Remote working has been brought about, in large part by the internet and developments in mobile technology. These innovations have combined to change our business landscape and make remote working a lot easier.
But technology does not stay still
Technology like this enables work to be undertaken in more places, on more and smaller devices and with more people. Indeed, we can work anywhere there is a connection, which itself is expanding all the time.
Outside of a main office, it tends to be at home, coffee shops, business hubs, meeting rooms and even on the move. Whole industries are growing up around these changes. New workspaces, software and applications that mean each worker can carry their office around with them, wherever they go.
According to Linda Gratton in The Shift, (2011, p78) we could easily see a future where a surgeon, for example, works entirely at home. He uses various technologies and the cloud to communicate and manage his workload and diary. While using video-conferencing for meetings and pre-surgery planning. And he then carries out the actual operation remotely using robots.
This vignette sounds far-fetched, but all this technology already exists and the first remore surgery took place over a decade ago.
The possibilities for Remote Working
The problem with remote working is keeping teams together. If some are in the office and some at home or on the road, how does it work. We are a social animal and need contact and integration.
That is why we need the technology; it holds eveything, and everyone, together. Accessing information in the cloud with teams all being able to work on the same files at the same time is imperative. And day to day communication is easy enough, but video conferencing can help with interaction, problem solving and moving projects forward. This is not to forget that regular physical interaction must be worked into the mix.
Managing dispersed teams is not easy and there is a cost involved. But the advantages of flexibility and adaptability combine with cost savings on real estate and other capital overheads to more than compensate. So remote working isn’t just an option, it is a necessity.
Lynda Gratton, 2011. The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here. First Edition. Harper Collins Business.