Working remotely: Making the switch
It’s difficult to imagine that just ten years ago, static working was the only way to do your job. Tied to a computer, a phone and a plug socket, business owners had little choice but to spend hours attached to their desks without respite. Meetings often took place within office buildings, with no choice but to hold them somewhere with a cable for internet access and enough electricity to power the multiple machines including computers, projectors and television screens.
Yet now technology has revolutionised the way we live day-to-day – and naturally the changes have permeated our professional environment as well as our personal lives. Now we are able to work wherever we want, whenever we like. The positive implications for productivity and overall success are far-reaching, with many business owners finding the potential to grow to be significant when they make the switch to remote working.
How have things changed?
In years gone by, the office was king. A place of pure corporate decadence, business premises were carefully designed and presented to promote the prosperity of the company within, to demonstrate hierarchy with penthouse offices and waiting areas filled with exotic plants, expensive art and bespoke-made coffee tables. Now however the business landscape is dramatically altering – as with the emergence of new technologies, employees and business owners alike are no longer tied down to one central place of working.
Now it’s possible to run an entire business using just an iPad. Directors can hold meetings across continents face-to-face via Skype. Marketing campaigns can be spread in a matter of minutes through multiple social media channels. This instantaneous, infectious, almost limitless method of communication is being taken advantage of in many ways by businesses – and one significant benefit involves the capability to work anywhere, anytime.
It all adds up
Work/life balance is always a hot topic in the corporate world, as companies struggle to keep sickness down and productivity high, whilst employees strive for a better equilibrium between a fulfilled home life and professional progression. The capacity to work remotely has been shown in some studies to reduce stress, increase production and improve employee satisfaction – which is why so many companies are now adopting a more flexible attitude to when and where their employees work. Focusing solely on business owners and those who work for themselves, statistics have consistently shown that although we tend to work by a strict 9-5 pattern, the periods at which our brains are most productive don’t necessarily correspond with this rule – and we all have personal timescales between which we are most alert.
As well as enabling us to cherry-pick our ‘perfect’ time and harness our productivity at its purest and most potent, working flexibly or remotely also allows us to meet more people, to experience new environments and to take advantage of opportunities and additional services which may be on offer, all of which naturally increases the likelihood of success.
These findings fuel the fire for innovative companies who want to get the most out of their staff without disgruntling or overworking them – and those ahead of the game are already adopting these new working strategies and reaping the professional and financial rewards as a consequence.
Making the switch – is ‘anywhere’ good enough?
Essentially in 2016 all you need to run a business is a laptop and a mobile phone – all portable, of course. As long as you have access to an electricity supply, in theory you could work absolutely anywhere. But this is the one thing that savvy entrepreneurs find difficult to source – the perfect environment for remote working.
Technology has moved quickly – and as such, the business world has struggled to keep up in some areas – namely through the lack of venues and appropriate environments at which business owners can work remotely. Many can’t work from home due to distraction, and noisy coffee shops, busy bars and hotel lobbies aren’t ideal for a number of reasons.
Increasingly it’s being recognised that remote workers and mobile entrepreneurs don’t wish to leave their working environment to chance – feeling as though they are always somewhere new and never settled. To meet this need there are now more options for those who wish to work from virtual offices – so-called ‘smart hubs’ and ‘business lounges’ which offer a carefully-constructed background for business without distraction, lack of security or inadequate facilities. Specially designed with business guests in mind, these venues vary in cost and the range of facilities on offer differ, but most provide Wi-Fi, refreshment, a safe space to meet and work and even PA services and postal forwarding.
Overall when making your decision there will be a number of factors in play – cost, convenience and compatibility. Is this environment right for you? Are you comfortable? Are the facilities you need within reach? Are the transport links adequate – and if not, is the location perfect? Whatever your choice, an environment conducive to productivity yet open to play, respite and with space to meet and socialise is crucial for those wishing to experience success from working remotely – so this is one thing you’ll want to get right.
For more on the benefits of remote working and virtual offices or for further information about The Colony, please browse our website and take a look through our blog.