The weekly conference call is on. Lisa returns from walking the dog to her beach house in the Canary Islands and starts the conference. A few time zones away in Bali, Lukas joins the virtual meeting and invites Franz to participate in his co-working space in Buenos Aires. For remote workers like Lisa, Lukas and Franz, location-independent working is not an obstacle in their daily work routine! But is this modern form of work also suitable for you?
The pandemic has recently driven changes in the world of work and influenced its future through modern ways of working. The models bring with them a variety of different terms, some of which are used as synonyms and in the same breath. In addition, the definitions are inconsistent and blur into each other, and yet, the concepts are characterized by diversity and differences.
Location-independent working or remote working describes working without a fixed assigned workplace. Accordingly, this form of work is limited to specific activities that do not require a presence at the workplace. Employees are free to choose whether they work in a café, on the beach or in a city abroad. The only thing that counts is the work result, which must be digitally feasible. This is made possible by digitization, new work concepts and communication via e-mail, telephone, or platforms. It's not for nothing that employees with this form of work are often referred to as “digital nomads”!
The decision for the new form of working remotely should nevertheless be well-considered. Not every personality is suited to providing services in this way. There are many reasons for this. The following advantages and disadvantages of the model are suitable for an initial consideration.
As a remote worker, you enjoy a variety of benefits compared to a nine-to-five office job.
First of all, the modern way of working brings with it an increase in personal flexibility. Your chosen work location doesn't matter, so there's no limit to the design of your individual work environment. Are you an enthusiastic globetrotter? Then this model will benefit you. In the morning you are still programming the company website at the hotel pool, and in the afternoon you are already exploring a new city. But even those who are less interested in travel can benefit from the lack of geographical restrictions, in that the execution of a job for the desired employer can be realized without a private move.
The described individual design of the work environment can also bring about an increase in concentration and consequently productivity. The possibility of blocking out the background noise of everyday office life makes many an employee and worker perform at their best. Are you one of them?
Similarly, being location-independent supports the expansion of their work-life balance. For example, the elimination of the commute to work allows for a gain in time that can be used individually. No matter whether for private appointments, hobbies, or health measures. Because of this, the work model can definitely be credited with benefiting physical and mental health.
Remote work is also a favored work concept for people seeking a better work-life balance. Do you need to quickly drive or pick up the kids to school and kindergarten? Or you want to spend the afternoon with your family in the garden and only finish open tasks in the evening? No problem for a remote worker!
The benefits result in a generally higher level of satisfaction, as around half of the programmers questioned in an American survey confirmed. In addition to the obvious advantages, remote work also brings other interesting benefits, such as saving money or reducing the personal ecological footprint by eliminating the need to travel to work, as well as the security of a fixed employment contract and the interculturalism provided by international teams.
However, the remote working model also brings disadvantages for employees that you should consider.
The characteristic of the undefined workplace, which can be seen as positive at first, however, contains equally negative aspects. It allows the boundaries between the working world and individual leisure time to become blurred. Thus, the work-life balance can be lost just as easily as it was initially created by the model. The best way to prevent this is to have strong self- and time-management skills.
Do you enjoy being around people and love the office floor talk? Then one downside of location-independent working is the inhibition of networking with colleagues, which can create a feeling of isolation. Especially with hybrid teams, consisting of stationary and remote workers, there is the danger of a lack of integration. This can be traced back in particular to the partial lack of acceptance of the stationary workers with regard to the remote workers, and requires special attention regarding team building.
There are also reports about the lack of attention paid to remote workers by their superiors in terms of career development, so that existing career leaps can only be perceived by you with difficulty.
Furthermore, you should observe their way of working because the emphasized increased productivity by containing the distractions in the office everyday life are to be regarded person-dependently. Some employees allow themselves to be distracted outside the office, so that their concentration and productivity actually decreases, and their performance is poor.
As a final point, remote working requires employees to adapt their working methods and processes. Among other things, a management position requires an adjustment of the management style in the sense of digital leadership.
At present, location-independent working as a form of work is only a sporadic phenomenon. Particularly in companies in Germany, prejudices still prevail despite increased implementation in the pandemic in the form of home office. These are seen in the lack of control and, as a result, inefficiency and the decline in productivity.
However, according to a Bitkom study, 44 percent of the employees surveyed would like to see more flexibility in their everyday working lives, which means that location-independent working can make a contribution to increasing employer attractiveness. Accordingly, employers must now also accept the demands of their employees and adapt to the new world of work.
As already alluded to earlier, the decision to provide services in the new form of location-independent working should be based on personal considerations. Their identification with the model is a prerequisite for their professional success. Workshops can also help you to eliminate possible problems of the home office. So, how do you design your work environment for your ideal lifestyle in the future – under palm trees on a faraway beach, in a co-working space in the other hemisphere, or still in your favorite places in your hometown? You decide!