Last year, 43% of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely. That’s up 4 percentage points since 2012. Why is this important and why should you care? Let’s read some tea leaves, shall we? Ok, have a look at this article here.

With globalization and the internet, companies have had the ability to reach customers nearly everywhere for years now. This also allows for smaller, more nimble companies to disrupt entrenched industries and business as normal, to obtain market share.

If you want to obtain market share from the leader or if you are the leader and want to increase market share, what do you do? You innovate. Ok, how do you do that? To be truly innovative you need the best and the brightest. Where is the best talent pool? That depends on the industry. Let’s throw out a couple of locations: San Francisco, New York, LA. Click here for the list. Are you going to re-locate your business to one of those locations? Meh. Maybe open an office in an innovation hub? Maybe… some of these locations are also at the top of the list for the most expensive places for real estate. Again, how does one get a leg up? Relax, let go of the need to see a person with your own two eyes, and embrace remote work.

1 — Get the Best Talent

If you aren’t located in a huge innovation hub, who says you can’t get talent from that location? We should begin going after the best talent regardless of location. Get the best talent you can afford! So what, if they are in another city. With the plethora of collaboration tools such as Slack and Amazon Chime, remote work has never been so easy. Further, with these tools and high speed internet, there’s literally no excuse to be out on an island (metaphorically speaking), even while working remotely. Communication is easy when you ditch email and text messages for video calls and topical chat rooms. Also, people LOVE it. Forbes has a great article detailing how workers love remote work.

2 — Higher Productivity

Innovation needs to be driven by working smarter, not harder. Create the greatest impact with least amount of effort. Innovation can only exist in high productivity arenas. Remote workers are reportedly more efficient than their counterparts who show up day-in and day-out at the office. From a Lean perspective, this makes perfect sense. Eliminating waste such as water cooler gossip, impromptu meetings, and loud colleagues leads to a more focused worker yielding high productivity.

3 — Flexibility

Flexibility is a great side effect of working remotely. I know morning people, night owls, and mid-day people… they all have an optimal time of day where they are completely zoned in. Working remotely allows for flexibility which helps workers increase productivity and drive innovation. I’d rather have four solid hours from an experience design expert starting at 7PM than to force that person to show up at 8 AM in the morning, tired and jittery from being overly caffeinated. Further, increased worker flexibility allows for greater work-life balance. Happy employee, happy customer. Read the Entrepreneur articled, titled “Why Making Your Employees Happy Will Help Your Bottom Line.

4 — Higher Engagement

Finally, remote workers are more engaged than their office counterparts. High engagement means they care! They have a strong desire, a vested interest to see things through, and give their best and all. This is counterintuitive, but who cares! It’s true. Here’s a Harvard Business Review article on the higher engagement for remote workers.

Summary

To compete in today’s economy and drive innovation in nearly all industries, we should seriously begin embracing the remote workforce. The baby-boomers are retiring like gang busters and millennials absolutely crave and embrace this new way of working.

STATEMENT has successfully completed several consulting projects with remote teams over several years due to our innovative Visual Pull process for task allocation. Be sure to check out this use case that details how we helped a fortune 500 company complete a project when larger “preferred vendors” consistently failed. Also, feel free to contact us to discuss how we can help you get setup for success in this globalized economy and drive innovation.

This article was originally posted here.

#Innovation #RemoteWork #Lean #Agile