All in a hard day’s work. For much of the last ninety or so years, companies across the country have generally agreed that a work day should consist of eight hours and a work week five days. But how did we reach this consensus? Well, first, the short answer is that the length of the 8-hour work day was set through competition between unions and employers during the better part of the last century. 7 The five-day work week, on the other hand, was a courtesy given by employers to accommodate religious considerations. Together, these two pieces combine to form the forty-hour work week; the backbone of the modern corporate structure.
Until the last few decades, most companies used this model without question because it was simply the way it was. That was, of course, until the technological revolution. Advances in video conferencing, instant messaging and file sharing – to name but a few – make the features of the traditional office available to everyone at a moment’s notice. Shortly before the turn of the century, certain forward-thinking companies such as IBM and HP realized that these capabilities could increase their productivity and even save money. 1 As a company, Sycamore has utilized remote staff, for various positions, for more than a decade. The benefits are immense, but, they do come with their own set of challenges.
Fast forward to 2018. One of our shared goals for the year is to increase the amount of our staff working remotely. The thought is that allowing our employees the ability to choose their work environment provides better flexibility for the company overall. Though we’ve gathered a number of our own experiences with remote work, we still wanted to do our diligence in researching the phenomenon. One of the more insightful books we encountered during our digging is entitled Remote – Office Not Required.
As a company, we host a weekly book club to encourage active learning and promote communication. We thought it fitting to utilize the book as our next focus during the transition period. The themes found throughout have influenced countless companies to, at the very least, consider how they might benefit from a remote work set-up. We’ve gathered five of the benefits – found in the book and beyond – of working remotely:
It gives employees the chance to save an awful amount of money — especially for those employees who commute from another city, and no longer have to spend money on gas going to and from work each day.
The dress code policy does not apply to working remotely, as remote workers can work in their pajamas as long as they do not have an important meeting they have to appear via webcam in.
Distractions can be limited greatly by working from home. If you go to the restroom or for a bottle of water, you do not have to worry about being distracted by employees who want to talk to you about the upcoming weekend or the weather outside. Working from home gives employees the opportunity to be focused on their tasks and projects and eliminating distractions from fellow employees.
Questions and growth of knowledge are increased. When working from home, you’re not able to slide your chair into the cubicle next to you and ask a question about something. Working remotely requires you to pick up the phone or message someone on a platform channel about a project that doesn’t make sense to you, or an email that just came in that you do not understand. It’s extremely important that a remote employee keeps the lines of communication open in that respect, and in the end, it can be looked upon as a major advantage and benefit.
Increases attendance. It’s no secret that going to work when you’re sick is never fun. Not only do you feel terrible, but you also run the risk of getting your employees around you ill. Working remotely allows you to wrap up in a warm blanket and recover from your illness without affecting those around you. Working sick is still no fun, but it’s much more manageable to do so from home without making a tedious commute, and as a result, will allow you to keep those sick days from piling up