Online Collaboration Software
Published September 07th, 2016 by

How Working via Remote Helps a Company, but Can Hurt the Employees

It is well established that companies gain from hiring remote workers.  Whether it’s the benefit of lower costs for a smaller office footprint or the fact that remote workers tend to work longer hours, the financial and operational advantages that accrue to companies hiring remote workers can have a noticeable impact on profitability.

What is often ignored is the impact that working via remote can have on the employees themselves.   At face value, there are obvious advantages to working from home.  The ability to save money and wasted time commuting is appealing to a generation of workers that is reliant on technology for collaboration.    More importantly the perception that remote workers make their own hours and have the flexibility to pick up a sick child from day care or work from a coffee shop outweigh the less obvious downsides.

The reality is that many remote workers feel underappreciated and disengaged from their organizations.   A recent Binfire study of remote workers indicate an overwhelming concern that distance from the main office will impact a remote employees career advancement.  Over 60% of respondents to the survey indicated they Moderately Agreed or Strongly Agreed with the statement that distance from the home office negatively impact their long term prospects within the organization.   A similar number of respondents also stated that as remote workers, they were removed from the corporate culture.

In addition to these concerns, other data also suggests that remote workers work longer hours and are more productive.   Today’s remote worker never leaves the office and the office never leaves them.  Whether it’s a conference call with team members at 10:00 PM at night or answering emails during one’s child’s piano recital, remote workers never stop working.

To some extent, collaboration software and the ubiquity of mobile devices are the culprits.    Real time updates form project management software and notifications via chat and text extends the working day and eats into the home life of remote workers.

Many managers look the other way.  The benefit from higher productivity and lower costs is real and the inevitable burnout may or may not happen.   Whether or not this is short-sighted, it is almost impossible to put the remote genie back in the bottle.

The outlook for remote workers is not completely bleak if a company’s management takes a progress and thoughtful approach.

First, it is important to hire the right people.  Not everyone is suited for remote work and it is important that remote workers display the emotional maturity and independence to thrive in an environment where they will not get support.

Second, managers need to invest extra time and energy in nurturing their remote team members.    A manager of remote employee also needs to be their internal advocate and mentor.   Also there needs to be a regular rhythm of communications that is augmented by in-person meetings.

Third, your need to support and empower your remote employees by giving them the right tools and software.   Don’t overburden remote team members with document sharing software, collaboration software and project management software.     If you are looking for a guide on how to go about finding the right project management software for remote employees, consider the Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing Project Management Software.

A company’s employees are its strongest assets, and just because they are distributed does not mean that they should be forgotten.   An investment in remote workers in an investment in one’s core business and will likely reap rewards in the long-term.

David Robins
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David Robins

David Robins is the CEO of Binfire Online Project Management Software( He is a pioneer of Hybrid Project Management and has been featured in numerous industry and trade publications.
David Robins
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