What is remote work?
Remote work corresponds to all the techniques and methodologies allowing an economic agent to produce or contribute to producing a good or service while being located outside the official, beneficiary, or usual production center. In other words, it is a substitution or extension of production for a given company or organization.
Homework is a part of it, used by private-sector employees, civil servants, self-employed people, artists, artisans, and other traders whose production is intended for employers or clients.
Since the emergence of digital tools and the knowledge economy, remote work has grown considerably, transforming the organization of work.
The different forms of remote working:
Depending on the frequency of remote working and its place of service, remote working can take different forms:
Remote work from home
The remote worker is paid to work, in whole or in part, from home. The work is at home with the support of sufficiently developed equipment to maintain effective links between the remote worker, his hierarchy, and his colleagues.
Remote working from home has several variations depending on the frequency of work performed at home:
Permanent (more than 90% of the work is at home);
Alternate (between 20 and 90% of the work is done at home, alternating with a presence in the company);
Occasional (remote working constitutes less than 20% of working time).
Mobile remote working
The work is carried out in different places, temporarily, using information and communication technologies for at least ten hours per week.
The work can be from various places far from the company:
* In a satellite office: employees work both outside their home and outside the conventional workplace. The location chosen to work is suitable for both the employee and his clients. Satellite offices are local infrastructures located outside major centers and connected with the main establishments by technology;
* In telecentre: basically identical to the satellite office, the telecentre is distinguished by the fact that the infrastructure accommodates more than one company. Several companies can share the lease of an office building and maintain separate office areas within of the building for the employees of each company.
* Secondment to the client is also a specific form of mobile remote working. Therefore, we are thinking here, for example, of business consultancy work (audit, etc.), which requires a physical presence, temporary but of varying duration, within the audited company.
Remote work has various advantages, both for the individual, for the workgroup, and the organization. This practice also brings out a set of issues addressed within this platform, which are related to the control of the place of performance of the work and the time of execution of the work (understood as working hours or time worked).
Remote work thus raises various questions relating to control, performance evaluation, trust, autonomy, and empowerment of employees, involvement, and feeling of belonging to a collective, etc.
Advantages of remote work
Remote working has many advantages and is appreciated for its many positive aspects.
A.The advantages of remote working for a worker:
A remote worker gains independence insofar as he organizes his working day as he sees fit. For some teleworkers, there is also geographic independence.
Depending on what negotiations with their employer, some teleworkers can work from anywhere they want.
Transportation to work is a real waste of time for many people. In some cases, that comes to tens of hours lost every month spent in the car, on a train, or a bus.
Telecommuting gives you the opportunity to save those hours and put them to use for something that matters to you.
Better retention of talent
For many employees, eliminating the daily commute can make them happy enough to stay in business for the long term.
The flexibility of working remotely can be the difference between keeping and losing the best people.
Integration of people with disabilities
This is another advantage of remote working that deserves to be taken into account. People who have difficulty getting to work may see telecommuting as an opportunity they might not have had just a few years ago. In many cases, these people can make a great contribution to the business.
Increased quality of life
The stress related to schedules to respect, relationships with certain colleagues, meetings, quick lunch breaks disappears with teleworking. As we have already said, a teleworker organizes his working time more easily.
In addition, he only meets his colleagues when it’s necessary. The stress of commuting to work disappears. Being often at home, the quality of breaks that the teleworker takes is of better quality.
Better balance between work and family life
Many teleworkers carry out their mission from home. They can therefore take care of their families when they need them and resume their activities afterward.
B.The advantages of remote working for an employer:
Reduced costs for the company
Teleworking represents a reduction in the costs of rent, electricity, heating, equipment ... for companies providing this mode of work to employees.
Simpler and more efficient management
Teleworking naturally makes a worker more independent; the company's role is therefore simple. He can consequently devote himself to other productive tasks previously neglected.
Beyond these economic advantages, we highlight other advantages. Thus, remote working can have positive environmental effects through the substitution of travel by using communication technologies. Working remotely helps reduce fuel consumption, road traffic congestion, and, therefore, the carbon footprint. These positive effects of teleworking can serve the company in its corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy.
Disadvantages of remote working
Just as remote working has advantages for businesses and employees, it also has disadvantages for both parties.
The risk of isolation
Without a predefined framework, some people risk isolation. Before starting to telecommute, it is necessary to prepare yourself not to risk feeling like you are alone.
The obligation to be autonomous
A teleworker does not have a schedule or supervisor to supervise him. He must organize himself and must find his own framework to achieve the goals set by his employer.
Even with modern technologies such as phones, video devices, and instant messaging software, you can easily lose messages in correspondence between managers and remote workers.
Difficult supervision from employers
The other disadvantage of this relocation is the inability to supervise the employment. All communication is generally via the Internet. The employer finds himself in a delicate situation where he cannot properly follow up on his employees and the rendering of their work. It is impossible to verify if the employee is really working or if he is having problems completing his duties. Team spirit and communication are scarce, and it is almost impossible to keep an eye on everything all at once.
To finish, as technology evolves, many of the barriers that have traditionally limited teleworking continue to disappear.
The tedious norm of spending 40 hours a week sitting at your desk is fading as employers and employees embrace the benefits of telecommuting.
In the future, therefore, it will be difficult to imagine that flexible working (including telecommuting) is not at the heart of the strategy of companies looking to attract and retain top talent, reduce overheads and increase productivity.