“Telecommuting has evolved into a fully sustainable work model, leaving the days of water cooler conversations and punching the time clock in the past. Organizations debating the benefits of on-site vs off-site work are wasting energy, because the home-based workforce is part of the now, and an even bigger part of the future.”
– Sarah Brown, Director of Sales and Marketing
Sarah Brown’s work day starts with two big cups of coffee at 5 a.m.
Momentum’s Director of Sales and Marketing is a full-time telecommuter from her home in Seattle, Wash. and manages an entire sales team in Birmingham, Ala. from more than 3,000 miles away.
While this may have seemed impractical even a few years ago, the new generation of enterprise collaboration tools have changed that mindset and given Sarah the tools to manage her team more effectively.
Sarah explains that she appreciates Momentum’s flexible telecommuting stance and that more companies should be expanding their remote work policies. While it takes planning and careful execution to implement a mobile work program and the proper communication tools to make it successful, she has learned the benefits of telework first hand:
Flexible work schedulesseparate the motivated self-starters from those who aren’t.
The new generation of up and coming professionals aren’t used to a static 8 to 5 schedule — especially the creative types she oversees. An employee who develops some of their best ideas outside the confines of a cubicle and after business hours. The bottom line is that a structured work environment is not the way that every worker thrives. Without the spatial and social constraints of the office and set hours, an employee will stop watching the clock, get more accomplished, and take greater responsibility for the work they produce.
Remote work can cut down on office politics and maximize efficiency.
The office environment can be a major culprit for breaking concentration because of social interruptions and office politics. Many executives cite impromptu office visits from colleagues as the biggest distraction of their work day. From a remote office, or while working from home, the interruption from coworkers stopping by to chat is eliminated, and teleworkers can stay focused on their responsibilities to get more done. Additionally, working from home eliminates commute time to and from work, cuts down on carbon emissions and saves each employee money on professional wardrobes and fuel. For Sarah, she can start her day at 5 a.m. because she doesn’t have to make a trip to work and can get more done in the morning when she’s the most productive.
Work is no longer confined to a cubicle. Great ideas can happen anywhere.
Work should be done when and where an employee can do it best. Clearly defining workload expectations, responsibilities, deadlines and quotas is the key to an efficient, effective workflow. Each and every day should begin by identifying priorities for individual and team assignments, and making a to-do list of action items that need to be finished by the end of the work day. The most important thing is the final product — not how it gets done. Managerial success can then be measured in terms of the output and innovation the team delivers, which is the key to business success and growth. It is critical to hire dependable employees that will perform in flexible environments and can be trusted to complete assignments without being monitored — especially when management is thousands of miles away.
Many employees are willing to work longer hours in exchange for the freedom and convenience of telecommuting.
Some weeks, Sarah works more than 50 hours, but the agile time schedule of working from home allows her to continue working full-time, raise two kids, eat lunch with her husband on his off days and oversee construction projects on her current and future homes. The benefits of telecommuting make her feel more invested and loyal to the company, because she has the freedom to continue living her life. A telecommuting model is truly a win-win situation.
Sarah believes that building a collaborative culture doesn’t hinge on side-by-side cubicle communications. Technology makes it easy to foster an interactive remote workforce and helps remote directors to be more accessible.
Because Momentum is a cloud-based communications company, Sarah and her employees have access to and leverage a full suite of innovative tools including unified communications, web collaboration and video conferencing that enable quick exchange of information and keep them connected to the rest of the business world.
“Momentum Messenger helps me communicate with my team and other Momentum employees the most,” said Sarah. “Chat allows me to get the quickest answers to time-sensitive questions using a casual communication style that is more in-line with my personality, even while I’m thousands of miles away.”
To learn more about the benefits of telecommuting, check out our recent posts on Breaking the Stereotypes of Telecommuting, Ways to Stay Productive While Working from Home, and Building a Remote Work Policy that Works.
By: Dana Jaffe