The move toward remote work is one step in the direction of the “revolution” in flexible work that activists have been asking for for years. However, remote and flexible work arrangements have different meanings. Flexible work can be remote, but remote work may not be flexible.
Although most people haven’t adjusted to a new working style, the turn of things in 2020 brought the unexpected influx of events that has compelled everyone to alter our strategy.
In 2020, improvised workstations, daily Zoom calls, and never-ending emails had replaced the office chatter and rounds of tea that formerly dominated our 9 to 5 workdays. This work arrangement is known as the “new normal.“
While some people have welcomed the trend toward working from home, others haven’t found it as simple to leave the workplace. Initially, employees and organizations thought that this change would help us all achieve a better work-life balance, spend more time with our families, and generally have better mental health.
However, not only are many of us now working longer hours than ever before, but we’re also noticing higher rates of burnout, stress, and loneliness.
Of course, the psychological effects played a part in this. What went so wrong, though?
We can find the solution by defining our present configuration. Although the need for remote workers has compelled employers to give their staff more freedom in where they work, the current setup is far from the flexible working “revolution” that advocates have long envisioned. In this case, the staff has the authority to manage their workload to accommodate other aspects of their lives.
Flexible work is significantly different from mandatory remote work, which we have been doing for the past few years. Let’s distinguish between the two.
Flexibility in employment refers to the freedom from the standard 9-hour workday. Flex work refers to setting up a flexible schedule that suits your needs. Most remote teams that work across several time zones use this method of operation. Although remote work isn’t often associated with flexible work. Flex work can also refer to working from home for a short period or during various shifts.
The most significant benefit of flexible employment is the freedom it gives you to choose when and how you work, allowing you to dedicate adequate time to other areas of your life. Flex work enables you to pick “when” you work, whereas remote work provides you with the option to choose when you work.
Flexible work is often focused on output delivery rather than the number of hours you put into your tasks. A seasoned professional may be able to deliver a task in 2 hours compared to an amateur who will need 8 hours to accomplish the same job. It doesn’t matter how many hours you put into the task at hand; if you deliver it at the designated time, then it’s up to you how you can achieve it.
Meanwhile, remote work involves performing your job function from another location at a specific demandable time. You may still deliver your work efficiently while working in a cafe, coworking space, or even in another country, but you have to report on the designated work schedule to perform your tasks.
Some businesses that have set working hours require remote employees to work just during those specified times, even if it means working a night shift. Other companies are more accommodating in their methods and don’t care how their remote workers do their work as long as they finish all their duties.
The main benefit of working on a remote setup is designing your workspace to fit your work preferences. Others prefer to focus in utter silence, while others prefer to work in crowded environments. Setting up a workplace that properly suits your requirements may maximize your efficiency when working remotely.
Nevertheless, flexible and remote employees utilize digital technologies to manage assignments, finish projects, and communicate with their team instead of physically visiting the office and interacting with team members. You can work remotely anywhere you have a laptop and a reliable internet connection.
Overall, the majority of the benefits to the employee are plain to see, and they consist of:
For various businesses, “remote work” might mean different things. You don’t have to apply one form of remote employment for your company and disregard the others.
It could include both flex time and remote employment. To create the ideal remote work that benefits you and your staff, consider the positive features of your business demands and corporate culture.
When coworkers are seated close to one another in an office, it is simple for employees to collaborate. However, while working remotely, cooperation skills become even more crucial and challenging because you must maintain continual contact with your coworkers and superiors, who may be in various time zones and places.
Remote workers must establish trust with their team members to communicate effectively. They also need to check in regularly to ensure everything is going according to plan. To foster camaraderie, they should also try to get to know their employees better.
While remote teams frequently use video conferences and instant messaging, which are helpful, most remote workers prefer asynchronous communication since it doesn’t require a real-time response and lets participants participate in conversations according to their availability.
However, that means that by the time your coworker reads a message you sent, you will not be online to dispel any questions they might have. Therefore, remote workers must communicate with team members in the clearest, shortest, and most direct manner possible.
To increase productivity and save everyone’s time, every message, email, and phone call in a remote work environment needs to be efficient.
All remote workers usually possess the crucial talent of adaptability to manage the dynamic remote work environment.
Remote workers must continuously learn to collaborate with a geographically dispersed team, engage with new team members, and adapt to new technologies and tools, such as desk scheduling software or coworking space booking management.
They should also learn to handle work if the internet or their laptop breaks down, find a way to solve or prevent these circumstances and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
While many people view adaptability as an inherent talent, it can also be progressively developed by understanding the varied demands of your profession and planning effective work schedules that balance your needs at home and work.
Remote workers ought to be equally capable of working individually and in teams. Effective teamwork becomes essential for success in a remote team spread across several places. Communication, courtesy, dispute resolution skills, and the capacity to hear and comprehend your team members’ viewpoints are the fundamental components of teamwork.
Companies can create a perfect atmosphere for teamwork where employees have access to the digital tools they need to communicate and collaborate. Still, collaboration skills are necessary for employees to make the most of those resources.
Remote workers must possess sufficient self-motivation to complete tasks without constant supervision. In the workplace, your manager would stop by your desk to check on you and perhaps even assist you if you were stuck. However, when working remotely, you must constantly remind yourself of the tasks.
Remote workers should ideally be self-starters who don’t need a lot of guidance. They should be able to define their goals, determine timetables, and accomplish them on time. They should also be able to create a remote work plan.
Work is not going to be the same again. Employees will eventually spend more time outside the workplace without working from home.
As a result, businesses will be eager to employ people who can operate remotely effectively and productively. Employees must therefore comprehend the rapidly evolving digital culture and acquire the skills necessary to succeed as remote or flexible workers.