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What are some of the existing barriers to remote work? How can we overcome these in the future?
FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics recently produced a special report on the growth of remote work.
Between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work. In 2015, 3.9 million U.S. workers were working remotely. Today that number is at 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population.
As we move forward in time, the rapid acceleration of cloud computing has paved the way for an abundance of remote working opportunities. Although, if remote working was so easy, why aren’t more workforces implementing it?
The answer lies in some of the existing barriers to remote work. If we can find potential solutions to these barriers, we will be able to encourage more workforces to start embracing the cloud-based applications, unlocking remote productivity.
Let’s dive straight into the barriers to remote work whilst exploring potential solutions to overcome them in this ever-evolving landscape.
A Workplace Culture Built Around A Physical Space
When an employer has invested a considerable amount of time and money into building a robust workplace culture, the thought of dismantling it entirely could prove to be rather disheartening and frustrating. Who wants to see their hard work destroyed?
From implementing employee wellbeing systems to planning training sessions and launching team building activities, a lot goes into crafting the perfect workplace culture. This isn’t something that happens overnight, it can take months and even years to fine-tune a working environment.
The vast majority of workplaces will, at least initially, be unable to go solely remote. This means they would have some employees working from home, with others still in the physical workspace. The staggered approach gives team leaders time to develop strategies for a strong remote workplace culture.
The question is, how can you translate the culture built in the physical workspace to multiple remote locations? We believe it begins with the use of a centralized system, such as Slack and Microsoft Teams. You can then add tools such as Karma to help shape this positive remote working culture.
For employers who have seen the benefits of encouraging their team members to participate in group bonding activities, we recently wrote a comprehensive article with a series of ideas for remote team bonding.
A Highly Localized IT Infrastructure
Does your workforce operate on a localized network? Whilst increasing numbers of businesses are utilizing cloud storage, many still have key, task-related files stored on local servers and drives. Remote working would mean that team members could lose access to these essential files.
Businesses often purchase large packages of software for use across their physical workplace. This software cannot be accessed remotely unless it is cloud-based. For many businesses, shifting an entire operation onto the cloud would lead to massive, short-term disruption.
However, when you look at the bigger picture, it can eventually lead to long-term gain. We recently wrote an article on why millennials are deciding to leave top companies. A modern workforce craves flexibility. Remote working is the solution to this desire. Delaying cloud migration could result in the future loss of talented and skilled workers.
A Lack Of Trust From Employers
Trust is paramount in business. If an employer cannot trust their workforce to be productive in a physical location, they are almost certainly going to have issues with trusting a workforce that is spread across various remote locations.
Harvard Business Review recently reported on behavioral science research showing positive teams that trust each other are likely to be more productive, creative and resilient. They found these traits were able to improve a workforce’s overall effectiveness.
How can employers break past the obstacle of not trusting their team enough to permit remote working? Ultimately, it comes down to the types of systems that are put into place. If your team uses a cloud-based communication channel like Slack, team leaders will be able to monitor productivity from afar.
Karma is the perfect tool for building high-performing remote teams. A strong line of communication is essential to remote working. Karma can help to facilitate this with a variety of features to promote cross-team communication.