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Ali Datko
By Ali Datko |
IN Strategy |

The Value of a Remote Team

Woman at desk typing on laptop computer

In the latest State of Remote Work report released annually by social media management company Buffer, researchers polled nearly 2,500 remote professionals about the benefits and struggles of telecommuting. Ninety-nine percent of respondents said they would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career. 

As a fully remote worker myself, this comes as no surprise. It’s true that telecommuting presents a few inherent difficulties, but for most of us digital nomads, those hurdles are vastly outweighed by its advantages, which are bountiful.

Best of all, these benefits avail everyone within the chain of production — employee and employer, client and consumer.

1. Access to the Best Talent

When companies recruit beyond their own backyards, they open doors to a whole new world — literally — of skilled professionals whose paths they may otherwise never have crossed. 

Here at PRI, for instance, we operate with an entirely distributed team. My colleagues and I work from our homes (and yes, coffee shops) in Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, New York, Tamil Nadu (India), Berlin, and many other locations.

This geographical flexibility enables our hiring managers to choose from a wide pool of prospective employees, ensuring that we’re recruiting teammates who truly fit our and our clients’ needs. 

2. Diversity and Meritocracy

Another positive effect of thinking globally (rather than locally) is that it tends to place skills above personal connections, resulting in more opportunities to cultivate a diverse and meritocratic workforce. In The StartupBlockSparks CEO Maya Middlemiss writes: “Being able to hire in a location-independent world means a greater chance of diversity-by-default, decreasing the likelihood of hiring in one’s own image simply due to coincidence.”

When you ensure that your conference room (er, Slack channel) is filled with people from a variety of professional, social, and geographic backgrounds, your company is more likely to solve complex problems and create innovative products that serve users better overall.

3. Increased Productivity 

Despite the common managerial concern that working from home enables laziness, multiple studies have revealed that it actually increases productivity. 

The perfect formula for a productive day varies from person to person, which is why remote work works for so many of us — it’s customizable! Can’t function without a midday jog? Does loud music (or complete silence) unharness your creativity? In the mood for bright, natural lighting one day and the warm glow of a desk lamp the next? Go for it — all of it.

When we have autonomy to create environments that fit our own work styles, we optimize our ability to concentrate, think creatively, get organized, and stay motivated. 

4. No. More. Commuting.

Commuting is no superficial nuisance; it’s a source of real mental and physical stress, especially for those who endure long-distance commutes, which, according to the U.S. Census, is becoming increasingly common among Americans.

Research has shown that commuting is associated with oodles of physical and social issues — ranging from headaches and high blood pressure to fatigue and severe sleep deprivation, and even the deterioration of hobbies and personal relationships.

Simply put, employees who don’t have to commute aren’t squandering precious time and energy on the road, away from their desks or families. They spend less on fuel (and food), they get more rest, and they enjoy a greater sense of overall well-being.

5. Less Turnover

Another remote working report, this one by video conferencing company Owl Labs, found that remote workers were more likely than on-site workers to be happy in their jobs, with 80% of all respondents agreeing that working remotely would make them feel like their employer cares. In turn, the remote and hybrid companies surveyed experienced 25% less employee turnover than their on-site counterparts.

What all these surveys and statistics add up to is this:

Remote teams foster happiness, and happy employees are both productive and loyal. 

If you’re interested in transitioning to a hybrid or fully remote workplace, or you just want to learn more about living your best remote life, check out the resources below. 

HELPFUL LINKS 

On striking a good work-life balance.

On building company culture.

On combating loneliness.

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