Remote or distance working (often referred to as ‘working from home’) has become increasingly popular over the last decade.
There is no doubt that fir many job roles, the technology exists to facilitate such working. Access to company data and services is no longer a problem.
What is still a problem, however, is that most workers are not ‘solo fliers’ … their role is part of a wider set of roles that constitute a team – and, often, the performance and success of the team depends on more than the performance of the individuals within it.
Success depends on how the group of people function as a team, sharing responsibility, handing off tasks to one another, supporting one another when something goes wrong and acting on the basis of mutual trust.
This can happen with remote workers but only if the relationships hsve been built by face-to-face working before remote working is introduced and preferably when at least some of the team maintains a physical presence and co-working. The team needs to maintain the ‘glue’ of shared values, culture and trust that make them a team.
So, introduce remote working by all means but you must manage it. Decide which roles can be carried out remotely without breaking team spirit, team responsibility … and team productivity.
Well planned and well managed, it can work, and can save costs and help some employees with work-life balance, child care, etc. But if you don’t plan and manage it well, it could destroy team cohesion .. and cost you more in the longer term.