The New York Times, citing research from Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace,” reported that “flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role” in whether or not an employee accepts or remains at a job. Remote work is what employers and employees are heading toward: In 2016, 43 precent of employed Americans said they spent some time working remotely, with the percentage of time spent working elsewhere most of the week increased 6 percentage points. Another study from FlexJobs found that 85 percent of Millennials (the largest generation in the workforce) prefer to work remotely 100 percent of the time.
Research also shows that remote workers and telecommuters worked 9.5 percent longer and were 13 percent more productive than onsite workers. They reported feeling happier and quit rates deceased by half.
Remote employees also come with their own set of challenges, however. According to the Harvard Business Review, remote workers can feel estranged and “left out.” A survey of 1,153 employees revealed that the 52 percent that worked remotely reported worrying about “coworkers saying bad things behind their backs, make changes to projects without telling them in advance, lobby against them and don’t fight for their priorities.” In general, managers and onsite and remote workers find it difficult to build trust. Workplace politics are more difficult to manage and remote employees have a harder time resolving conflicts. All of this leads to remote employees reporting a larger negative impact than their onsite counterparts on “results, including productivity, costs, deadlines, morale, stress and retention.”
So how can office managers, bosses and the C-suite make the most of this remote workforce while also making them feel like they’re still “there”? The HBR recommends leaders “encourage habits that lead to a feeling of trust, connection and shared purpose.” Suggestions include:
- frequent and consistent “check-ins”
- face-to-face or voice-to-voice contact
- becoming comfortable with all manner of conferencing technology
- encouraging team building and camaraderie by scheduling “team building” time
Enter The Meeting Owl, a 360-degree conferencing device that allows remote workers to feel like they’re in the office while also saving valuable conference room space. Created by Owl Labs, The Meeting Owl enables the suggestions above by offering a complete view and audio of the room and auto-focusing on each speaker. According to The Meeting Owl’s developers, previous conferencing solutions remove a quarter of room space as one side of the room is no longer “active” with a giant monitor. Since the Meeting Owl helps manage that space, employers can preserve precious huddle space. Foxconn, which also manufactures the iPhone, produces the Meeting Owl. The hardware can be plugged in to any USB and used with any conference software and carries a return rate of less than 1 percent since its launch nearly one year go.
As part of our goal to continually move business forward, All Makes now offers The Meeting Owl as part of our technology lineup, and the perfect complement to a conferencing solutions package. Owl Labs will also donate four Meeting Owls to the winning nonprofits of the All Makes 100 Year, $100,000 Office Makeover Contest.
“We constantly seek new ways to enhance work performance and we’re proud and excited to offer the Meeting Owl to our current and future clients,” said Jordan Beccard, All Makes Director of Technology Sales.