Chris Owen

Written by Chris Owen

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Are we ready to embrace an office-free society?

Remember when the words working from home always used to be accompanied by rabbit ears?

i.e. I’m ‘working’ from home.

As in: I’m not working at all. I’m lazing about in my pants and quite possibly playing on the PlayStation.

Those days have gone, right?

Of course they have! If you still consider remote working as a chance to slack off and catch the tennis (ahem) then you’re really missing the point.

  • Building up trust levels between an employer and staff
  • Working just as hard for a client no matter where you’re based
  • The ability to use improved technology
  • Creating an environment that suits you

All of the above factors have helped to make remote working less about slacking off and more about productivity. TKStarley, for example, actively encourage remote working as part of being a creative web design agency however, they also recognise the benefits of office-based working too.

If you’re interested in weighing up the pros and cons of working either remotely or in an office environment then read on. Oh, and don’t forget to send that all important 6pm email just so everyone knows you’re still hard at it.

Modern technology helps remote workers keep in touch

The ability to attend a conference call, appear on screen via Skype and answer emails and calls no matter where you are, means that remote workers are never out of touch. Although this is definitely a point for the remote worker corner, there are still a few areas where technology hasn’t advanced enough to enable all employees to work wherever the heck they please. Also, what do you do if you’re remote tech breaks down? No way is the IT guy going to travel further than two floors up or down to sort out your computer problems. You’re on your own pal.

Not being in the office means that you miss out on stuff

Let’s forget ‘water cooler moments’ and concentrate more on getting down the pub, shall we? How about going for lunch? Bumping into the boss in the toilet? Or simply chatting in the kitchen whilst you desperately try to conceal the fact that you’ve just nicked the last of the milk. If you’re working remotely you’ll also miss out on birthdays, baby bumps and body language. Yes, you can see a colleague’s face over Skype but sometimes full frontal non-verbal communication is far more revealing.

Staff who work remotely aren’t as productive

Landlines (I’ve just been cold called!), housework and the post (it’s here!), can all figure when working from home and any chance to procrastinate is often gobbled up without a moment’s thought. Of course, you don’t have to work from home to be working remotely. And you don’t have to work from home to find distractions. But if your role, in my case writing for web design agency TKStarley, is easy to dissect e.g. you have ten things to do by Friday, then it really doesn’t matter where you work as long as those ten things are completed to a good standard by the agreed deadline.

Those who can’t work remotely begrudge those who can

Sly glances at an empty workspace, stifled whispers on a warm Friday afternoon and a change in vibe when finally the remote worker decides to rock up to the office. Darn skippy remote workers will be begrudged by their office-based counterparts. Which is why it’s important to communicate just what it is they do and the exact reasons why it’s impossible for everyone to do the same.

What does the future hold?

Are we working towards a world away from collective working areas and office space? Is there a need for the daily commute or to be the victim of all-year-round air conditioning? Customer facing staff obviously need to be smart, polite and in a set place. However, not everyone falls under this remit. Communication is the key and respect for everyone’s position within the business has to be at the forefront of a harmonious working community.

TKStarley are one of those forward thinking web design agencies who believe in the power of creativity, flexibility and freedom. They also understand the value of having a water cooler and being located relatively close to the local pub. Perhaps when considering the values of remote working v’s office working, finding a balance is the key to success.

If you’d like to know more about how the working philosophies the TKStarley team enable them to build amazing websites, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch by phone, by Skype or by popping into their newly acquired office in Birmingham’s science park.

More about the author: Chris Owen is a freelance copywriter specialising in digital marketing and creative content.