Remote workforces are increasingly becoming the norm, with more than eight million Americans now working from home. Though remote work can create some obstacles for the traditional way teams and offices work, it also presents new opportunities to enhance business agility for those who are willing to embrace it. This has been greatly helped by the innovations occurring in team collaboration software, which are allowing teams all over the world to focus and work towards common goals without ever being within 1,000 miles of each other.
Here’s why remote work can actually increase business agility rather than hindering it.
- Picking talent that fits your business, not just your location
It used to be the case (presuming that Mad Men was somewhat true to life) that the only way a big marketing agency could attract the best talent was to have a swanky downtown office located in one of the country’s more fashionable metropolises. Nowadays, no matter where you’re located, you can find whoever you need without being constrained by the local talent pool. This means that you can create a team filled with people who truly align with your business, rather than being forced to make do with who’s available in the area.
- Bringing costs down automatically brings margins up
Reduced cost is an obvious win for the remote working side, but its effects on business agility should also be considered. When overheads such as rent, equipment and utilities are factored out, the cost margin for projects gets a lot wider, which means that cash can be spent on what really gets projects over the line – more and better resources.
- A comfortable workforce is a happy workforce
For remote workers, being able to create their own perfect working environment, from the temperature and dress code to the background music and the number of pets allowed, means that they have complete control over how comfortable they are. This can remove a huge obstacle to productivity as well as a major headache for managers or workspace designers who have to try and create spaces which accommodate everyone’s preferences.
- Getting to finetune team-wide communication
In a brick-and-mortar organization, you will generally observe the full breadth of the nuances of human communication styles, from loud or quiet to expressive or reserved. For management, this requires being adept at balancing interactions to get the most out of everyone, creating spaces for people to speak up, while not seeming like you’re shutting down others just because they have a shorter thought-to-speech funnel.
One of the great things about remote workers and team collaboration software is that it’s also a great leveler. While there may be video-conferenced group meetings, the majority of communication is over text. This means that everyone is obliged to use the same medium, which gives you the opportunity to adjust and tweak just how that functions, rather than having to address (or seem like you have a problem with) a team member’s whole personality.
- Timezone management allows continuous iteration loops
Though the various timezones of a widespread or international team might be considered a hindrance, when used the right way it can actually give a boost to business agility.
For example, say three members of a team can only overlap for one hour per day. With the right management, this can actually be worked to their advantage, allowing a full day’s iteration or creation to be expanded on or checked by the next person and so on. Thus, rather than working simultaneously in five eight-hour shifts a week, you actually end up with more than a dozen shifts in a week with team collaboration software allowing near-continuous feedback loops.
Remote work is the unavoidable future for many industries, and many might see that as a problem. However, for those focused on agility, this is also a huge opportunity. Through using the right team collaboration tools, such as Clarizen’s purpose-built management and collaboration software, your teams can work exactly how they want no matter how far they are apart. To find out how Clarizen makes remote working work for our clients, talk to our team to organize a guided demo.