We are in the age of the Internet and we should not be surprised by the changing trends that are going on around us. One of the increasing trends is remote working.
It may sound like nonsense to an office worker but the popularity of remote working culture is growing rapidly. More and more people are working remotely and not only companies but remote workers are also benefited from working remotely.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, the remote workforce has increased by 140% since 2005.
What is remote work?
Remote work is a modern-day trend where employees work from outside of the company. They work from home or from a coworking place or from any part of the world as a part-timer or a full-timer.
According to Owl Labs, 18% of employees work remotely full time.
Remote work is on the rise. And it is not going to stop anytime soon. Why? Because of its cost-efficiency, flexibility in work, capacity to add talented people and so on.
Traditional workplace to remote working?
People would have never thought that they could work from any part of the world without ever going to the workplace. In the past, people mostly used to engage in the manufacturing process. People used to be dependent on coworkers. In the absence of one, the working process used to halt.
But, now it has changed and people can work from any part of the world. People can work remotely and can work independently. They don’t have to depend on another coworker to finish the task. They can easily collaborate and communicate with fellow members. And this is all because of the Internet. The Internet has changed the way people can work. Advancement in technology has changed the mindset of people towards remote working.
Why remote work is the future?
Each year more companies are shifting to remote companies. Companies are recognizing the benefits of hiring talented people from different geographical locations. So remote working is gaining momentum in the world.
But why this change? Why is it so appealing?
For people who are trying to start a business, it has provided an opportunity to hire experienced and talented people without having to worry about the difference in time as well as cost. This not only applies to startup business but also to an established company. It is not only about cost or time difference but has other factors that make it so appealing.
Benefits of remote work that make it so appealing are:
The reason why people like to work remotely is that it offers flexibility. People can work from any part of the world promoting a balance between work and life. They aren’t restricted to any office rules and regulations. They have the freedom to work without any restrictions. It promotes a flexible lifestyle.
According to Owl Labs, 52% of employees around the world work from home at least once per week.
2. Worklife balance
Remote work enhances work-life balance. Remote workers have the freedom to choose time for their work as well as give time to their families. It makes the employee happy. As a result, it boosts productivity as well as reduces stress.
According to Owl Labs, 53% of the respondents worldwide feel happy and productive at remote work.
3. Boosts performance
Remote work helps to boost the performance of the employees. This can be related to flexibility and work-life balance. As they have more freedom and less workload stress, it helps in boosting the performance of the employees. Thus helping in higher productivity.
4. Cost reduction
Remote work helps in cost reduction of any startup business or an established company. The company doesn’t have to worry about their working place, their daily expenses, and so on. Such costs that are saved by hiring a remote worker can be invested in another place.
Working remotely can help in saving time as remote workers don’t have to commute to work every day. It helps in reducing a commute and thus helps remote workers give extra time for their work and for their family. In return, it helps in avoiding the stress that comes by traveling every day, stuck in traffic, etc. Such situations can be avoided and invest those saved times in another work.
Drawbacks of remote work
Does remote work have any drawbacks? Of course, it has. Remote work is gaining popularity but it does not mean that it does not come with any drawbacks. Some of the drawbacks of remote working are:
One of the drawbacks is communicating with remote workers. Without any methods of communication, it can lead to project failure. Misunderstanding might arise between the remote workers related to the projects in the absence of communication.
Another drawback is that remote workers might face distractions when working from home or from the place they love most. They might face distractions that they don’t usually get working from an office. Sometimes they might have to go to the market, watch tv, look after their family, pick up children from school and so on. Such things distract remote workers from working.
Remote working creates isolation thus resulting in loneliness. We are a human being and we like to have people around us. But working alone can result in loneliness and sometimes can be stressful. Having people around can help to solve the problem they are facing.
4. Lack of organization
Another problem faced by remote workers is the lack of organization. If remote workers are working from home or from any other place, it might be difficult to organize a private space for the work. Lots of distraction factors might occur while working remotely.
5. Time zone differences
One of the main drawbacks can be remote workers working in different time zone. The project manager might have to wake up at midnight because of differences in time zone. The team members may not always be available whenever needed. This can really be a critical situation for any company.
Solutions to remote working problems
So how do we resolve these problems? There are various methods to resolve problems that arise when working remotely. So here are some of the solutions to these problems.
