Flexible remote working has always been a possibility for employees and has also been a method to cut costs for employers. The pandemic thrust many companies into remote work faster than they’d have liked to. Companies were forced to choose between stopping operations entirely, going remote, or hybrid. While the pandemic has essentially come to a close and life is returning to normal, remote work flexibility has not.
What is Remote Work?
Remote work allows employees to work from literally anywhere they want. Remote work has completely replaced the need for traditional onsite work in most industries. Before the pandemic, most offices just required their workers to come to the office, log in to a computer till it’s time to leave.
Remote work simply took the office part out of the equation. Now employees can do the same thing they were doing in the office in the comfort of their homes.
What is Remote Work Flexibility?
Remote work flexibility is a mixture of remote working and traditional working. Some jobs cannot be done completely online. Remote work flexibility serves as a middle ground where workers can do all their jobs remotely but are also required to come to the office for some occasions.
Remote work flexibility does not employ in all kinds of industries. While some companies have gone 100% remote, even as far as renting out their offices spaces, others find that remote work flexibility works better for them.
Remote work flexibility requires some sort of arrangement where some or every member of the company agree on days, they’ll come to the office to perform certain tasks or meetings. An example of this would be remote work on Mondays through to Wednesdays, while Thursdays and Fridays from 9 AM to 3 PM, employees are mandated to be at the office.
Remote work flexibility is also known as a hybrid work setup. Most remote-oriented companies allow employees to choose what works best for them. While some persons need the office to work best and deliver results, to others the office can be a major distraction and hindrance. Hence, it is left for the employees to decide what works best for them.
There is no clear-cut path when it comes to remote work flexibility and the list of arrangements for remote work flexibility are almost endless. It all boils down to what works best for the company and the individual.
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Benefits of Remote Work Flexibility
Allowing employees the benefit of remote work flexibility and deciding where they want to work has lots of benefits both for the employee and the organization. Whenever a company employs anyone, they want productivity and results before anything else. And the option of remote work flexibility may just be what the employee needs.
When the pandemic hit and companies were forced to consider remote working, companies were worried about the productivity of employees dropping. But the reverse was the case. Statistics showed that remote work flexibility increased productivity.
The reason behind this is that employees became more comfortable with working than they were when they were mandated to always come to the office. Remote work flexibility has further reinforced that people are different, and the way they work is different too.
Instead of forcing everyone to come in and work particular hours, people are given autonomy on how they want to work and what makes them more productive, and the result speaks for itself.
Another surprising report from employees involved in remote work flexibility is that there were fewer distractions. An office is rarely entirely quiet. And in cases where an employee needs total focus to handle a task or project, they seldom get that in a traditional work environment.
This works both ways as employees who still chose to work from the office every day also reported fewer distractions. This is mainly because the normal capacity of the office is greatly reduced and the people working from the office can work in a more serene environment.
Employees Reported Less Stress
Employees who chose remote work flexibility to work from home reported way less stress. One of the biggest problems with working in a traditional setting is the need to commute to work every day. For employees that lived far from the office, it’s always a struggle to commute to work.
Sometimes an employee has to deal with heavy traffic, missing the train, stress from the commute, etc. All these and more are why remote work flexibility should be an option for every member. Being able to avoid this commute stress does wonder for productivity.
Bigger Talent Pool to Source
One of the benefits of remote working is the ability for employers to source talents from all over the world. When employers are sourcing talent, they are no longer restricted to their current locale. In the past, if employers couldn’t get someone to do a job within the company’s location, that position did not get filled. Due to remote work flexibility, employers can source talents from all over the world.
Remote work flexibility also solves the problem of employees remaining in a particular location because of their jobs. Now, employees can afford to relocate and work from wherever they choose while still keeping their jobs.
Better Employee Satisfaction
From all the points laid out above, it’s not difficult to deduce that remote work flexibility increases employee satisfaction. Giving employees control over their affairs and letting them choose how they decide to get the job done has proven to be a successful method to improve employee satisfaction.
Remote work flexibility also reduces the need for employees to want new jobs. With traditional working, an unlimited number of reasons could make an employee want another job. But with remote working, this is greatly reduced and employees stay longer and are more fulfilled at their jobs.
Challenges Associated with Remote Work Flexibility
While remote work flexibility has a ton of benefits, it is not without its demerits. Before deciding to go the route of remote work flexibility, you must make sure that you weigh the pros and cons and see what suits your organization best. Here’s a list of the demerits associated with remote working.
Feelings of Disconnectedness and Isolation
One of the cons of remote work flexibility is the feeling of isolation it can bring. With working remotely it’s often you against yourself. The usual connection and support that is offered in a traditional work setting are gone.
While communication tools help reduce this, it's still not the same as a traditional work setting. The way around this is to enforce mandatory team meetings to ensure that employees have a rapport with their teammates. The right communication system makes remote work flexibility a lot easier to handle.
To take this up a notch, some companies even go as far as creating separate social channels to foster communication among team members.
Another danger of remote work flexibility is overworking. With traditional working, employees know when to stop. They came at a specific time and they worked till specific hours. With remote work flexibility, the lines are often blurry.
As employees do not have to show up to work at a specific hour, the lines are often blurred and they end up working either very late or very early, ending up overworking themselves.
An office setting includes conversations with other team members, lunch breaks, meetings, etc. All these serve to break up the day into parts. With remote work, these things are inexistent hence employees often work with very little to no intermittent breaks.
Continuing from the point above. In a traditional setting, employees had days off, weekends, public holidays where they didn’t do a lick of work unless it was completely necessary. With remote work flexibility, this balance is no longer there.
Companies need to make sure everything is documented and ensure that employees are not overworked to the point where they barely lead their own lives. This can lead to burnout and may greatly affect their general lives.
Another way for employers to do this is to provide incentives that make them leave the house. Such as spa coupons, movie tickets, etc.
Remote work flexibility is on the rise and with the trends, it’s likely not going to stop. As an organization or an employee, it’s important to take a deep look at your organization's structures and affairs to determine what works best to produce better results.