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Not too long ago, ‘remote working’ conjured up images of sitting in your dressing gown, sipping coffee and occasionally checking your emails in between watching videos of cats on YouTube. But now, it’s a serious concept. Forward-thinking businesses are increasingly embracing the virtual office and are keen to reap the rewards. But will we see a fully-fledged revolution?
A logical next step
Rapid advancements in technology mean that, nowadays, anything you can do on a computer, you can do from anywhere. Presenting a strategic plan to the team? A live-stream interactive presentation is all you need. Setting up an appraisal and feedback session? A simple Skype meeting will do the trick. Starting an investigation into who stole your sandwich from the office kitchen? No need – you made your own sandwich, in your own kitchen, in your own home. And it was delicious.
Simplicity is bliss
Why would you make the daily rat-race journey across town, wedged against the window of an overcrowded metro or weeping behind the wheel in an eternal traffic jam, when you could just roll out of bed straight into your very own office, via a quick shower and a coffee? The time spent commuting can instead be used to create something inspired.
As well as saving time, the employee saves money working remotely. Commuting costs add up. The money saved can be a real morale boost and lead to increased job satisfaction. The employer also cuts spending. Office space is expensive, and the money saved by adopting remote working can make a huge difference to a business, giving them a chance to invest in other areas.
The age of flexibility
Yesterday’s rigidity is fading fast. The concept of the typical nine-to-five is being replaced by a far more flexible system. Today’s workforce wants the freedom of choice. To work when they want, where they want. Enjoying a greater work/life balance, with less office politics, leads to greater job satisfaction and greater company loyalty. No more aircon wars means no more revolving doors. It’s as simple as that.
As technology becomes increasingly advanced, so too does cybersecurity. Businesses are investing more time and money into making sure that their data is safe and sound. For the remote working revolution to truly take off, this is crucial.
Taming the digital nomads
A flock of freelance workers, from graphic designers to copywriters, are already changing the business landscape. These digital-nomads-for-hire are in control of their own workday and pick and choose who they work for. Companies have the chance to give these e-ramblers a permanent residence, blending the new methodology of remote working with a time-honored ethos of team-building, using technology to bridge the distance.
A bridge too far?
But is it all achievable? While it might be true that certain things, such as real human interaction are difficult to replace in a virtual way, it’s hard to predict the upper limits of technology.
One thing is for sure. Technology has already changed the way we live and work in a way that was inconceivable just a few decades ago. This change is accelerating. It would be wise to embrace it.