Remote working is recognized as a flexible working style by which employees can work anywhere and anytime. Remote working has been early applied by many European countries and USA, and now is expected to be the work trend of the future. In the context of the outbreak of Covid-19 at the present, businesses should consider and approach the remote working style as the fastest and most effective solution. 

So, what is remote working and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages of remote working

For employees, working from home is seen as a way of work-life balance. Instead of working in offices, employees can work wherever they want based on their considerations of personal life and work. Saving travel time and flexible work time gives them more time and makes them more proactive in work-life balance. Many studies showed that remote working made employees happier and more engaged. According to a report of Gallup’s State of the American Workplace, employees tended to be more engaged at work if they could spend 3-4 days per week working outside their offices. With remote working, employees have more options to choose the optimal working time frame as well as the most appropriate work locations. Without the need to be present at offices at certain periods of time in a day and stopping to rush to have lunch or pick up their children, employees working remotely have a more comfortable working environment, reducing pressure on them and refreshing them to increase their productivity. In addition, another benefit of remote working is to reduce the number of sick days for employees. Some employees also spend time participating in health promotion courses at gyms and yoga centers or jogging clubs. To integrate the remote working style, some businesses target the innovative and comfortable office interior designs to maintain the positive energy and enthusiasm at work of their employees. 

Innovative and comfortable office interior design but it still ensures a safe distance
Innovative and comfortable office design helps maintain employees’ positive energy and enthusiastic working spirit, but still ensures a safe distance

For businesses, although remote working is still quite new, many benefits of this working style can be realized by them. Employees save time preparing and moving to their offices, thereby increasing their time to focus on work-life balance. The results of a two-year study conducted by Stanford University on 500 employees divided into two groups of working from home and working in offices showed that two groups had the equal performance, but the former had the fewer number of sick days and a 50% reduction in job quit rate compared to those of the latter. 

The results of the same study showed that companies whose employees working remotely saved $2,000/employee thanks to flexibility in space use. Accordingly, it can be seen that remote working is an ideal choice for businesses to reduce their operating costs through area optimization or flexible office interior design with optimal space performance. In practice, many businesses expect to utilize the advantages of remote working through diverse office interior designs. An office with diverse office interior design can provide employees with more options of work locations, at the same time, keep employees comfortable even when they work in the office. 

Unilever's office interior design
Unilever’s office owns a lot of space with diverse designs for employees to have more choices, make them feel comfortable even when they work in the office.

Effective remote work solutions

Facing the complicated and unpredictable development of the COVID pandemic requiring Social Distancing nationwide to flatten the curve, many businesses permit their employees to work alternately from home and in offices. Remote working is considered the fastest, essential and optimal solution for businesses. To ensure the effectiveness at work, each business should pay attention to solving a number of issues such as IT systems for communication, practice of collaborative remote working and plans for optimizing effectiveness of working in offices when possible

Companies need to select or build the most suitable remote work system. Some of them adopt popular means of communication such as Google Hangout, Zoom, Skype … Others have their own IT systems for security and convenience in work. It is necessary to ensure that the systems operate stably and are compatible with the devices used by employees. Employees should be provided with the detailed instructions on how to operate and use the systems to prevent work disruption. 

After communication systems are available for use, it is equally important to disseminate the communication and work procedures among employees, departments and levels. Detailed instruction procedures for remote working should be considered and shared so that employees can grasp it. At this time, the leadership should pay attention to, track the progress of and way of working of the employees. Not only ensuring the performance and completeness of tasks, the attention from the managers also directs and fully supports employees, thus, maintaining effectiveness of working from home to be equal to that of working in offices. 

In addition, it is necessary to prepare operation plans and optimize the assignment for employees who are present at the office. The rotation of employees working in offices should be considered carefully to solve first urgent tasks requiring face-to-face meetings so that work effectiveness is maintained. At the time, an open and flexible office interior design shows many advantages as it creates no difference between working at home and in offices. At the same time, the shared spaces of activities, entertainment rooms, etc. in office interior design are the ideal places for managers to meet, share and support employees, ensuring that no employees feel isolated or disconnected from the businesses which they are working for.