Yes and no. What I mean by that, is it depends on a lot of things. Some people need to be in an office surrounded by other people while being managed, other people enjoy the peace and quiet and hate traffic (like me).
In a perfect world, you would have the flexibility to work remotely when you want to , but still have an office that you enjoy coming to.
The fact of the matter is, the way humans work today is vastly different than what it was a few years ago.
There have been so many advancements in technology, and there are a ton of tools to make working remotely more possible.
As an employer, restricting your hiring to a small geographic region means you’re not getting the best people you can. As an employee, restricting your job search to companies within a reasonable commute means you’re not working for the best company you can. – Jason Fried
The good news is, based on recent data, telecommuting is growing in popularity, and more companies are starting to realize how important it is to offer as an option.
The Case Against Remote Work
First, I thought it would be fair to lay out the other side of the argument, and give two very relevant examples of where it doesn’t seem to work.
For the most part, the face to face, in person interactions are something you can’t really get with a remote team.
I understand the argument that if a company invests a ton of money into a swanky office as part of creating their incredible company culture, it’s annoying to have no one use it, and stay home.
The 2 best examples of companies that are against remote work are Yahoo and Google.
The Yahoo story is now pretty famous, and made headlines when Marissa Mayer told employees to come into the office or quit, but I didn’t know that Google was against it until not long ago.
I would assume that Google of all companies would allow for this, I mean, they’re Google!
Seems kind of weird to me that a company that’s built a tool like Google Hangouts for Business would be against remote working.
There was a post that went mini-viral in the tech community about a month ago about a programmer who was quitting Google over their remote work policy. Here’s a quote from the post:
As of March 17th I’ll be an ex-employee. It’s an amicable separation in the face of irreconcilable differences: I wouldn’t move to California and Google wouldn’t open a Vancouver office. I haven’t decided what to do next.
Seriously, about remote work? · Yep. Both before and after being hired, I had been asked to consider moving south. I didn’t want to and politely declined. Eventually, the group I’m in politely informed me that staying remote wasn’t an option.”
It’s important for me to note that I have nothing against Google, they’ve obviously built an incredible business, and I have a ton of respect for Marissa Mayer, she has had an incredible career, but I’m not sure what they have against remote work.
Remote Workers Are More Engaged
Without even looking at the data, to me this makes a ton of sense.
They have more flexibility, and avoid things like traffic, so they’re generally happier, and more engaged at work.
- Stanford University found that remote workers are 13% more productive, take fewer sick days and benefit from a quieter working environment.
- Gallup also found that remote workers log more hours and are slightly more engaged.
I guess it’s important for me to note that the Gallup research found that employees were only more engaged up to a certain point.
Their findings suggest that the ideal situation is having a balance of both.
They found that the employees who were the most engaged spent only a portion of their time working remotely, and the rest of the time was working on site.
This actually makes sense when you think about it, because they still get to enjoy the social aspects of being with coworkers, while maintaining that sense of freedom.
Tools To Use For Remote Working
- Sqwiggle – I can’t remember the last time I was this impressed with a product. Without Sqwiggle, our team wouldn’t be able to function, as one of our co-founders lives in Miami (we’re in Montreal). We get a lot of quality work done in Sqwiggle, with their video chat and recorded conversations, but we have some fun too by uploading funny pictures and trying to screencap each other in embarrassing moments.
- Trello – We happen to use Trello, but realistically, you can use any task management app, and there’s a bunch of them out there. We often give people test projects before bringing them on full time, and we use Trello to manage that flow. It’s a great way to quickly find out what people are working on, and where they are in the process.
- iDoneThis – We only recently started using iDoneThis, but I think we will continue to use it for a while, as it’s much more convenient than a 15-minute standup meeting. I’m not a huge fan of the standup meeting, because I find they’re more like interrogations. iDoneThis is a simple way to recap what you’ve done in the day, and takes a fraction of the time.
- ScreenHero – This tool is incredible. Really not much more I need to say. Try this one out for yourself, and I’ll bet you’ll be convinced. Multiple mouse cursors makes collaborating on anything simple and fun. I can’t believe this tool is free. Sqwiggle + ScreenHero = Amazing.