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The Past, Present and Future of Remote Collaboration:
Where Does Your Team Stand?

Published by Dasha  |  Friday, 06 April, 2012
Click to see the full-size imageDo you occasionally shoot out a quick business e-mail on the go or sometimes work from home? If this is your work style, it actually looks like you’re with the majority. According to our recent online survey, 83% out of 1,000+ employees spend at least an hour or two working remotely every day. We asked you and other people representing companies of all sizes, from solopreneurs to Fortune 500 corporations, how you feel about virtual collaboration and where you see it going. The input from all of you helped us get a bird’s-eye view on the current state of this prominent trend (click on the preview on the right to see our infographic visualizing the results of the survey). Today, we’re sharing the prominent findings of the survey, so you can see and compare where your team stands in this picture.


Remote work on the rise

Apparently, virtual collaboration has expanded at an impressive pace, as 43% of surveyed workers report that today they spend much more time working remotely than 2-3 years ago. See what the stats look like if we slice the respondents by organization level as we take a look at this question:




Big future of distributed teams

Less than 17% of respondents say they get all things done in the office only. And it seems that those who already leverage the opportunity of working remotely are craving for more! One in four respondents expects his or her office to go _fully_ virtual within just a year or two. The expectations are especially high among the business owners who took part in the survey. It’s almost 44% of them predicting such a rapid shift to virtual teams in their companies.


Pros and cons of a virtual workplace

Of course, it’s not that easy to work just as efficiently across distances as when you sit in the same office and can discuss all issues face-to-face as soon as they arise. Here are the main hindrances for collaboration within distributed teams that our survey revealed:



By the way, we saw a consensus among workers of all organizational levels when they shared their thoughts about the cons of virtual work. Lack of direct communication is something that team members, managers, executives and business owners equally suffer from.

But when you know how to overcome this and other challenges, you can yield some great benefits. Here are the absolute favorites of our respondents:



A curious thing to notice: while time savings turned out to be the No. 1 benefit for team members, managers and executives, what business owners value the most about remote collaboration is boosted productivity.


Sacrifices for the tidbit of remote work

Getting more things done in less time is a treat, isn’t it? It looks like the vast majority of surveyed workers would agree with this statement, since 89% of them responded that the opportunity to work remotely is an important fringe benefit in a job.

In fact, 25% of respondents value this perk so much that they’d accept a reduction in their salary in order to continue working remotely! Here are some more sacrifices workers are ready to make:




Software matters

When we asked the respondents about social communication tools (social networks, microblogs, IM’s, etc.) and the role they play in people’s day-to-day work, here’s what we discovered: over a half (to be precise, 56%) said they use these tools no more than 1 hour every day.

The survey revealed that to a significant extent, the success of remote teams leans on the shoulders of helpful online collaboration software. A full 87% of respondents think that collaboration software is important or even mission critical for efficient work of their teams.

Once again, we thank all the respondents for the input to our survey that has brought such interesting findings! How does your team compare to the figures we got here? How much do you collaborate remotely? Do you have your own special tips for working efficiently even if your team isn’t co-located?  


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