Companies are increasingly ditching email to working remotely and collaborating online, with 40% of companies having remote workers, according to a new survey.
New research from creative storytelling agency Rooster Punk and agile cloud workspace The 4th Office has revealed interesting emerging trends in the way businesses work, as progressive companies liberate employees with technology rather than confining them to bricks and mortar offices.
Interviewing leaders of 100 UK dynamic fast-growth businesses uncovered some fascinating insights into this flexible working movement, as for thousands of people the notion of “going to work” now means settling down on the sofa or sitting in a cafe with a latte and a laptop, rather than physically traveling to an office.
“Presenteeism” – or having workforce glued to their desks for prolonged periods – is becoming a thing of the past, as 40% of respondents revealed their whole team works remotely either full or part time. Over two thirds of interviewees believed virtual team working has actually given them a competitive advantage in the market, particularly in talent recruitment and the ability to cut costs and operate on a more lean business model.
Unsurprisingly the survey highlighted email as one the vital tools businesses rely on every day, but interestingly, some progressive startups are actually trying to reduce their reliance on the channel. Dave Erasmus, founder of donation platform, Givey, says he’s using email out of necessity for clients rather than out of choice: “I hate email because it turns you into a responsive person rather than a productive person. There’s something really wrong with working with that system.”
While remote working provides numerous benefits to companies, there a number of challenges that go hand-in-hand with them. Difficulties in remote leadership was stated as a concern by 39% of respondents , with issues surrounding trust, motivation and the absence of leaders from business conversations in order make decisions in real time all being highlighted.
The research clearly reveals that leaders are looking for smarter ways of working without restricting flexibility and mobility in their organisations. However, leaders also seem aware that they need to add further structure as they grow to manage more fragmented teams. Jack Hampson, co-founder and COO of web summarising tool Skim.it, explains: “I think we will allow more people to work remotely as long as we have the right processes in place to get work done and maintain clear communication channels to ensure everyone is on the same page.”
Over a third of respondents expressed the desire for one online space where everyone can connect, share and create a record of work. Work has shifted from the traditional office, to the home office and the coffee shop, but a new dynamic cloud-based work space could be the key to enabling progressive leaders to get their employees collaborating effectively and efficiently.