Technology has changed our world, there’s no denying it. Brick-and-mortar stores are fighting to compete with online mammoth Amazon, everyone from your colleagues to your grandmother subscribe to on-demand platforms like Netfllix and Spotify, and we use our smartphones to dial-up our dinners and our transportation with the tap of a button. As we head into 2020, these experiences aren’t even considered innovative; they’re now our expected reality.
The workplace is no exception. Technology is changing the way we work, and even dismantling the way we think about office environments altogether. Remote work is on the rise, and it’s changing work as we know it. As technology connects us in new and seamless ways, businesses are becoming increasingly global and time zone differences seem less problematic.
There’s also a notion that companies should offer flexibility to their employees, and by doing so it will increase efficiency. Gone are the myths of remote workers being slackers — in fact, two-thirds of employees are more productive when they work remotely.
In 2019, 66% of companies allowed their employees some form of remote work — and nearly 20% of companies are completely remote. Even more astounding, 85% of workers say remote work is what they want long-term — a trend that will no doubt continue.
Remote Work Is No Longer Just a Work Perk
Remote work (or even allotted work-from-home days) is no longer something included in the employee hand-book as a work perk. Many businesses are using a remote work structure as the business strategy, rather than something left to the HR department. Companies that embrace remote work can hire the best-talent regardless of geographic location, lower overhead, and create enhanced efficiency and productivity.
Less time commuting and the feeling that their boss trusts them, leads to happier employees. And, happier employees have better output. A study conducted by Owl Labs found that many workers feel that even one day of remote work can leave them feeling happier. Among respondents, 86% of people believe that working remotely alleviates stress and improves general well-being and health.
And, in terms of hiring? Hiring remote workers opens up a huge talent pool you would otherwise not have access to. By removing geographical restrictions during a job search, companies can find the best talent, within the country or even worldwide.
Remote Work Tools of the Trade
“As more and more tech leaders are facing a talent shortage in the U.S., they are building teams remotely. As a result, many of them are starting companies to enable better experiences for remote teams focused on productivity and communication. There’s a plethora of tools popping up aiming to be the next generation of Slack, Zoom, and note apps like Quip and Evernote.”
— Sarah Smith, Investing Partner at Bain Capital Ventures, Palo Alto, CA
For many companies business doesn’t get done solely at a physical address, and that idea borders on old-school or even archaic. Technology is what makes remote work possible, and connects us in ways we couldn’t even imagine years ago.
The list of remote work tools and technology is exhaustive — Slack, Asana, Trello, Zoom, Monday, Google Drive, Basecamp, Dropbox, the list goes on.
Omni-channel is not just for customers anymore; collaboration and connection can be almost frictionless for remote distributed teams, even those operating in different time zones. Slack, for example, has a setting that shows colleagues their various time zones while they direct message each other, so they can manage timelines and deadlines efficiently.
Complexity is in the workplace is out; gamification, integration and personalisation are in.
Impact on the Workplace
Remote work is not a fleeting trend or buzzword of the month. The numbers are in, and it’s making a big impact on the workplace and business as we know it.
- More than a quarter of U.S. workers have left a job because the company didn’t offer flexible or remote work options, according to the new Remote Work Report by Zapier.
- 52% of employers who offer remote work options said the top reason was to improve staff retention.
- Nearly 80% of business leaders surveyed by Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group said the rise of remote work is a significant force that either already does, or will, impact their firms.
- Global Workplace Analytics found that, on average, remote workers save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year. The major areas where remote workers see significant savings are: transportation, food, clothing, and child care.
- Companies can also save. Up to a whopping $11,000 per employee per year. Businesses have a lot of overhead (physical offices with rent, electricity, water, property insurance, office snacks, office supplies). By hiring remote workers, many of these costs are reduced or eliminated.
- Companies that allow remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than those that don’t.
TPM: Taking a Hybrid Approach to Remote Work
At TPM, we know that keeping pace with technology means challenging outdated ideas. We’ve embraced remote work as part of our culture, and it’s allowed us to hire the best-of-the-best from all over the world, and create a super-efficient high output team.
Our tools? We use Trello for project management and Slack for communication and collaboration; Office 365, SharePoint and Dropbox for document management and storage; GotoMeeting for regular video calls to keep our client work seamless and results-driven.
But, we take a hybrid approach to remote work. We know seeing each other face-to-face makes us better at our jobs, and connects our highly distributed team. So, we hold in-person off-site team building events and dinners once a quarter, and we maintain a small office space in the cool Yaletown neighbourhood of Vancouver. We offer our employees the option to work from the space if they’re in the area, and connect with local and visiting clients when possible.
As technology transforms the world, there is no doubt that the workplace will continue to change.
Embracing remote work can have a big impact on your business, saving you money, increasing productivity, and keeping your employees happy. We are more connected than ever. As we transform the way we work, and the traditional office becomes a thing of the past, perhaps the more innovative approach will be the value in taking it offline. (At least once in awhile.)
Work With TPM on Your Next Project
We’d love to work with you, and show you how our hybrid approach creates high impact deliverables for our clients. Contact us to set up a time to talk.