With an eye on decreasing operational costs and improving the quality of life of their employees, companies have been increasingly considering the possibility of allowing their staff to work remotely, either at home or in independent workspaces. A 2017 Gallup poll of 15,000 participants found that 57% of employees in the computer and information systems industry spend at least some time working remotely, a 3% increase from 2012. The study also discovered that a flexible schedule and the opportunity to work from home are important factors that candidates take into consideration when hunting for jobs, and can even lead to increased productivity. Whether you’re a professional looking for more flexibility or an employer seeking to attract top IT and cyber security talent, here are some important factors to consider before making the decision to go remote.
The Employer Perspective
Having employees work remotely for at least part of the time gives companies the possibility to keep a smaller office and spend less on things like energy, hardware, and supplies. The opportunity cost of time lost in traffic that could have been spent doing job-related tasks is also important to keep in mind. With these potential savings and benefits in mind, employers looking to go remote should also be careful to gauge staff and candidate aptitudes for working remotely from a psychological and disciplinary point of view. This helps to make sure that productivity increases or at least doesn’t slacken. For technology and cyber security companies based outside of major urban centers and traditional tech hubs, the challenge to attract top talent is making the remote option increasingly viable and beneficial. By offering remote positions businesses also make work more compatible with family life. This helps to address the gender gap in cyber security and the general talent shortage in the cyber and IT market.
The Pros and Cons for Professionals Working Remotely
According to CareerBuilder, commuters spend an average of around $276 per month going to and from work. This includes costs with transportation and eating out for lunch and dinner. Not having to commute every day can translate into big savings at the end of each month. Not having to commute also gives employees more leisure time to cook, exercise, spend quality time with the family or do house chores that would otherwise be faced after a long day at the office. If professionals manage this extra time well, it can lead to more relaxed and balanced lifestyles that also help promote increased productivity and career advancement. On the other hand, many people need to leave the house to be able to work effectively, and the lack of immediate contact with others could lead to an increasing feeling of isolation among remotely-based employees. Working from home also requires a high level of self-discipline to stay on task and avoid distractions. Given the highly technical requirements of their jobs, IT and cyber security professionals can gain a lot of value by being able to constantly interact with and bounce ideas off of co-workers.
Integrating Business for Successful Remote Work
Following the examples of companies like Facebook and Google, many workplaces at tech employers are set up in open spaces. This is designed to promote creativity by allowing staff members to constantly interact and bounce ideas off each other. The idea is that constant brainstorming will lead to innovation. Companies with key members working remotely can help counteract the lack of immediate contact among staff by setting up integrated virtual workstations through strong intranet connections where co-workers and supervisors track each others’ activities in real time. If implemented well, remote supervision can safeguard productivity and make sure team members complete group projects on time and in good order.