+ The Culture of Remote Work - CII Blog

Charting Change, Enabling Development

Every time one gets caught in a traffic jam on the way to office, one thinks of working remotely. Employers too are toying with the idea of remote work. The good news is that gradually, remote work as a concept is gaining ground.

Just as data processing moved from centralised to distributed, work too has become distributed. Start-ups, multi-national corporations and many organisations now have dispersed operations requiring distributed teams across different locations. A culture of remote connectivity is emerging, and team leaders and team members are adapting to this change. Giving a boost to the remote work culture is spiralling office rentals, especially in metros and mini-metros and even in some Tier 1 cities, where organisations prefer to have smaller offices with perhaps just the core team in office.

Recent global industry surveys indicate that employees are giving priority to remote work, even if it entails a pay cut, for the advantages it offers. Some are even opting to divide work hours between home and office.

Many believe that remote working increases efficiency and productivity and helps find a better work-life balance while mitigating work-related stress. Several, in fact, would not want to change this and would quit if the work conditions are altered and remote-working facility withdrawn.

A remote work culture benefits companies in many ways too: for one, it reduces infrastructure and related costs, and with freelancing on the rise, employers are also viewing this as an opportunity of hiring and retaining talent from a wider pool of quality talent.

To help establish a productive, remote working culture, several employers have put in place the necessary tools and given laptops and other tools to their workforce working from remote locations. However, managing remote resources effectively while meeting their aspirations is still challenging.  

While technology has given a big boost to remote working, however, lack of widespread availability of uniformly good quality, high-speed internet connectivity often creates roadblocks.

While co-working office spaces are mushrooming, internet capacity for cloud-based computing is essential. Moreover, for people working from home, lack of adequate technical support is a constraint. And several find that the rather casual atmosphere at home negatively impacts productivity. Remote working, especially from home, is also not very acceptable socially in some places where only an office-job is seen as placing one in the formal workforce.

Employees sometimes find their productivity levels under doubt since they are not under the direct supervision of their employers while employers also have to learn to remote control their employees.  While there is a culture of trust and accountability, it needs to be strengthened. Fortunately, technology and other changes are tilting the scale in favour of remote working and it is a matter of time before a substantial part of an organisation’s workforce works from a remote location.