Working Remotely

By Lucia Valente, December 2019

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/nov/17/small-business-employees-working-remotely-

The survey conducted by Zapier a firm that provides connectivity tools for software and technologies noted:

‘Unfortunately, there are still too many companies that don’t offer remote working options, and they’re suffering because of it. According to the Zapier study, 31% of those surveyed said they don’t work remotely because their company doesn’t allow it and 26% quit their jobs because of this, a trend that only adds to an employer’s challenges to find and keep good people in these times of tight employment’.

I read this article in The Guardian – a great source of news, science and cultural trends.

I had just finished as web-call with two of our young employees in Nigeria – Samson and Muhammad. We were discussing their training of four new trainees in various parts of Nigeria. They had begun the training a few weeks ago and I wanted to see how they are doing.

Over the weekend I connected with our new trainees to engage with them and obtain feedback about their experience to date.

The juxtaposition of The Guardian article and the reality of my company (CCN) and non-profit (LoG) is profound.

I met many students when I was in Nigeria in 2017. During that trip I did not meet most of the team members who are engaged with CCN and LoG currently. We are building a powerful team of young, educated professionals in various parts of Nigeria. And they have never met each other!! That is what I call ‘working remotely.’

CCN and LoG are virtual organizations and they work beautifully. All of our team members work from home; receive their training; engage with each other; engage with team members i

n various regions in Nigeria, Europe, India, Canada and US; work with professors – on active projects – in Europe, Canada and US. All done remotely using currently available technology.

Of course, not all functions or employees can work remotely – some functions require that employees have to be present on location physically – their work requires it. Yet, we live at a time where many functions and employees can work remotely. Education, professionalism and technology come together to facilitate working remotely. Why do more companies not facilitate such work structures and arrangements?

There are many reasons and most of them are excuses. Most of the reasons for the lack of widespread ‘working remotely’ initiatives come down to indifference; unwillingness to change and in reality, managers’ desire to control. I know, because I was in management and Human Resources for most of my career.

I say ‘indifference’ because if one is to think of the significant impact working remotely has on the lives of employees, the change would be a ‘no brainer.’

Some considerations at the micro level: the long commute; hours spent getting to and from; stressful traffic; direct and indirect costs; quality of life; work life balance, etc. On the macro societal level – the change is profound; on the macro level, the most important being less traffic and all of the ramifications that has for society.

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