It’s a subject that animates many people. Not a day goes by that I don’t scroll down my LinkedIn feed to see someone advocating for or against it.
It divides opinion and every business seems to approach it in their own unique ways.
But what exactly is remote working?
Well, it refers to a work arrangement in which employees can perform their job duties and tasks outside of a traditional office environment. Instead of commuting to a physical workplace, remote workers have the flexibility to work from home, co-working spaces, or any other location of their choice.
The specifics of remote work can vary from one business to another based on several factors, including industry, company culture, and individual job requirements.
In this latest episode of Nobody Likes Recruiters (the podcast we produce monthly that helps business owners, managers and recruiters ace their candidate search), we covered this hot topic of remote working at length.
Before you tune into that, let’s dive in and look at the different industries that first seem to embrace remote working the most and those who find it a bit trickier to adapt.
Industries that are well-suited to remote working:
The Tech Savvy: The tech industry is all over remote work. Roles like software development, IT services, and digital marketing can seamlessly operate with online collaboration tools and communication platforms.
The Creative Fields: If you’re in the business of graphic design, content creation, or digital media production, remote work fits like a glove. Digital tools and file sharing make it easy to work from anywhere.
Professional Services: Consulting, accounting, legal services, and HR can often be done remotely. These knowledge-based roles thrive on digital communication and documentation.
Education and Training Sectors: Online education platforms, e-learning, and instructional design are a natural fit for remote work. Courses and training materials can be developed and delivered digitally.
Customer Support: Many customer support roles and virtual assistance can be performed remotely. Digital communication channels and remote access keep the support flowing.
Now, what about those industries with more challenges for remote working:
Manufacturing and Production: Physical manufacturing, assembly lines, and specialized equipment often require on-site presence and in-person collaboration, obviously.
Healthcare and Emergency Services: Roles in healthcare and emergency services demand on-site presence for direct patient care and quick response situations. It would be a little bit hard to save someone’s life over Skype.
Hospitality and Retail: Industries like hotels, restaurants, and traditional retail thrive on in-person customer interactions and on-site services.
Construction and Trade Services: On-site construction, maintenance, and skilled trades require physical presence due to the nature of the work and the need for specialised equipment.
Remember, these are general observations, and there can be variations within each industry.
The pandemic certainly showed us that many industries can adapt and find new ways to incorporate remote work. In our experience, every business that could go remote during COVID did so.
Despite what some may say, there are clear benefits to letting your staff work remotely at least some of the time if you can.
Opening up remote work options allows businesses to tap into a broader talent pool. Without geographic restrictions, companies can recruit top-notch professionals from anywhere in the world, bringing in diverse skills and perspectives.
And believe it or not, remote work can often lead to increased productivity. Without the distractions and interruptions commonly found in traditional office environments, employees can focus on their tasks, leading to improved efficiency and output.
Both businesses and employees can enjoy cost savings with remote work arrangements. Companies can save on office space, utilities, and other associated expenses. Employees can also save on commuting costs, meals, and work attire. It’s win/win.
Remote work provides employees with greater flexibility, enabling them to better balance their personal and professional lives. This flexibility can lead to higher job satisfaction, reduced stress levels, and increased employee retention.
Implementing working from home agreements promotes trust, communication, and collaboration, they can foster stronger employee engagement. When employees have more control over their work environment and schedule, they tend to feel more empowered and motivated.
Embracing remote work can contribute to a positive environmental impact, which is on the mind of a lot of business owners right now. Reduced commuting leads to fewer carbon emissions and a smaller ecological footprint, promoting sustainability efforts.
But as we cover in the latest show, there’s a lot to be said for being able to see your staff or those conversations around the water cooler.
So, in the interests of fairness, it’s probably best we now cover what some of the disadvantages are.
Remote work can sometimes hinder spontaneous communication and face-to-face collaboration. It may require more effort to ensure effective communication channels, coordinate projects, and maintain a sense of team unity.
Plus, it’s natural that working in isolation can sometimes lead to decreased interaction among employees. Building and sustaining team morale and a sense of belonging may require additional strategies and initiatives, or the abandonment of WFH altogether.
For certain roles, monitoring employee performance and ensuring accountability can be more challenging in a remote work setup. Clear guidelines, performance metrics, and regular check-ins may be necessary to maintain productivity and quality standards.
Remote work also heavily relies on technology and a stable internet connection. Businesses need to provide adequate resources and support to ensure employees have the necessary tools, equipment, and access to address technical challenges.
And yes, the advocates of remote work like to wax lyrically about flexibility, but it can also blur the boundaries between work and personal life. Some employees struggle with setting clear boundaries, leading to potential burnout or difficulty disconnecting from work.
Introducing new employees to a remote work environment and providing effective onboarding and training programs may require additional planning and investment. Ensuring a smooth transition and effective integration can be more challenging without face-to-face interaction.
Finally, remote work introduces additional security concerns, such as data breaches or unauthorised access to company systems. Businesses must implement robust cybersecurity measures and educate employees on best practices to mitigate these risks, at extra costs to you!
There’s a lot to consider, isn’t there?
In the show, we provide a couple of real-life examples of businesses that haven’t embraced remote work and the subsequent issues that they have then faced in the context of recruitment.
In conclusion, there are many different ways to approach remote work. What is applicable to business A might be the worst thing in the world that business B could do!
Check out our latest episode for even more insight, we think it’ll give you a good template on how you should approach this subject and make it work for your company.