Remote control: A new way to work... but is it for you?

Whilst there are many advantages to remote working, there are a few things which will help it work, and a couple of traps that are easy to fall into if you’re not careful. 

Being part of or engaging a remote workforce has many advantages.

Frustrated with their long daily commute, many experienced workers are swapping the hustle and bustle of city life for a sea-change, tree-change – or more recently – e-change.

Flexibility means different things to different people. While relocation might be the solution for some, for others, it may not be an option. Some people simply want to plan their work around the times that suit them.

The companies that realise this, and embrace it, have a distinct advantage when it comes to the competition for talent.

A few years ago, it was the exception rather than the norm. Remote work opportunities were difficult to find, and only after trust had been established, would flexibility be allowed.

Employees had to provide a strong case for it.

Nowadays, many companies are beginning to look seriously at it, and some have taken it to a new level.

A case in point is PwC where all employees can dictate how they work. The onus is on the manager to provide a business case as to why a role cannot be done remotely or flexibly.

Whilst there are many advantages to remote working, there are a few things which will help it work, and a couple of traps that are easy to fall into if you’re not careful. 

Is working remotely for you?

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Sure, most people will do it now and again, but doing it permanently is another prospect altogether.

To avoid finding yourself at the kitchen table at 11:00 am still in your pyjamas, get dressed, go out for a walk or do some exercise.

Many colleagues who are good at working from home say separating your work from your home life is critical. One, who lives close to the beach, swims in the mornings and evenings  as a way of starting and ending his work day.

Can working from beach work for you?

Staying connected

With good internet access and the right software loaded onto your computer, you can do most things.

A VPN should give you access to most things you’ll need to do to stay in touch, share files and work collaboratively.

But occasionally something won’t work, and unfortunately that requires a trip into the office to reset a password, get something installed, or access some system that can’t be accessed outside the firewall.

And exactly who are you?

It’s a lot easier to pick up the phone, or Skype someone for some help, or participate in a virtual meeting if you know the person.

If you haven’t met them, you run the risk of forever being the disembodied voice at the end of the teleconference.  People might question who you are, what you are actually doing, and how you fit into the organisation.

Whilst you and your boss might have a mutually beneficial agreement, the wider workforce might not get it, which is a bit of a double standard.

If they can’t see what you’re doing, they can assume you’re bludging. The fact that they have no idea what Dave in the next cubicle does because he’s there at 7:30 every morning, so therefor must be busy, is neither here nor there.

As a remote worker, you must find ways to let people know what you’re working on, and what you’re achieving.

Guilt

I get paid for delivering results. But when I work from home, I feel guilty if I don’t log on early or am un-contactable at any time of the day.

If I took a call while I was out getting a coffee or at lunch I’d feel guilty, yet if I was working from the office, a coffee or lunch break is totally fine.

Because of this guilt, I tend to start early, and work much later. No wonder people who work remotely commonly tell me that they get more done than if they went into the office.

Those that do it successfully aren’t worried about sending an email or taking a while they’re hanging up the washing or waiting to pick the kids up from school.

They’re grateful for the opportunity to work remotely, and whilst they aren’t always visible, they often work harder than their office bound colleagues to ensure they don’t disappear off the radar.

Remote working isn’t for everyone, but with some planning, it can be rewarding.

For companies, creating an environment where remote working is not only possible, but is actively embraced positions you well to take advantage of a growing workforce.

Watch the video below to find out how the Fisher family snagged the ultimate 'e-change'

 


From education to e-change, take a look at how connectivity will impact Australian lifestyles this year... and beyond in our special blog series.