In an age dominated by ever-evolving technology, the internet and digital communication, the way we do work today is a far cry from the 1998 office, to say the least.
A rapid trend we like to call the remote revolution defies past generations of stability and entire careers spent in a cubicle for eight hours a day, five days a week. Instead, companies are allowing employees to work from home or telecommute, taking advantage of technology translating it into workplace flexibility. It’s also a major contributor to employee happiness and satisfaction, which has caused hundreds of companies to jump on the remote bandwagon in the last five years. The industry theme is undoubtedly changing the way we do business; we’d like to argue for the better. But just like any sort of change, critics have their doubts — and there are certainly a few misconceptions surrounding the remote revolution…
Managing remote workers is impossible
Some of the most innovative and successful companies, like Automattic, who is responsible for roughly 25% of all sites on the internet, have launched and thrive on a solely remote basis. That’s right, employees spanning across six continents in dozens of countries and time-zones! Many remote startups may never even meet in person. While this style of business will certainly have its associated management challenges, there are tricks to managing remote workers. Harvard Business Review asserts that managing remote workers does not even require a different skill-set than regular office management. “They are still people working in an organization to get stuff done. Treat them as such.” HBR offers these tips:
- Set expectations
- Visit on a predictable schedule
- Encourage communication
- Spark impromptu interactions
- Nurture familiarity with small talk and casual conversation
- Make them feel part of the team and set common goals
Working from home encourages laziness
With benefits like frequent breaks, quiet space, and all the comforts of home (literally), it’s no wonder working from home is adored by the modern workforce. Granted, everyone works differently—and while one employee may thrive at home, many remote workers do find that there are more distractions and less motivation in the home office environment. Some companies like Yahoo, have even restricted work from home policies due to an observed decline in employee productivity.
But the misconception here is that working from “home,” doesn’t necessarily mean one’s place of living; it can mean the coffee shop down the street, a local bookstore, or really, anywhere in the world that offers secure internet. Local communal offices or Coworking spaces have offered a killer solution for telecommuters who are less productive in their actual home, by giving them the best of both worlds: the comforts of home along with the benefits of the standard office space, plus meeting rooms for rent, community office space to network with other organizations’ employees, private offices for lease, and the list goes on.
Physical presence is a must
You do remote work every day without realizing it. Think about your day-to-day routine: how much of your time is spent looking into a computer screen? Research shows that the average workplace has anywhere between 50-70% of work done through a screen. What about the other 30%? That’s reserved for face-to-face meetings—but tools like skype and Google hangouts are quickly becoming an acceptable substitute. Some of the most progressive companies, like The Verge, are even giving their remote employees a “double” or a robot (picture an iPad on a Segway). This tactic is used for video conferencing, to give the employee a more tangible presence at the table, allowing them to interact in virtually the same way as being physically present in the office, but from absolutely anywhere in the world!
Bridgeworks is a vibrant coworking space right by the beach on Long Island, NY, offering office space for rent, meeting rooms, networking events and much more. Bridgeworks Long Beach also features countless communal spaces, cafés, lounges and added bonuses like social bikes and ping pong. Corporate NYC commuters and digital nomads alike take advantage of the new creative hub to network, boost productivity, and of course, cut the commute time.