Remote employment is not about saving on office rent. As a rule, the company has an office and you come there from time to time. The correct remote job is about giving freedom to the employee, about respect and trust, and about effective management. It is work for the net result, which can always be measured. And yes, it does save on the amount of office space in some cases, but you still cannot close the company’s office.
3 major benefits of remote employment are obvious:
1) Freedom of action for the employee, the ability to plan the day.
2) The conditions for effective work that requires silence, concentration, and creativity.
3) The possibility of taking side jobs and, consequently, increasing the earnings.
3 the main drawbacks of remote jobs:
1) The lack of communication with colleagues (spontaneous discussions or even conflicts in which thought thrives).
2) The risk of not having enough time to meet the deadline or postponing the task until the deadline and doing it poorly due to ineffective time management.
3) Only well-developed, "advanced" companies with a high level of employee engagement can make remote employees working effectively.
Stereotypical views of CEOs on remote employment, or reasons why it’s not necessary to implement it in a company:
1) "It is fashionable, it is a trend, we work with Millennials, let's use it!" There is a misconception that Generation Y wants to work purely from home. In fact, they appreciate the opportunity to influence their work schedule, comfortable working environment, and modern offices.
2) "We are an IT company, let's be like Facebook or Google. If someone wants to work remotely we will let them." Before offering the opportunity to choose a work schedule Facebook and Google have come a long way full of ups and downs, and they are now creating mini-cities for employees so that they would strive to be there all the time!
3) "We are a small company, let's have our employees work at home and we will save on the office!" It is important here not to prioritize saving money but focus on company’s business profile, the level of management in the company, and the level of employee engagement. Otherwise, it is likely that while saving some money on office, you will lose twice as much on the sales.
When it makes sense to implement remote employment:
1) If the work is result-oriented and it does not require a constant presence in the office, and the result is easy to measure and control.
2) If the company has the technical capabilities and services for convenient and effective work of employees out of the office.
3) If the work is independent for the most part.
4) Given all the above, the company may provide remote job to an employee as a privilege if the employee wants to. I know cases when remote employees came to work in co-working centers or coffee shop just to be around people, but not around colleagues. Such atmosphere inspired them more than just sitting at home alone.
And finally, CEO of the company Denise Barnett tells us about a real experience of remote work of employees in her HR-agency and what they think about it.
“As a company that is engaged in selection of personnel and the provision of other services in the field of HR-consulting, in addition to phone and Skype interviews we conduct personal interviews with candidates on a daily basis, our office is located in the city centre, near the subway so it is easy to reach for the candidates. Therefore, the standard work schedule in the office for most of our employees is clear.
However, depending on the workload, we engage employees who work remotely, from home (basically, it's outsourcing, phone calls and invitation of candidates for interview) or can arrange an individual (remote) work schedule with any member of our staff if necessary.
Work standards and reporting forms are the same for everyone. Every Friday at 5 PM is the deadline for reporting for the week. At the same time, the colleagues constantly communicate via phone, Skype, messenger or email within the frame of ongoing joint projects. We have no difficulty in communication, as the level of engagement of people is very high: everyone loves what they do, plus the income is connected to the result (bonuses for the closed projects).
In the format of weekly reporting, in addition to the current status of projects (which can also be tracked online in an ERP system) employees reflect their workload (number of interviews, number of resumes of candidates sent to clients, number of meetings with the candidates spent with clients).
By analyzing these statistics, I can see that, for example, one working group could achieve the same or greater financial results at a lesser load than the other or Vice versa. This way, the result is easy to measure and monitor. However, the format of remote collaboration we allow for no more than 5-10% of our employees for individual projects and tasks. Developing the core team in the office is more important for our company at this point.
Thinking about the implementation of the format of remote work, I recommend to honestly answer yourself the question "Am I ready for this type of management? Do I trust my staff 100%? Will I be able to stop myself from micro-managing everything?" And if you honestly said Yes, then go ahead to transition to this new level of interaction!”