The concept of remote work became firmly established in the mainstream mindset only a few years ago, with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. This form of exercising your professional duties usually meant that people hitherto working in the office took their computers home and did the same things as they had done just a few days before. The consequences of the foregoing mean that many people still treat the home office as a valid alternative to a ‘standard’ job. In the IT sector, however, performing your duties without leaving home has been prevalent for many years, as it offers great opportunities for both the employees and the companies that employ them, as well as the end customers.
In today’s IT world, very few tasks are performed by single individuals. Typically, there are teams, the members of which work together to solve specific problems. If they are related to the hardware side of the project, it is usually necessary that at least some of the people involved are present on site. Indeed, no device can be replaced or repaired remotely. Software is an entirely different story. With the presence of teleconferencing software, remote desktops, virtual machines and cloud-based data warehouses, it is now possible to remove the constraints that once forced developers, testers or the support department to work from the office. Enhanced version control systems, such as Git, allow employees located in different places to perform project-related tasks at different times and then combine the results of their activities.
Rapid team building
The home office greatly increases the geographical area in which potential job candidates can be sought. This, in turn, means access to more specialists within a specific domain. In other words, by providing the opportunity to work remotely, a company is no longer restricted to a particular city or agglomeration. Instead of waiting for someone to start looking for a job locally, you can write to a specialist in the field you are interested in directly, regardless of where they live. This comes with two major advantages. A team can be built more quickly than with conventional hiring, while offering a higher level of expertise – after all, recruiters are only guided by the level of skills, not where you live.
The candidates’ expectations
Still, the question of residence is very relevant on the other side, from the perspective of the person applying for the job. Companies that offer the opportunity to perform duties remotely give the candidates the chance to find stable and well-paid employment without the need to relocate, which is for many a factor that leads to rejection of an offer. Even if an employee needs to appear at the office once in a while, a trip to a neighbouring province or even to the opposite end of the country once every fortnight is less taxing financially and mentally than travelling on a daily basis – or moving. In addition, renting even the smallest one-bedroom apartment in a large city is much more expensive than an apartment of a similar size and standard located in the suburbs. Therefore, as long as you can rely on a fast and stable internet connection, there is no point in moving to a dwelling that offers the same things for a higher price.
Remote work can bring many benefits to a company if it is done the right way. You can find opinions on the internet saying that continuous monitoring is the only way to make sure that employees are doing their job. In fact, all you need to do is provide the employed person with the right tools and the problem of work avoidance disappears. The most important thing is the method of billing the employee. Relying solely on the time between logging in and out of company systems is ineffective, which is why some try to analyse things such as cursor movement or characters typed on the keyboard. This kind of behaviour generates a sense of insecurity and loss of privacy, resulting in reduced efficiency. A task-based approach, where the employee must address specific problems within their working hours, is a much better solution.
With the right approach, based on mutual trust, both the employer and the individuals employed can gain noticeable benefits, especially in emergency situations. After all, there are sometimes emergencies that force people to stay at home. The employee therefore can choose between taking leave or earning without leaving home. The employer, on the other hand, is not left without the staff member in the heat of the moment.
Is it worthwhile?
Remote work is a great option, especially in IT. All the tools necessary to perform it have been in place for years, and the very nature of the sector makes it easier to introduce this employment model.