Who’d have thought that a single event could create such a fundamental shift in the way we work? Like it or not, the COVID-19 crisis has mandated that those employees who can work from home do so. Whilst remote working is something many organizations have been slowly introducing, the nature of this event has meant the move has for some organizations been a shock, and for others been the much-needed push to make flexible working an offering to employees.
Regardless whether the organization has jumped or been pushed into remote working, it has significant challenges. Remote working is more than just working from another place physically; it implies significant changes in team operation, client service, and corporate culture. Some of the major barriers corporations will need to hurdle to establish smooth remote working set-ups include:
- Process and Communication
Constant communication and fluid information sharing becomes more important with remote working and is one of the most important obstacles that need to be overcome. In addition, remote working puts our IT systems to the ultimate stress-test. And last but not least business culture and business relationships are all harder to foster when employees are not physically present.
What are the benefits of remote working?
However, if you can overcome these challenges as an organization, the benefits of remote working can be significant:
Low cost of operation: Remote work saves general and administrative expenses in various ways: office supplies, furniture, equipment, coffee and janitorial services to name a few. All this improves the company’s bottom-line performance immediately. Experts have calculated that Your average medium sized business of 500 employees in an office setting could save up to several thousand euros/year.
Improving productivity: This might be counter-intuitive to those of you who think home office equals working in pyjamas with Netflix on in the background. However, numerous studies and employee surveys show the potential for increasing productivity through remote working. A flexible schedule and the possibility to work from any location are the most important drivers for increased productivity. Student consultancies (e.g. www.fs-sc.de) face this issue since project teams mainly consist of up to five students from different classes and hence a flexible schedule is very important. However, the project leader must spend extra efforts to manage the balancing act between freedom and the completion of tasks. This will be increasingly important, if the teams work from different locations and possibly, different time zones. Here, appropriate tools can help to overcome this problem.
Saving time and reducing stress of commuting: Remote work helps to eliminate commuting stress. This allows employees to channel their time to other productive events like extra morning sleep, exercising or an extended breakfast that can help boost productivity.
Reaping the benefits of remote working
To benefit from flexible working, you must meet two key requirements. The right digital tools help every company in maintaining an efficient remote working set-up. Tools can be categorized in three broad areas: file sharing, communication and project management. Be sure to be well appointed.
Secondly, without the buy-in of employees the most appropriate tools and best infrastructure will not work. Hence, business leaders need to focus on communicating effectively with the team even when they are not around in the office.
Be progressive and courageous! If you want to know more about how to implement a remote working policy and suitable tools, our next blog-article is going to be what you are looking for.
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Co-authors: This article was written in cooperation with the student consultancy of the Frankfurt School. For further information please click here or contact Johannes Niemann (firstname.lastname@example.org).