Remote Control

Why Limiting Remote Work Doesn’t Mean More Control for Employers

Why is the concept of remote work such a polarizing subject?  Some companies swear by its benefits while others maintain strict policies to ensure their employees are in the office during the core hours of every workday.  Here are some of the obvious reasons it should be implemented in almost any company.

Happier Employees

Working from home allows employees to eliminate commute times and related transportation costs.  It can also let them feel empowered and respected as an employee capable of producing results without constant monitoring.  An unexpected result of this empowerment can sometimes be a greater sense of responsibility on the part of the employee.

Lower Overheads

Employers that implement work-from-home policies can usually reduce the size of their workspace and corresponding rent.  These sometimes significant cost savings can be passed on to both employees and clients, or used to support growing the company.

Better Work Product

Working from home usually means that employees feel less rushed. Without the commute to worry about they can start work early or work a bit later if they choose. This added flexibility can lead to greater focus and a better overall work product.  It may even result in the unintended benefit of an employee working more hours simply because they don’t have to worry about getting to and from the office.

Happier Customers

Outside of the occasional in-person meeting, it is rare that clients care if a service provider has resources working remotely.  In fact, motivated workers, lower overheads that can be passed onto clients and a better work product are all reasons why flexible work environments should actually lead to happier customers as well.

With so many clear benefits to maintaining flexible work environments, what makes some companies so resistant to allowing their employees to work from home on a more regular basis?  The answer may be in the perceived control a company believes it loses when it is unable to easily monitor an employee’s day-to-day activity.  Whether someone works from home or is in the office five days per week though, their real value will be shown in their output.  Regardless of their location, strong performers can be evaluated objectively through the results they produce.  You might even argue that rating someone positively for being in the office is a false positive, because their location has no bearing on their productivity.  Someone can be just as unproductive in the office as they can be remotely!

There’s no denying that there are some risks associated with maintaining a largely remote workforce, but the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks.  As with any risks, companies that have a plan in place to reduce them will always be better positioned for success.  Here are some tips for reducing the risks associated with flexible remote work policies while maximizing the benefits.

Hire Smart

Employers should focus on hiring strong self-motivated candidates that are capable of working from anywhere. While there will always be people that attempt to take advantage of a good thing, stringent hiring processes will help identify these people and weed them out early.  Case studies are often a good way to determine whether or not a potential employee is willing to put in the work required to be a contributor to your business.

Use Technology

The right mix and use of technology can go a long way in creating a connected, remote work environment.  One of the knocks against remote work is a lack of human interaction but implementing a video conferencing tool will allow employees to connect with one another face-to-face.  Instant messaging tools like Slack are also a great way to keep employees and teams connected and communicating regularly.

Schedule In-Person Meetings on Set Days

A flexible work environment isn’t an invitation to avoid meeting in person.  That said, meetings can be scheduled in a thoughtful way so that employers minimize the number of days per week an employee needs to be in the office.  For example, a manager may determine that all in-person meetings for their team will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays so that their team has the flexibility to work from home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

At CEO Law, many of our lawyers work remote yet maintain top grades from clients for their responsiveness and the quality of their work product.  In fact, flexibility is one of the main reasons more lawyers than ever before are deciding to leave private practice for roles with alternative legal service providers. This is a real life example of how flexible work environments can, and do work.

What is keeping you from letting people work from home more freely?

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