Embracing a remote friendly work culture; its challenges and opportunities.

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The traditional office, as we know it, isn’t a very productive place. This was proven in a social experiment conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Business’s Professor Nicholas Bloom. He and his co-researchers; James Liang, John Roberts, and Zhichun Jenny Ying sought to prove the validity of remote work as a future-looking technology for software development agencies, content marketing agencies and the corporate world as a whole.

They studied China’s largest travel agency, Ctrip, which has about 20,000 employees with its headquarters in Shanghai. The company leaders, in a bid to avoid exorbitant rents costs, decided to experiment with the remote work culture to decipher if it was fit for their company. They divided their workforce into two. Half worked from home for nine months, coming into the office once a week, and the other half worked only from the office.

Bloom and his team studied these two groups for about two years and found a 13% improvement in performance from the employees working at home. It was discovered that people working from home actually work their full shift unlike those in the office who might be delayed by traffic, lunch break overtime, early closure or other factors that could interfere with office hours.

Furthermore, people working remotely, in time, were able to concentrate better, had less distractions and focused more. Also, Bloom’s study found that resignations at the company dropped by 50% when employees were allowed to work from home. This experiment led Ctrip to roll out a work-from-home option to all its employees and in time, the company reported that it made about $2,000 more profit per person, having adopted the remote work culture.

The remote work culture has its roots in the pre-industrial revolution in England where nearly all British commoners lived and worked in spaces known as “work homes”. With the industrial revolution came big machines which needed large and separate spaces to house them. This led to the birth of office areas with employees expected to work onsite.

In 1992, the U.S government adopted the telecommuting or remote work culture for a number of federal workers. This made the idea popular and in 1996, the telecommuting initiative was born. This, combined with the rise of the world wide web, made the culture of remote work more acceptable to many organisations in the US. Today, the remote work culture has been adopted by organisations all over the world.

With the rise of mobile technology, the remote work culture is gradually gaining acceptance in software development agencies, content marketing agencies and the corporate world at large. However, a major drawback is that remote workers turn to SMS, Skype and WhatsApp as their main forms of communication (as there are no uniform messaging platforms), leaving the company communication and projects highly susceptible to hackers and cyber thieves. This however can be combated by implementing a companywide set of communication standards that simplifies the process of communication for their workers.

Some corporate chieftains seem unsupportive of remote working. An example is Marissa Mayer, ex-CEO of Yahoo. She justified her ban of 12,000 employees from working remotely in 2013, by positing that people are more productive when they’re alone, but more collaborative and innovative when together. Google’s former CEO, Eric Schmidt, also affirmed the need for physical communication in the workplace.

Research has shown that today’s employees crave the flexibility and freedom that telecommuting offers. Again, remote work is increasingly becoming a prerequisite for eligible and highly skilled candidates to take up employment. According to a HR specialist, not giving employees the option of remote work can prevent an organisation from attracting key people, who will then be seized up by competitors with a more flexible work policy.

However, if a company is concerned about productivity and performance issues there should be standardized KPIs for both management and employees. In this way, remote team members are aware of expectations and their performance can be measured against anticipated deliverables.

Factors such as increased productivity, flexibility and overhead reduction are some of the reasons that telecommuting works well for some organizations. Also, the access to a wider talent pool, minimized work conflict, and time efficiency are reasons telecommuting is becoming increasingly popular. At Charisol, we have mastered the art of managing projects and delivering optimal value to our clients.

We bring our expertise, diverse experience and passion to bear on any of our projects. Our remote work culture positions us as a millennial organisation that is adaptable to trends; one that can handle any project with dexterity and skill, without compromising on the quality of delivery. Think value driven delivery, think Charisol!

We are a software development agency with a community of talented software developers that leverage on the “work without walls” culture to provide solutions for clients around the world. Our services span Software designing, App development, Digital marketing, Social Media Marketing, Content marketing and Search Engine Optimisation.

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