Charles Darwin famously said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
This statement not only relates to the ‘circle of life’ in nature, but proves to be a cornerstone ethos of any successful, growing business.
Along with technology advances, we’ve seen an increase in demand for flexible work conditions and a move away from the traditional nine-to-five in many industries. As well as choosing their own hours, employers are experiencing an increase in employees who ask to work remotely.
It comes as no surprise to anyone who has a long commute or who catches public transport that working remotely is listed as the one of the top preferences for professional service employees. Yet, each day, thousands of Australians journey to desks across the country to fulfil their eight-hour ‘work’ requirement to receive their pay cheque.
According to a Sure Payroll survey, 65 percent of employees think that a flexible and remote work schedule would increase their productivity, yet only 19 percent are allowed to work remotely. Overall, 86 percent of all employees prefer to work alone in order to reach maximum productivity.
So if we have the technology to support remote working, what’s holding us back from moving to remote working?
According to surveys conducted by The Guardian, the many employers don’t allow their staff to work from home because they don’t trust them. The thought, “If I can’t see you, how do I know you’re working?” rings true with the vast majority of employers.
Unfortunately, this logic is flawed. Every week, employees spend an average of 20 hours online, five of which are used visiting non-work-related sites. This doesn’t include distractions such as mobile phone use, office ‘gossip’, social media use, snack breaks and disruptive co-workers.
Seventy-six percent of employees surveyed by Sure Payroll said that they’d be motivated to use company technology that allows employees to check their job performance and productivity, taking away any doubt or concern an employer might have.
It’s not only employers that have reservations about remote working.
More than a quarter of employees believe that their overall work performance is measured predominantly by how much time they spend in the office. Many employees feel that they need to be physically visible to their employers to demonstrate the fact that they are working hard.
On the other hand, there are also those who don’t want to work from home, and who perform better in a team environment. For some, working remotely leads to feelings of isolation, distraction and lack of engagement, which is detrimental to overall work performance.
The end goal for any business should be to find out what works best for you and your team. There’s no magic formula or algorithm for increasing employee satisfaction and productivity, but if you make it a focus of your business, good things will follow.
Whatever your strategy, the remote working revolution is taking off around the world. Persistent advances in technology and the digital globalisation of the world mean that our views on what a ‘work day’ is must adapt to survive.