In a recent Huffington Post article by Alvin Chia, he said “[A]ll the cool kids are doing it.” By “cool kids” Chia was referring not only to the most innovative companies but, more importantly, to the fastest growing ones and their adoption of a nearly 100% remote workforce. If I were a betting person, I would wager that what makes a company great is not the product that it sells but the people behind that company. And taking this one step further, what makes those people great? It’s the fact that they have the freedom and trust to work remotely.
The success of remote work done well is two-fold: it’s exceedingly efficient and it enables outside of the box thinking. Regarding the former, remote work is more efficient from a “company time and dime” perspective, with less face-time and wasted hours spent commuting, in fruitless meetings, and in office drama and bullying. It’s also more cost effective from the real estate aspect, where companies spend much less on costly high profile office space.
And what is it about remote work that makes employees much more productive and innovative? Remote work not only allows employees to work from their home environment and spend more time working, but it encourages creativity. Everyone is more comfortable in a space they know well and where the individual thrives, and it’s certainly not under fluorescent lights or in cardboard cubes. And it may seem counterintuitive at the outset, but remote work actually breeds trust in and loyalty to the employer, which in turn leads to greater innovation. Providing an ability to work remotely is concrete proof from the employer that they trust and value an employee and his or her well-being. This workplace benefit inspires loyalty to the employer like few other perks can. This is what Chia meant when he said that “Trust breeds Innovation.” Workers place an extremely high value on remote work, and the thought of losing that privilege is terrifying to most, which creates action by the employee to prevent such a calamity.
Lastly, have you ever heard someone quip, work on the business, not in it? Or that the biggest disruptors often come from outside an industry? Remote work allows employees to do both! When employees are freed from the internal office politics and drama, remote work gives employees the space, time and freedom needed to dream, innovate and create value for the businesses that employ them. Remote work is not what it used to be and is now the digital signature of the #futureofwork.