For some, the concept of not working in an office or work-related building is just incomprehensible. They get up, go through their morning routine and then they head out the door to work. Many hours later they return home, shut the door and hopefully forget about work for the remainder of the day.
However, can you imagine a world where you, your co-workers, your employees work everywhere BUT an office? Hard to imagine isn’t it? Yet remote working is becoming more and more commonplace in many different industry sectors. According to the Office of National Statistics, the traditional office and working environment is “under attack” with more than 4 million of us choosing to work elsewhere be it our favourite coffee shop, at home or in a shared space with other likeminded people.
It’s true that remote working can make a person feel lonely – you lose the social aspect of working in an office environment which can make those working remotely feel isolated. However, most people agree that the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of working remotely.
The biggest bonus for those working remotely is the flexibility this creates. Provided you meet your deadlines and work doesn’t suffer, you can technically work whenever and at whatever time you choose. This is particularly good for families who need a parent to be flexible for their children.
If you’re ill but need to keep working, at least you can do it from the comfort of your own bed and there’s no boss to glare at you if you decide to go and lie down in the middles of the day! Remote working definitely increases your flexibility which in turn can lead to a better and healthier work-life balance.
Thanks to the flexibility of being able to work wherever and whenever you like, strangely your levels of communication can actually increase. Granted, you might need to make more of a conscious effort as you don’t have Babs from marketing sat opposite you anymore telling you about her latest escapades but perhaps the communication becomes more meaningful.
If you’re able to work wherever, this means that if you have friends who work remotely, you can all work in the same space together. You’d have to set down some ground rules to ensure productivity remained at its premium, but this would also mean you get to spend more time with people who matter.
With remote working, your communication with your boss or employees needs to be top notch as well in order to make things run smoothly. You may find you actually speak to them more when you work remotely than you did in the office so that everyone is kept up to date. For remote working to go smoothly, communication is key.
Security and remote working can be a bit of a headache for the workers and their clients or employers. If you’re a remote worker and have multiple clients, sometimes in different locations around the world, you may need to use different security applications for each of them.
You will probably have to comply with lots of different policies and regulations and may feel anxious about accessing and inadvertently compromising a client’s network. On the other hand, it is understandable if you are wary of giving up some of your own privacy to your employer.
It’s not just remote workers themselves who are at risk. Permanent employees who occasionally do work at home can face (and cause) security issues when remotely accessing an organisation’s network.
In all honesty, it depends which way you look at things. Yes, working remotely can increase security risks because you are not in the building where the secure network is housed and/or run.
However, because as remote workers we know that there are greater risks, we often have even better security and take less risks than we would in the office environment. We use online tools like Last Pass to encrypt passwords and keep sensitive information safe.
Just because you’re working remotely it doesn’t mean the security risks are any greater or indeed any less than the office environment.
Initially things started where remote workers actually earn less money. This is still true of those who are not self-employed and work remotely for a larger firm, but those working for themselves are actually earning much more.
However, even those who’s wage is slightly less and are still working for their employer’s are said to have seen a change in finances and an increase in income. How? They are spending less money on commuting to work be it on public transport or in their own car with petrol costs. There is also less temptation to go out for lunch and spend money on quick and easy food as well as copious amounts of coffee which soon adds up. These savings add up and put more money back into your pocket than you would realise.
Age Limit and Health Restrictions
A surprising benefit to working remotely is that this type of working is opening up opportunities for people who weren’t necessarily able to work before. A lot of remote workers are often older and find it difficult to get jobs and can instead work for themselves from home where there is no prejudice against age.
Remote working also allows those with restrictions due to their health to work as well. If you have trouble with movement, sitting in one spot for long periods of time or perhaps suffer with mental health problems such as stress or anxiety, remote working can be the answer to maintaining an employed status.
Should we all become remote workers?
What a question – it is definitely conceivable that as time goes on, more and more of the workforce will become remote based. We so often need to connect to people and businesses all over the world, that it seems pointless to all group together in one spot, spend unnecessary money on office space and the costs of running an office when people can work just as easily from home.
Remote working will not be for everyone, but it is definitely something all businesses need to consider going forwards. I was recently featured by Telco Compare in an article about working remotely. “Working remotely is the best thing I have ever done.” For me it has worked out wonderfully and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Remote working has opened doors for those who perhaps were previously unable to work for whatever reason. Should we all become remote workers? We could. It depends if it works for the business and if it works for you.
My name is Selina Johnson and I'm a Business Support Expert providing Virtual Business Support to businesses. We help SME's with administrative, technical and creative support so you are free to grow your business and increase your profits.
Contact us today to discuss how we can add value to your business.
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