I studied philosophy. (True.) You know the old cliché about the tree falling in the forest. If no one is there to hear it, did it really make a sound? Well, remote work may seem that way for some. After all, how can you be sure people are actually working if you are not there to witness it?
I can tell you firsthand that remote teams get work done. Often, more work than you could ever imagine.
I know this because I have the privilege to lead the team at Aha! — a completely distributed company and one of the fastest-growing software companies in the U.S. I see the benefits of remote work firsthand every day. We love the work we do and how much we accomplish together, no matter how far apart we are.
But not every organization is ready to embrace this style of working. And many notable companies are calling their remote workers back to cubicle-land.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard folks say that they would have loved to work from home in the past — some were even begging the boss to get on board. And if your boss is one of these remote work naysayers, then you may need some talking points.
Here are a few proven benefits of working remotely:
Improved focus — This one is obvious: Without chatty co-workers or distracting background noise, remote employees can concentrate deeply on work without interruptions. In a survey conducted by an employee engagement firm, 91 percent of remote employees said they accomplished far more at home than if they had been in the office.
Better communication — Surprised? By default, remote teams rely on a variety of tools and methods to work across teams. This means that you develop broader communication skills faster than in-office workers. You learn how to build strong relationships with teammates as you work through problems and make decisions together.
Less wasted time — No commutes, for one thing. People who work remotely actually put in more hours — an average of four more hours per week than people working in an office. And when you do connect with colleagues on video meetings or chat applications, you want to make the best use of that time. Perhaps that is why web-based meetings tend to be better planned and focused.
Reduced attrition — You can point out that remote employees do not take this freedom for granted and appreciate the ability to work from home. In fact, research shows that turnover among remote workers is greatly reduced, compared to in-office workers.
You want to work hard and accomplish goals. So why should it matter where you do that work from?
But perhaps your organization is still not ready to embrace this kind of flexibility. If your boss still says no, then maybe you should consider working for a company that thrives on the advantages of remote work — a company like Aha!
(And of course that tree made a noise and motivated remote workers are incredibly productive.)
What do you think about working from home?
Written by: Brian de Haaff
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