The Remote Working Model 2018

by Barrie Hopson on January 26, 2018 · 0 comments

in Flexible working,New ways of working,portfolio careers

Many portfolio career workers do remote work so I have pleasure in presenting a guest blog by Robert Wesley who is a specialist in this area.

Remote work has been around for several decades under a myriad of different names. The eldest of these terminologies, “telecommuting”, was coined back in the ‘70s, while the more recent names include “distributed work” or “flexible work”. Essentially, remote working models allow employees to work outside of conventional company offices either partially or fully – with some companies allowing flexible working hours and plenty of opportunities to work from home, and others offering completely remote working conditions. While mostly intended for full-time workers, this arrangement also enables people to venture into the world of portfolio careers.

With the exponential growth of technology and tools for collaboration, remote working models are on the rise. In a survey of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London, 34% of the respondents indicated that over half of their company’s full-time workforce will be working remotely by 2020, while 25% said that more than three quarters of their employees will be doing the same by that year.

Before deciding on this arrangement though, it’s crucial to thoroughly evaluate the remote working model and its pros and cons.

The pros

Companies who choose to adopt a remote working model have the advantage of bypassing geographic constraints to hire qualified talent in other areas of the country or, in some instances, the world. One stellar example of the remote working phenomenon is Automattic, maker of WordPress.com, which has a staff count of 450 people spread out over 45 different countries. While the company itself has an impressive San Francisco office decked with free snacks, ping-pong tables, and a distinctive style, Automattic’s workforce relies on an array of online tools that allow collaboration and innovation in real-time.

Remote working models allow companies to hire and retain good international talent without having to worry about office expenses and logistics. Reports indicate that remote workers take fewer sick days and less vacation time, while also having higher morale and enabling work across time zones.

The cons

However, not all organisations are as successful as Automattic, in the same way that working from home isn’t for everyone. For instance, remote working arrangements typically entail greater difficulty in transparent communication. Another issue is that some managers might not be effective in implementing rules or having accountability from their staff in the absence of face-to-face communication.

Others indicate that not having a regular working environment can cause a lack of camaraderie among employees, where remote workers might feel a degree of isolation from office-based employees and from each other. Those who might not be well attuned to working independently might also have trouble with external distractions in their home or co-working space, which may result in less productivity. If not properly addressed by management and the individual employees, these disadvantages can be detrimental to the organisation.

Is it for you?

Although remote working arrangements have plenty of benefits for individuals and organisations, it isn’t necessarily the better choice. The Association for Psychological Science conducted a thorough review of different reports and studies on the model’s effect on productivity and company success, but the effectiveness of these arrangements are still heavily dependent on the individual, organisations, and the circumstances they find themselves in.

On the individual level, remote work is not for everyone. The model requires a certain type of person who can work independently and motivate him or herself outside of the traditional office setting. However, for those whose lifestyles, personalities, and goals match the characteristics of work-from-home arrangements, a previous blog post here on Portfolio Careers explains that it can be very rewarding.

For organisations, on the other hand, company culture and values play a huge part. Perhaps unsurprisingly, tech companies make up a large slice of the remote working pie, with many technology-oriented organisations finding success in the remote working model. Certain digital disciplines, such as digital marketing solutions, do not necessarily need a physical office for most of their basic tasks and processes. Marketing specialists Ayima explain that the industry today has been growing at a rapid pace in the online world, with its future heavily reliant on digital assets and online community building. Therefore, it would be easier for digital agencies, as well as other players in similar fields, to shift to a remote-working environment.

What are your thoughts on remote working models?

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