Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others

by | 27 Jun, 2017

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The number of companies offering remote work is on the rise. A recent article by the Harvard Business Review states that the number of Americans working remotely increased 80% between 2005 and 2012. It is critical to the success of your business that employees who work remotely are able to work as effectively, if not more so, at home as in the office.

So why are some companies with remote workers thriving while others are failing? According to the Harvard Business Review, “Many companies focus too much on technology and not enough on process. This is akin to trying to fix a sports team’s performance by buying better equipment.” So what process will allow employees to work remotely but still establish a united and successful business? The Harvard Business Review states that coordination, culture and communication are the three principles of successful remote working.

The Three Principles of Successful Remote Working: Coordination, Culture and Communication

I am in agreement with this philosophy. It is essential for everyone to be on the same page in regards to what, how, and why a project needs to be tackled. In addition to these three pillars of coordination, culture, and communication, I would add individual accountability. Team members must be held accountable to the entire company, not just the specific team they are working with. A team who particularly likes a member could potentially carry that individual’s weight if they are not fulfilling their duties. This, in turn, could build resentment over time, causing productivity and job satisfaction to decline. This reinforces the need for open communication.

Additionally, it is important to note the blend of personal and work lives that is created when employees work remotely. Proper guidance on work-life balance can ensure employees are thriving and not overwhelmed. For more tips on running a successful business while employees are working remotely, please feel free to contact us.

Tom DiSilva
Tom DiSilva has been providing professional human resource services for over 30 years. As the CEO of Navigate PEO, he actively partners with organizations of all sizes in the Greater New England area and across the country to help their businesses grow. He has expertise in HR and Labor Management, offering guidance and support for key areas of business such as negotiations, operations management, employee coaching, and employee benefits design. . He is an active member of The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), The National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), Professional Association of Co-Employers (PACE), and The American Payroll Association (APA). He is deeply committed to giving back to the community both personally and through Navigate Cares, which provides support for several nonprofit organizations such as the USO, The Boys & Girls Club, and the 3Point Foundation.

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Disclaimer: this article does not represent expert advice and is provided for informational purposes. Please get in touch if you would like expert HR advice.