How has working remotely impacted your company? Have you mainly experienced challenges or has it worked out for the better?
Whether the shift to remote has proven beneficial or detrimental to you, we can all agree that it has required some major adjusting. And we’re talking across industries. Everyone has had to learn to adapt in some way or another. Can you imagine if this happened, let’s say, ten or fifteen years ago? We wouldn’t have been able to all work remotely because, quite frankly, we didn’t have the technology to do so. Luckily, since then the technology has been put into place and we’ve only recently been able to really benefit from it. If you think about it, nothing new has been invented in the last few months to accommodate for the pandemic. The tools and technologies to work remotely have been in place, but now everyone has had to learn to really leverage them.
In a recent podcast on Digital Conversation with Billy Bateman, guest Adam Bird, Co-founder and CEO of Cronofy, shed some light on the challenges and benefits that have come from the shift to working remotely.
Challenges of Working Remotely
One of the leading challenges of working remotely is that human interaction has been cut out of the equation. Without the social interaction, how are teams going to function properly?
This is especially frustrating in the hiring process. Some would argue the most crucial part when deciding whether to hire someone or not is to see how they are in person, not just on paper. You want to get a feel for how they interact with others and how they carry out a conversation. Interviews over zoom just aren’t the same. You can no longer rely on cues you can pick up on in person. Do you trust yourself to hire someone just from zoom calls?
Along those lines, another major challenge is training the new hires. It’s difficult to ensure someone is properly trained and equipped with the information they need to do their job when you’re trying to train them remotely. Before, it was easy to check up on your new team and lend a hand when needed. In person, people were also more open to coming up to you and asking for help. However, it’s harder for new hires to adjust now. Many people aren’t comfortable with speaking up on a Zoom call or reaching out if they’re confused about something.
What does this mean for managers/trainers/bosses? You guys need to be more proactive in reaching out and connecting with your team. Make sure you know how your new hires are doing and where they maybe need a little more training.
Virtual conferences have also been tricky to figure out. Technology is great and very useful, but it can’t beat face-to-face interaction. With virtual conferences, how do you get the necessary feedback? How do you facilitate communication between the speakers and attendees?
Benefits of Working Remotely
There can be a massive boost in productivity when working remotely, once you’re adjusted to that new working style. Allow it to make you more outcome driven. It’s not about who gets into the office early and who stays the latest; it’s about what is being produced from our work.
But wouldn’t working from the comfort of your own home make you more prone to laziness and not productivity? Well, actually no. A study conducted by Professor Nicholas Bloom at Stanford University revealed that there is in fact an increase in employee performance when working from home. 16,000 call center employees participated in the study and it was found that there was more working time per shift, meaning less breaks and sick leave, and they took more calls per shift, combining to an overall 13% increase in productivity. Other studies have even shown a 35% productivity increase! Working from home provides a quieter work environment with less distractions, which in turn increases productivity.
Working remotely cuts out the stress of commuting. Employees are able to have a better balance between their work and home life. It saves the company money because employees take off fewer sick days. Overall, despite the challenges, there are clearly many benefits.
Remote Work After COVID
Will we ever go back to “business as usual,” or will working remotely remain to be something that’s encouraged? It seems as though always having the option to work remotely is a big advantage in the sustainability of your company.