In a recent study by FlexJobs of 3,000 professionals, 97% said that having a more flexible job would have a “huge” or “positive” impact on their quality of life. At Kuvio, we have seen the many benefits that working remotely can bring. We have also seen potential downfalls and ways that these can be successfully combatted. Today we wanted to share some of the ups and downs of remote work and how we address them.
1. Reduced work-related stress
Working remotely can ease some of the everyday stressors that come with being in an office. For example, people can’t stop by your desk and demand things of you. This gives you more time to formulate how you want to respond to someone and keeps your workflow from being interrupted. Similarly, when working remotely you are less likely to be pulled into a last-minute meeting making it easier to plan and retain control over your day. Additionally, some employees really thrive when they have a feeling of increased autonomy knowing their boss isn’t glancing over their shoulders. This can lead to more confidence and productivity.
2. Better work-life balance
If you are working remotely and are allowed to set your own hours you can log on when you are the most productive. For me, that is as soon as I wake up until the early afternoon. However, for others on the team, it means working overnight. This flexibility allows you to structure your hours away from work in a way that is best for you. Besides this, working out of an office means no long commute and for some people, this will give them 3 hours per day to do more of what they enjoy. Finally, since working remotely offers less distraction and more productivity, you can get more done faster. This is why our full-time workweek is 30 hours giving us time to pursue our passions outside of work.
3. A wider pool of job candidates
Remote companies do not need to limit themselves to candidates who are from or willing to move to a specific area. This allows them to recruit top talent and also promotes fantastic diversity. Additionally, this can create job opportunities in economically disadvantaged areas meaning your company can have a positive societal impact.
4. More focus on a healthy lifestyle
Working remotely gives you the chance to exercise at the time of day that feels best for your body. When you aren’t in an office, you can also take more breaks to move around during the day and it is easier to prepare healthy meals at home. Additionally, many offices offer unhealthy snacks or alcohol quite often at events which can also detract from healthy lifestyles.
The Negatives and How We Address Them
Love them or hate them, an office provides a group of acquaintances that you get to see each day. When swapping to a remote lifestyle it can be easy to miss these connections. We offer a coworking budget to our employees so they have the option to visit an office if they would like to. Other employees enjoy working at cafes or museums. Additionally, I like to use the time that I save on commuting to focus on developing my own personal friendships. I find these to be more rewarding than the office acquaintanceships anyway.
2. Turning off
In a traditional work environment, you are working when you are at the office and are off when you go home. With remote work, this division can become blurred. Set-up a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Tracking your hours can be helpful in showing you how much you are doing each week and how you are managing your time. Managers can also help by building a culture where employees are not expected to reply to messages that come in after working hours until they return to work.
3. Pressure to produce
In a traditional office, proof of your hard work tends to come from the inputs. Your boss has seen you toiling away for the past 8 hours, so they know you have been completing tasks. With remote work, the focus becomes outputs. There can be a sense of personal responsibility to get “enough” done that can lead people to keep themselves working long past the point of optimal productivity. A company culture of trust is one of the best ways to address this problem.
More Ways to Support Remote Workers
1. Train employees about mental health problems
Training employees before a problem arises can help them to prioritize their mental health. It can also reduce some of the stigmas around mental health and seeking help.
2. Make sure leaders are setting a good example
Ensure that the leaders at your company are setting an example by demonstrating trust and a healthy work-life balance so that employees will follow suit.
3. Offer resources, like a health and wellness budget
To further promote healthy lifestyles we provide our employees with a budget each month to spend on whatever makes them feel well. This is one way we can promote health even when we are not all together.
4. Provide time off for mental health-related leave
In the same way that employees need time off for physical ailments, they should be given the same opportunity to take time off to care for their mental health.
These are just some of our thoughts and best practices for remote work. Do you have a tip for implementing remote work at a new company? Let us know on Twitter, @KuvioCreative.
Kuvio Creative is a website design and development agency committed to exceeding client expectations while leaving a positive impact and transforming the way workers work. Learn more.
Originally published at https://www.kuv.io.