April 8, 2020

5 Stages of Remote Working

Anshika Awasthi

Companies around the world have shifted to remote working. The world is forced to enact over work from home protocols. Big companies like Amazon, facebooks, google etc have their variation of “work from home”.

Just like these variations, there are different level of sophistication to scale.

Let’s discuss the level of sophistication at each level in remote work:

Stage 1: Denial Phase

Remote work is not fully supported by the company. Managers at senior post are not mostly in favour of permitting employees to work remotely. Only under urgent circumstances, remote work is preferred, but employees will still get the ball rolls if they had a chance to be at home.

There is a lack of commitment from both the party, almost negligible determination and zero morale.

Other than checking emails, some calls, no work output is carried out by the employees.

Although work is performed only when they are back in their office-bound selves.

Stage 1 is the massive majority of organisations before the outbreak of COVID-19.

The real reason you were not allowed remote working

Most of us grew up learning that business is an art of investing wisely. But sometimes emotion overpowers financial decision making in the business world. Managers at all level do not fully promote remote work. The reason being they are fearful of change. Fearful of adapting situations out of their comfort zone.

Leaders who do not trust the employees they are hiring always revert into power and control mechanism. Leaders make their fear and mistrust clear in their words and policies.

These leaders are well aware of the fact that teamwork and collaboration are things that spring up organically when people are free to be themselves and not forced into a place they don’t want to be.

Remote working before COVID-19

The situation of companies (at stage 1) of remote working:

Before the outbreak of COVID-19 small business didn’t necessarily practise flexible workplace. The managerial system was not built according to a remote work situation but was office-bound. There weren’t enough laptop and other technological resources for every employee. Lack of clouding system and remote tools was persistent.

Reason being the companies never imagined going fully remote.

Is your organisation now prepared for this sudden change?

The pandemic is expected to fundamentally change how many companies have been operating. In self-quarantine and social distancing, remote work is a new reality. The scale and scope of organisation of 5000 or 10,000 employees working remotely this quickly are unprecedented. Organisations are not fully prepared for this sudden change but anyhow managing to operate.

The faith of remote working will now depend on how well employees and managers make the best out of the remote working situation with comparatively fewer resources.

Stage 2: Transition to Virtual Office

At the organisational level, the pivot of remote working is clarity, decisiveness from the senior-most level. Given the complexity, the transition to fully remote working is complex. But once it’s made, commit fully.

Openness and frequent communication is the key to setting expectation and how well groups work in a collaborate mannerism.

A virtual office is where employees have access to videoconferencing software, messaging, emails, clouding and more. Technology is a boon than a curse. People often end up recreating their traditional office workflow online rather than taking advantage of the various online platform.

On the other hand, managers expect employees to be online from 9 to 5 and a traditional office is created virtually. Employers even practice screen-logging software to measure office time hours over productivity.

Level 2 is the entire population who consider virtual office is recreating office online rather than advantaging technology with numerous helpful software.

Stage 3: Adapting to the new system

Stage 3 comes when organisations and employees start to misuse and take advantage of the online office. Many companies build this gap by practising platforms like google doc in which changes and discussions are updated in real-time of the meeting and are visible to all, eliminating the lost in time wasted thereafter.

Working with resources you have

Adaptation is the process when a person becomes better suited for survival with resources available. Similarly, remote working is all about working with available remote tools. There may not always be advanced premium software & hardware provided by the company. Rather than making it as an excuse for non-completion of work start benefiting from it. Advantage your spare time for other productive work.

Stage 4: Asynchronous communication

Asynchronous communication is two people communicating without the requirement of being ‘present’ at the same exact moment in time.

‘I’ll get to it when it suits me’ or ‘I’ll update you later’, this is the nature of asynchronous communication.

Understanding the method of communication in remote work is very important. The other person may or may not be available at your peak time of work. If its urgent, the method of communication should reflect that. ‘Please give a call after you read this’ for instance.

Knowledge workers require time to think, create and get in the flow. The pace is different for every individual. Asynchronous communication results in people making better decisions.

Stage 4 is where 80% of the successful companies land.

Preferred chronotypes

People don’t often discuss about chronotypes. For example, science suggests that our preferred sleeping pattern, our chronotype, is programmed at birth. Some are either night owls, some are early birds.

Several studies have shown that 40-50% of the population is a night owl, which means that the 9-5 model is sabotaging the creativity of these 50% population.

Asynchronous communication gives night owl more flexibility which results in productivity.

Stage 5: Satisfaction  

Stage 5 is where working remotely delivers maximum output. It’s the stage where remote employees work better than traditional office jobs. Satisfactions comes after perseverance. Committing yourself to your work, collaborating with remote team seamlessly is what stage 5 is all about. It comes when companies practice remote work with an emphasis on an organisation working culture virtually as it works physically.

Bottom line

The world is a force to work remotely in 2020. Some consider it as a privilege while it’s not right for many. So let’s be more intentional and faithful towards our remote job opportunities and show that we can be more productive from home than an office. that way we can earn the right to work from wherever we please more often.

About the author

Competitive, real; loves to keep working for what it wants. An extrovert who lives by her own ideas and methods.


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