1. Communication Tools
Another solution is to use different communication tools to avoid misunderstandings between remote workers. There are various communication tools that are useful for remote teams. Communication tools such as slack, skype, google hangouts, etc can be used to avoid misunderstanding. As a result, these tools help to have clear project vision and goals between the remote workers.
2. Include breaks
Another solution is to include breaks in the working schedule. Remote workers don’t have to overexert themselves. Including small breaks between the work can help to relax the mind and body. Thus, helping to avoid stress from the work.
3. Time management
The remote workers should be efficient enough to manage their own time. When working remotely, remote workers need to prioritize their work. They need to manage their own time deciding when to give time to the work or time to their family. One of the methods can be creating a to-do-lists that can help to prioritize the work. It also helps to limit the tasks as well.
4. Time flexibility with others in different time zone
Remote workers as well as the project manager have to come up with a plan so that communicating with fellow members becomes easier. They can think of a time that overlaps with the fellow member’s working time. This method can help them solve the problem of time zone differences.
Let’s see an example: Suppose a remote worker is working from Nepal and another team member is in the USA. Here they can overlap the working hours and come up with a time that is suitable for both the team members.
How to build a remote team?
Building a remote team is not as easy as it sounds. It takes some planning to hire a remote team for the company. Once done it can benefit the company for the long-term. But for that, a right remote team must be built that suits the business.
Here are some of the factors that help to build a remote team.
1. Define the company culture
Before hiring a remote team, the company needs to define its culture. The company needs to define its goals, vision, ethics, and values. Doing this can help a remote worker knows what the company is expecting from them and what can they do to fulfill their expectations.
2. Sources to find a remote team
It requires a lot of research to find a remote team for the company. The people involved in hiring the remote workers need to lists what kind of people they are searching for, their posts, skills, and so on. Different sites like Upwork, Fiverr, CloudPeeps, etc can help the company to find a remote team. Such websites help in finding the right remote team that the company requires.
Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can be the biggest assets in finding a remote team. These social media platforms can be like finding water in a desert, especially Facebook. Facebook is the biggest social media platform that provides the company with the opportunity to find the right remote team.
Now, it’s time to interview the applicants. Interview helps in assessing their skills and competency as well as their communication skills. It helps to communicate the company’s goals and vision. The company can test their skills to determine their potential and match their skills and competency with its standards.
4. Build a process
Once the company has hired the remote teams then it needs to think about communicating with them and managing the projects. It needs to build a process that helps the remote teams to work efficiently. The use of communication tools and project management tools helps the company to manage remote teams and projects better. If proper tools are not defined then how can the company get information from the remote team about the progress of the projects? So, thoroughly plan about using the best tools.
There are many tools available online that can solve the problems and save time. Some are Slack - team collaboration tool, Trello - to track tasks, Nuclino - to collaborate and share information in real-time, etc. Such tools are easily available that helps in organizing the work.
5. Communication tools
Why communication tools? Because the company needs these tools to communicate before and after the hiring process and also to collaborate with the remote teams.
Once the potential candidates are done listing, the company needs communication tools to interview and test their skills.
What are some of the tools for communicating and collaborating with a remote team? Tools such as Slack, Hangouts, Skype, etc. help to communicate with the remote team.
How to manage a remote team?
With the advancement in technology, businesses have taken interest in remote working. They have started to hire remote employees. Since many companies are getting benefits from it, remote working is rising rapidly.
But, how to manage a remote team effectively? Many people have questions about managing them effectively. So let’s look at some of the methods to manage them effectively.
1. Set expectations
The company needs to set clear expectations. It needs to set vision, goals, and purpose for its smooth business operations. The company needs to make sure that the remote team knows the vision and goals of the company. The company needs to make sure that the remote team works in the interest of the company. It needs to make sure that the remote team keeps working towards the same goals.
2. Communicate regularly
Communication is important for any remote company. Without effective communication with remote teams, projects can derail from its track and might not meet goals and expectations. The company needs to manage a regular meeting with a remote team. But it is still a problem to communicate with the remote team who are working from different geographical locations. The use of different communication tools can help to collaborate with the remote team.
