Instant Offices investigates what industries are leading the way for remote working and how to overcome the typical challenges of managing a remote team
More business owners are swapping rigid 9-5 schedules and traditional office environments in favour of flexible space and remote working as an option for saving costs, retaining employees and encouraging a healthy work-life balance.
A 2016 study conducted by Vodafone involving 8,000 global employees and employers found that three-quarters of companies worldwide have already switched to flexible working options. 61% believe that it had increased the company’s profits and 83% reported a boost in productivity. Additionally, numerous studies suggest that workers would choose flexible working over a pay rise, indicating that more people are interested in a better work-life balance and a schedule that fits their agenda.
Furthermore, according to Remoters.net, 7.25% of the remote companies listed on their website are originally from the UK, second only to the US. Now more than ever, the best talent is seeking organisations that encourage and support flexible working. The growth in this trend is primarily fuelled by technology, including the rapid increase of mobile tech, communication and project management platforms, as well as the rapid growth of Wi-Fi hotspots, likely to hit 432.5 million globally by 2020.
Industries Leading the Way for Remote Working
According to Remoters.net, software or technology roles are the most popular, with 29.2% of remote jobs posted by companies from the field of Information Technology, followed by mobile app development at 4.51%.
After technology, marketing is the second-best industry for remote workers, with 24.5% of remote jobs posted from this field. The reason for its popularity is that numerous roles can be covered completely online, including content writers, social media managers, SEO strategists and digital marketers.
Top 10 fields for remote working:
- Information Technology – 29.2%
- Marketing – 24.5%
- Business Administration and Management – 4.7%
- Mobile App Development – 4.5%
- Shopping – 3.9%
- Other – 3.5%
- Education and Training – 3.3%
- Arts – 3.3%
- Human Services – 3.2%
- Correction and Security – 2.9%
Communicating with Remote Teams
For many workers, increased connectivity in personal and work lives has made the transition into remote working a relatively easy one. Faster and more reliable Wi-Fi and broadband, access to cloud systems and team collaboration tools mean ‘the office’ can be just about anywhere. By streamlining your work processes in this way, your team can be more professional, productive and efficient in the long run.
Along with the benefits, there are some challenges to managing remote teams:
Communication – Getting people in different locations to work together for a common goal can be tricky. That said, the Internet has provided many powerful tools to assist with communication and collaboration in today’s modern workplace.
Hiring the right people – Recruiting the right people is crucial. Not everyone can work effectively in a remote location. Therefore, you must find people who can demonstrate their ability to manage time, handle their workload and deliver results.
Keeping track of activities, goals and productivity – In remote settings, employees must know how to manage themselves and often wear different hats. It is therefore important to ensure team members are aware of the company’s long-term and short-term goals.
Growing Company Culture with a Remote Team
Generally, co-located teams have an easier time building a company culture than remote teams. That said, here are some things business owners can do to create a positive company culture with a remote team:
Choose tools that match your culture: Because all communication and collaboration will be done using online tools, it is essential to choose apps and software that match the culture you are trying to create. If you want to create a fun, laid-back environment, choose tools that match this atmosphere. You also want to make it as easy as possible for your remote team to stay up-to-date. Be it via video conferencing tools, chat apps, or the comments section of your project management tool, you need to offer various ways to keep in touch.
Team building: Team building does wonders to foster communication, especially among remote workers who do not see each other on a daily basis. Where possible, create an ‘office social life’ by planning regular meetups, lunches, and team building activities to boost team morale.
Recognition: Public recognition for a job well done is one of the most effective and most natural ways to motivate a remote team. Shout outs in a team chat, during meetings or any other way, will not only boost morale and motivation but set a standard for other team members to strive for.