The Benefits and Challenges of Remote Working

I dream of the day that I perform my role from anywhere at any time.  Telecommuting, work from home, working remotely, or whatever you want to call it has been with us for several decades now. For some its become a reality, with freelancers who rely solely on an internet connection working from all over the world. But remote working could become a reality for those of us who require a little more with the help of many advancing technologies, but there are challenges that could prevent my beachside office dream from coming to fruition.

The top three things that have enabled remote working and the things that remain challenges for organisations.

The Enablers

1.Cloud Technologies

Cloud has been a game changer in many ways, is that it can be accessed from anywhere on the planet makes it by design very conducive to remote working. Examples of this are Google G-Suite and Microsoft Office 365.  These products have the core applications of most offices (small and large).  Complement this with your specialised business applications and most of your staff have all the tools they need to perform roles effectively.

2. Convergence of Communication Technologies

The telephone is not just a telephone these days.  Video conferencing, voice recording, displaying and sharing desktops, and instant messaging are technologies that are now integrated into one service for the end user.  Once these channels of communication were separate applications making them somewhat cumbersome to use.  With the convergence come ease of use and a rich experience that is becoming close to face to face meetings.

3. Cultural Shift

It has taken a long time for managers to get on board with remote working, however, I believe we have reached the tipping point.  Working from home is no longer frowned upon as organisations realise the many benefits.  Remote workers are more productive in most cases, as they do not have the constant distractions they have when in the office.  Businesses that have adopted activity-based working (ABW) have an opportunity to office floor space, converting to real savings in rent.

The Challenges

1. Trusting staff

Is that green presence icon real or is that a drinking bird?  Are my staff doing domestic chores instead of work?  OR are they at the beach?  Most managers naturally have these types of questions when staff are working from home.  Trust is something that is built over time between 2 people and comes to the fore.  This remains a major challenge for remote working.

2.Face to Face time is still best

There is no getting around this one, people prefer to meet face to face.  Put simply, body language is an overwhelming part of our communication and this is not changing rapidly.

3. Technology still fails

A lightning storm, spilt coffee on a keyboard, or a computer virus.  Whatever the cause technology still fails us and sometimes at the worst possible times.  Technology has become more reliable in recent times but no one can boast 100%.

4. Security

Security has gained focus in recent years.  Working from home presents many challenges for organisations to maintain high standards of security.  No organisation wants to loss IP to their competitors or be in the headlines for a data breach.

4. Timezones

Working across time zones takes the working

5. Home distractions and upholding professionalism

Dogs barking, children screaming, washing machine on the spin cycle.  Sound like a recent conference call you were on?   Not all staff have large houses with a dedicate, soundproof room for the home office and domestic noises can hinder professionalism on calls.

Starboard IT has implemented remote working technologies and developed the associated organisational policies and procedure to complement remote working for many companies.  We take into account the differing benefits and challenges unique to each organisation, if you’re interested in getting a step closer to that beachside office, get in touch today to see if we can get you closer!

If you’re looking for consultancy services to help design your own IT business processes, contact Starboard IT to find out what we can do for you.