Ah, the good old days. When “work” meant an 8-to-5 job (as if I have ever worked 8 to 5), a suit and tie, and a daily commute to an office building. When “remote” was something you used to change the channel on your TV, not a way of working. But times have changed, my friends. And as a seasoned veteran of the workforce, and employer, employee and the CEO of a technology firm that is making remote work possible, I’m here to tell you that the future will be the hybrid office – it’s the board room and the living room. Its the shop floor and the local coffee shop, or wherever else you choose to set up your laptop.
Welcome to the Era of Hybrid Work.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Back in my day, we didn’t have the luxury of working from home. We had to trudge through snow, uphill both ways, just to get to the office!” And yes, there’s something to be said for the discipline and structure that comes with traditional office work. But let’s face it, the world has changed. Technology has advanced. And the benefits of remote work are too significant to ignore.
The Benefits of Remote Work
Firstly, there’s the flexibility. No more waking up at the crack of dawn to beat the morning traffic. No more missing your kid’s at breakfast because the commute had you leaving the house before they were even awake. With remote work, the options really are much broader and could allow you to achieve a better work-life balance.
Then there’s the productivity. Contrary to what you might think, studies have shown that remote workers are only marginally less productive than in-office workers. At General Informatics, we measure this metric using a product called Prodoscore. (click the link, but spoiler alert we will be doing a blog on Prodoscore and how we use it as a metric of engagement. We are also resellers of the product because we think it is an essential part of running a business these days) Without the distractions of office politics and water cooler gossip, you can focus on what really matters: getting the job done while remote! Now, if you replace that with kids running trough the work area, and constant interruptions from the lawn guy or watching your favorite Netflix show, obviously you will not be doing remote work long.
The Challenges of Remote Work
There are real challenges to overcome. For one, there’s the issue of communication. Without face-to-face interaction, misunderstandings can arise, and team cohesion can suffer. But with the right tools and strategies, these hurdles can be overcome.
Another challenge is maintaining work-life boundaries. When your home is your office, it can be hard to switch off and relax. But again, with discipline and structure, this can be managed.
Adapting to Remote Work
So, how can businesses adapt to this brave new world of remote work? Firstly, by embracing technology. From video conferencing tools to project management software, there are countless technologies out there that can facilitate remote work. Office 365 can just about solve all problems with remote work, but you have to learn and master the toolsets!
Secondly, by fostering a culture of trust and accountability. Without the physical oversight of an office environment, managers need to trust their employees to get the job done. And employees, in turn, need to take responsibility for their own productivity. More importantly reporting becomes much more important. When people tell me that “Bill reports to me” I always ask them to show me the report, and they often look at me with bewilderment. Yeah, that is what that statement means, when someone reports to you they should be giving you a report, and if that report is only verbal, you are not that good of a manager! If you are curious to learn more about that topic, See my book Enhanced Executive Performance, it goes into detail of how to execute at a high level as an executive and the report is key!
In conclusion, the future of work is here, and it’s remote. It may not be what we’re used to, but with the right approach, it can lead to greater flexibility, productivity, and job satisfaction. So let’s embrace it, shall we? After all, even us old dogs can learn new tricks.