I am a Managing Editor at AmoMama, and a mom. My freelance work is usually crypto-related stuff.
COVID-19 made sure that even the staunchest opposition to remote working saw flames this year. It was a question of: Either you offer your team a chance to work from home or say goodbye to your small and medium enterprise.
Reluctantly for some, they chose the second and have not only rode the choppy seas of the novel coronavirus, but they have also thrived. In fact, many SMEs are now contemplating if they should return to their large rented buildings at all.
Proponents of working in a large building cite advertisement opportunities, giving customers peace of mind when searching for a new company, bringing people together, and forcing teamwork and cooperation. Managers are also within earshot and at hand to manage productivity.
So what does remote working offer?
Well, in a nutshell, it can offer you greater productivity at a fraction of the price. No electricity bills, wifi costs, IT team, staff kitchen, or cleaning staff to maintain. No furniture to purchase. No printing costs to budget for. No parking spaces to quarrel over. No need to invest in expensive suits.
Truth be told, there is nothing quite like having your source of income in your home with you. Staff who can self-manage perform miracles when left to their own devices, and productivity levels soar when people are comfortable and happy.
What needs to change to ensure the company is getting the most from a remote team is to start managing output instead of people. Software designed to track your staff’s every move is redundant at best and extremely stalker-like at worst.
It shouldn’t matter to management if someone took 3 hours or 5 hours to complete a task as long as the deadline is met. Trying to determine if employees are sitting at their desks for the entirety of their shift will drive a micro-manager mental. Trust me, I know of what I speak.
A big problem for remote workers, which is a boon to managers, is that many admit to not knowing when and how to switch off. They continue working well past their shifts, before and during breakfast, while having lunch, and even after dinner.
The output they report is far greater than when they spent two hours wrestling with traffic daily, so it should be acceptable practice that they can take some time out during the day to do grocery shopping, go to the gym, collect their children at school, and get a haircut during “office hours.”
Remote workers who are no longer paying the price of traffic, public transport, and gas also end up with more money in their pockets at the end of the month. This equates to feeling rewarded for working diligently at home while still using their own electricity and wifi.
Companies that used to offer snacks, drinks, on-site gym facilities, and a company doctor can instead offer incentive bonuses for staff that are happy to work from home at their own cost, thereby saving the company thousands of dollars annually.
Remote working is the way of the future, with many people wanting to live off-grid and out of cities in order to raise their children with a greater sense of empathy and a love for nature. Congested cities with their smoggy streets and overpopulated buildings are a thing of the past.
Giving people the ability to self-manage, self-motivate, and excel at their own pace without constant scrutiny should be the end-goal of any company. Nine times out of 10, autonomous workers will make sound decisions. But one-on-ones, monthly evaluations, and team-building is key.
People who once ridiculed remote-workers for not having “real jobs” are only now seeing the challenges entailed when you are your own boss and procrastination is not staved off at the end of a whip, or a chain holding you to your desk. My, how the tide has turned, Michelle from Accounts.