3. Trust the team
Building trust with remote teams is one of the crucial factors for managing a remote team. Without trust in a remote team, the manager might worry about the deadline of the project, completion of the project, etc. It becomes a stressful job for the manager. Not only the manager but the remote team also must perform according to the company’s expectations, vision, and goals. Two-way trust is a must. This can be done by communicating with the team members about the project updates. The remote team must understand their priority.
4. Management tools
Having a reliable management tools can help in managing the project. The company needs to have good project management tools. These tools give information on the progress of the project. These tools also help in scheduling the tasks, assign tasks easily, files sharing and access, and better communication with the remote as well as with the clients too.
This shows how important having reliable management tools is for the company.
We are human beings and mistakes are common in life. It is unavoidable in life. Problems can arise anytime. We can be aware of the mistakes and try to solve those problems.
Why mistakes arise again and again? It’s simple. Not documenting the process. So, to avoid mistakes the project manager as well as the remote teams need to document the tasks and processes. Documenting the tasks and processes can help to take reference for future projects. Reviewing the document can assess the process and avoid mistakes that might occur. Documentation can help to improve what the company and the remote teams are doing. So, documentation is very important for managing a remote team.
6. Treat your remote team as local
The company needs to treat the remote team as a local team. The company needs to communicate with the remote team on a regular basis or once or twice a week. The company as well as the project manager need to respond to them as quickly as possible. Make them feel that they are also part of the company. It helps in avoiding the feeling of distant by the remote team.
List of remote companies in 2019
With the help of high-speed Internet, more people are working remotely. So, many companies are also looking to shift to remote company and this situation is in increasing trend. So, here is the list of well-established remote companies in the world.
10Up - they make websites and tools for content creators.
Basecamp - is a privately held American web application based company. Since 2004, it’s focus has shifted from web design to web application development.
Buffer - is a software that helps in managing social media accounts and schedule posts to social media platforms.
- Buzzfeed - is an American Internet media that focuses on digital media.
- FlexJobs - is an online job platform providing remote jobs.
- GitHub - provides hosting for software development version control using Git.
- Gitlab - is a repository manager that lets teams collaborate on code.
- Heroku - enables developers to build, run, and operate applications entirely in the cloud.
- Mozilla - coordinates and integrates the development of internet-related applications.
- Toptal - is a freelancing platform that connects businesses with software engineers, designers, and business consultants globally.
Status of remote work in 2019
Remote work is not ending anytime soon. Rather it is booming rapidly. So, here are some of the facts and figures that show the actual trends of remote working. These facts are researched by different organizations to see the changing trend of the workplace.
According to Gallups’s 2012-2016 “State of the American Workplace” report, 43% of American employees worked remotely at least some of the time.
According to Owl Labs, 16% of global companies are fully remote.
According to Owl Labs, 52% of employees around the world report working from home at least once per week, with 21% working from home more than once per week, 18% always working from home, and 13% one-day per week.
Data released by a Swiss company suggested that 70% of workers telecommuted at least one day a week, while 53% worked remotely for at least half the week.
According to Owl Labs, companies that allow remote work experience 25% less employee turnover than companies that do not allow remote work.
According to FlexJobs, telecommuting increased by 22% between 2017 and 2018.
According to FlexJobs, 3.9 million Americans reported working from home sometimes or working remotely full-time in 2018.
According to FlexJobs’ Annual Survey, 77% of people said having a flexible job would allow them to be healthier and 86% said they would be less stressed.
How can a zero investment startup benefit from hiring a remote team?
Many surveys have been conducted and shown that working with remote teams can be the best for the company. Working with a remote team can be challenging but hiring remote teams can be the best decision for any startup. Remote workers tend to be more productive. They don’t need to commute to work that in turn saves a lot of time. They are self-motivated and are not distracted by their coworkers. Their schedule is flexible and can finish work before the deadline. Such factors can play a vital role in making the startup a success.
Advancement in technology is increasing rapidly, so are new opportunities. With the increasing technology and opportunities, remote working is also increasing. Remote working is creating a new era of its own among the business. Not only companies are shifting to remote companies but are also benefitting from it.
It can be said that it is not only profitable for established companies but also to zero investment startup too. Those who are trying to start a startup can go for hiring remote workers. Hiring a remote worker is cost-efficient too. This is a perfect scenario for any zero investment startup.
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