
Tips for successfully managing a remote team
The days of punching in and out are on the way out. Bosses are no longer maliciously overseeing the time their staff spend at their desks. With the rise of the remote worker, team leaders need to come up with different strategies to manage their departments. Here are the four pillars to successfully managing a remote team:
- Establish remote work policies that boost flexibility
- Provide the right tools
- Communicate frequently to build trust.
- Consolidate workflows and procedures