Remote work has become a popular solution for businesses of all sizes in the modern world.
50% of the UK workforce alone could be working on a remote basis by next year (2020).
As companies discover that a flexible working strategy can lead to better productivity, reduced costs, and happier workers for their business, it's no surprise that demand is growing. However, while remote working has its benefits, it has challenges to consider too.
It takes a certain kind of person to maintain the discipline and focus required to be a productive remote worker. After all, there's no manager hanging on your shoulder to make sure that you're getting work done.
So, how do you make working remotely really work for you?
Communication is an essential component of any workplace. Even in a traditional environment, companies can struggle if their communication is stunted. When teams are distributed around the world, it's harder to keep conversations going strong. The good news is that there are telecommuting tools to keep people connected.
With the right solution in place, you can implement strategies for everything from instant-messaging conversations, to simple phone calls, and even face-to-face interactions via video conferencing. According to some studies, face-to-face meetings are 34% more successful than sending an email. Video conferencing will allow employees to access crucial nuances like body language and facial expressions when they're miles away from their coworkers.
As remote working has grown more popular around the world, vendors have begun to create tools and applications designed to serve a new community. These solutions make it easier to keep on top of collaboration, even when you're not in the same office as your coworker.
For instance, with Dropbox, you can send your team members the latest version of your documents and files, so that they can collaborate on new projects. With Trello, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page with project management thanks to drag-and-drop workplaces and calendar notifications.
Even if you need to set up a meeting that works for all your colleagues, wherever they are in the world, you can access services like Google Calendar to make sure you get your timing right. All the while, you've got services to keep the conversation going through instant messaging, video, and audio conferencing.
Importantly, one of the biggest things that remote workers forget to do when they start working from home is creating a routine. Unfortunately, without someone to tell you when to start work, and when to stop each day, it can be challenging to find the line between work and life. Sometimes, this can lead to problems like burnout and stress for people who just don't know how to switch off and relax.
Working remotely can be excellent for productivity, but it also has the potential to cause severe health problems for people who can't manage their days properly. Figure out when your team needs you to be online most during the day and work your schedule around that. When you're not available to talk, make sure that you have a presence feature on your communication and collaboration app that you can set to "away" or "offline." This will help you to find the work/life balance you need.
Irina Kirnos is a Product Marketing Manager at RingCentral in EMEA. With experience in the cloud software and communication industry spanning Silicon Valley, Research Triangle Park and now London, she enjoys working collaboratively with global teams to develop product messaging and positioning, sales enablement and competitive differentiation make this possible for startups and large businesses anywhere in the world.