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Ah, the plight of the long commute: hours in traffic, subjected to the ruthless power of Mother Nature, fearing the dreaded alarm, and going to great lengths to beat the crowd and sit at a desk before the clock strikes 9 am.
Sure, that may be a dramatic portrait, but for many, the time, stress, and energy devoted to coming into an office and being productive for a preset amount of hours every day is actually hurting their companies.
Whether it is because of financial constraints, inadequate resources, or an unexpected move, running a company through remote employees actually proves to have many benefits.
While you may dream the dream of all startups—to one day emulate Google’s famed offices—consider the ways in which your company can grow without that on-site laundry service.
Greater Employee Pool
Without an office to serve as home base, workers can telecommute from anywhere in the world. For many roles, such as writing or software engineering, time zones aren’t too big of a burden if your perfect-fit employee turns out to be Australian. Especially for startups, for which each hire to the small team needs to be a tactful move, this opens up—quite literally—a world of possibilities.
Studies continue to prove that micromanagers hinder the performance of their employees. While having an office certainly does not correlate to practicing micromanagement, the pressure on employees to be at a certain place at a certain time is a form of micromanagement in itself.
According to a study in the Wall Street Journal, companies allowing employees to work from home just three times per month were more likely to report over 10 percent in revenue growth. Of course, not having an office at all is a very different story, but this serves to show that a little freedom will go a long way.
Eliminating the process of asking permission and providing explanations gives employees the freedom to go to that doctor’s appointment, pick up their kids from school, or simply take a 20-minute power nap whenever they please.
People respond positively to freedom and trust. As for the certain few that may respond by slacking —well, they shouldn’t be a problem when the world is your applicant pool.
Stronger Company Values
If you’re like most humans, as soon as you’re told not to do something or to stay somewhere, your mind immediately wonders how you can go around it. The same goes for asking employees to stay in the office for 8+ hours per day.
The expectation to be present at a certain hour of the morning implies consequences. It implies an unwritten time card or a reason to pretend you’re working when you’re really not. Not only is that wasting the employees’ time, but it’s also wasting the company’s time.
Changing the expectation from, “be here on time” to “spearhead this project” shifts the perceived company values. Put the pressure on them to be creative, innovative, and goal-driven, rather than to be the first one slouched in front of a laptop and sipping coffee when the boss walks in the door. This will create a level of trust that will fuel employees to prove themselves more through the work itself.
Remote positions shift the focus from hours-based to results-based work. The thought process sounds more like, “I need to perfect this project,” rather than “I just need to make it until 5pm.” This, of course, drives results for the company, but it also leaves employees more fulfilled in their positions.
Remote work doesn’t have to mean being wrapped up in a blanket and typing away next to the dog on the couch. It’s no news that the coworking trend is seemingly ever-rising. These shared spaces provide options for when face-to-face conversations really are necessary, and they also provide much-needed alternatives for employees with less-than-ideal home spaces.
If you’re missing the little office perks like endless coffee, fully functioning Wi-Fi, or even just a little water cooler banter, coworking spaces have it all.
While, of course, cost efficiency is a major draw, coworking can be incredibly useful for community development and networking. When your employees work remotely in the collaborative spaces of a coworking office, they’re representing your company.
Maybe a brilliant freelance designer is working next to your writer and looking for a company just like yours, or maybe your writer is invited to an exclusive startup networking event in whichever city he or she is based.
With the sharing economy on the rise, it’s easier than ever for businesses to function without physical office spaces. In fact, innovation can flourish in many ways through increasing employee freedom and satisfaction, branching out in locally shared workspaces, and creating the inherent trust necessary for the remote office.