According to the State of Remote Work report from Buffer, 99 percent of workers would prefer to work remotely at least some of the time until they retire. That’s just about everybody. Another study from FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that remote work increased by 44 percent in five years and more than 90 percent in 10 years.
The takeaway here is simple. If you thought the remote workforce was a temporary trend, think again.
Much of this growth is being driven by demand for a more flexible schedule, the top benefit of remote work according to the Buffer report. Employees like being able to work from any location, spend time with family, or just work from home. Remote work also benefits employers, who retain employees by providing the work-life balance they crave. Of course, fewer people in the office means lower operational expenses.
However, working remotely isn’t for everyone. Many workers are unable to work from home because of the nature of their position. They have no choice but to show up to perform their job functions. Another common problem is the inability to disconnect. In this case, remote workers tend to work even longer hours because they never have to leave the house. They live in a nonstop and often unhealthy work environment.
Other employees have the ability and freedom to work remotely but are unable to stay productive because of distractions and a lack of discipline and motivation. Employees often miss the personal interactions of the workplace, struggle to stay engaged and feel isolated. When this happens, organizations become less productive and less responsive to their customers. Communication becomes disjointed and decision-making suffers, which can often lead to missed opportunities and lost sales.
It can be easy to blame the employee, but there are a number of steps employers can take to keep remote workforces engaged. An employer should clearly identify roles and responsibilities, expectations, and objectives for remote workers – just as they would with those who work in the office. The employer should create a schedule with check-ins and meetings to not only keep remote workers engaged but emphasize accountability.
A robust Unified Communications-as-a-Service solution can go a long way to ensuring the success of your remote workforce. Employees can communicate in real time via text, instant message, audio or video, all through the same interface on any desktop or mobile device. Instead of limiting meetings to voice calls or waiting for remote workers to visit the office, video meetings can be organized and launched with a few taps or clicks. Presence capabilities helps remote workers know who’s available.
With an enterprise-class UCaaS solution, remote users can also share screens, documents and workspaces as they would if they were sitting in the same room. Routine tasks and notifications can be automated to improve speed and accuracy, and all workers are kept in the loop with project status updates, regardless of location. All UCaaS user activity can then be analyzed to optimize utilization and productivity.
It’s one thing to embrace remote working. In order to justify that decision, you have to set up those workers and your organization to succeed. Let us show you how to implement UCaaS in a way that keeps all employees engaged and productive.