The rise of remote working in the region has been well documented, but more often than not, we see companies lament the unpredictability of remote teams. There is a still a skill-set and mindset gap in the industry, which can be a detriment to the growth of the remote industry.

Looking at a recent (2018) study by freelancer website Upwork there are some interesting findings, which need to be explored further:

  • 48% are using freelancers, which shows a 5% increase from last year – though the amount of work they are doing has increased by 168%
  • 63% of companies polled use remote workers, but 57% do not have remote worker policies
  • 48 percent of companies use freelancers (up from 43 a year ago), while work done by freelancers increased 168 percent.
  • Agile teams have become more popular with over a 6x increase of hiring managers citing this as the new norm
  • There is a 3x increase in those who believe the need for full-time office space is diminishing

Looking at the findings from 2018 State of Remote Work Report from Buffer, Workfrom and Hubstaff indicates that the industry is well and truly moving in the direction of remote and freelance. In fact, 90% of remote workers say they plan to keep working remotely their entire careers.

woman in blue chambray long-sleeved top sitting on black leather chair with silver MacBook on lap

This can be attributed to the inherent flexibility of remote and freelance work. Even Gallup research shows that employees that have a flexible work schedule and balance are 43% less likely to experience burnout. However, this can be a double-edged sword with employees feeling beholden to employers due to their flexible work schedules and thus creating a source of stress.

We look at three ways to combat the negative aspects and continue to improve on the benefits of remote work is as follows:

Create a results-based success model

Too often managers equate quality to the amount of time they see employees at a desk. This needs to be removed from your work culture and the outcomes of the work need to be measured properly to deem success.

Great employees may deliver fast, error-free work and still have plenty of time to relax – these employees should not be punished, because they may not put in the same hours as others.

Have the proper tools

Saying you want a flexible work culture means nothing if you do not have the tools to ensure your team can be efficient. These will go a long in helping your team achieve a productive and efficient work process.

Create proper processes for your remote team

Your remote teams are a huge part of your business and need the same level and structure and process in place for them to succeed. Every employee – remote or not – needs to know what is expected of them and their goals.

Often, remote teams are left to their own devices without clear guidance or an idea of what they should be doing. By investing some time upfront, startups and companies can get the best out of their remote and reduce the work required at the back end in terms of oversight and review.