91 percent of people who work at home are more productive than at work

Commentary By Linda Sanazaro, CFO, Non-Insurance Businesses and Corporate Services at Farmers Insurance

When the idea of working remotely comes up in a conversation, I find that people tend to respond in one of two ways: total dread or utter delight. Some professionals recall the risks and difficulties of working away from the office, while others rave about having the flexibility to create their own schedule and work environment. Regardless of how you work best and where you personally stand on the topic, it's worth considering the benefits of offering remote working opportunities to your team and organization.

With clear expectations and guidelines in place, remote working can bolster productivity and build trust within your team. In fact, in a 2016 survey of American remote workers, 91 percent of people who work remotely revealed that they're more productive than when they're in an office.

In some ways, remote working is similar to having teams in different locations or spread across various parts of the country. However, establishing telecommuting protocol isn't always intuitive and the practice has yet to be considered or implemented at many organizations or in some cases has been implemented and retracted at some others. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you are considering this as an option for your team.

Set clear expectations

I originally started offering remote working options as a way to help increase flexibility for my team following a transition of the Farmers headquarters from Wilshire to Woodland Hills, California. One of the fundamental keys to success is that the team clearly understands the expectations up front, and that the requirements and expectations of the job did not change. Also, to ensure everyone remained connected, we set a limit to working from home to two times a week and agreed on which days would be remote days. This allowed the team to come together on set days each week and helped maintain a strong sense of team and closeness.

Stay connected, and often

If you're considering working remotely, remember that it is your responsibility to make it work and put in the extra effort to stay connected with your colleagues. Use instant messaging, email, phone, video conferencing platforms, etc. to make yourself available to those in the office. If you get the feeling that you're being left out of opportunities or meetings, it's critical to redouble your efforts to maintain and strengthen critical professional relationships. Keep in mind that it takes extra effort to keep connections strong when you are not interacting face-to-face with people every day.

Maintain structure and a routine schedule

Making sure that you don't get distracted when working remotely can be difficult for some. If you find this to be true, remote work may not be for you. Setting a routine similar to the one you have in the office and remaining disciplined is most helpful for avoiding distractions. Whatever your routine is when working in the office, try to maintain a very similar one when working from home. Also, make sure you're keeping normal office hours and taking breaks. I sometimes find when I work remotely that I eat lunch late in the afternoon and log off well past the time I know I should. Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries is essential to making remote working effective.

Remote working does require some extra effort, but the flexibility it offers appeals to most people. It may be too early to tell what the long-term effects of this might be, but the more people begin to embrace the idea, the more we can learn from it.

I have found that the ability to work from home has afforded my staff flexibility knowing they have more control over their personal and professional lives. It's certainly not a solution for everyone at every company. But with the right mindset and clear expectations, it can help many teams thrive.

RELATED: 15 high-paying jobs that will let you work from home

15 high-paying jobs that will let you work from home
See Gallery
15 high-paying jobs that will let you work from home

15. Director of Communications

Company: CureSearch for Children's Cancer

PayScale Pay Range$56,000 - $98,000

Job description: At least seven or more years of experience in a similar field is required for this role. You'll be tasked with leading and implementing a number of digital campaigns, acting as social media manager and promoting content, among other tasks.

(Eva-Katalin via Getty Images)

14. Marketing Director 

Company: UnitedHealth Group

PayScale Pay Range$59,000 - $110,000 

Job description: The ideal candidate has a bachelor’s degree and seven to 10 years of experience, the marketing director will research and analyze the market, generate and develop proposals and manage client information. This position has an option for telecommuting.

REUTERS/Mike Blake

13. Client Relations Director

Company: Qualfon

PayScale Pay Range: $65,000 - $110,000

Job description: The client relations director is a full-time position where the right candidate has a bachelor’s degree and at least seven years of management experience. Duties include optimizing client relationships and service delivery along with performing performance report analysis.

12. COO – Chief Operating Officer

Company: Venture for America

PayScale Pay Range$73,000 - $130,000

Job description: You would build systems and structures, and implement the company's vision working alongside the CEO. The job also requires the COO to manage team leaders.

(Hero Images via Getty Images)

11. Business Development Director

Company: PeopleScout

PayScale Pay Range$74,000 - $140,000

Job description: Up to 20% travel possible; this is a remote position where the business development director works closely with clients, builds the client's portfolio and sells and closes sales by phone.

(Geber86 via Getty Images)

10. Executive Account Director

Company: Teradata

PayScale Pay Range: $77,000 - $110,000

Job description: While working remotely or of-site from home, you would act as a mentor to other account executives and solution architects, as well as leading the account team, while cultivating relationships with high-level decision-making customers.   


9. Director, Sales Operations

Company: Dell

PayScale Pay Range$83,000 - $130,000

Job description: This is a full-time, remote position that requires a master's degree and at least 14 years of experience. Duties include decision-making, financial planning management and analysis, as well as leading monthly closing processes. 


8. Director of Professional Services

Company: Xerox

PayScale Pay Range : $86,000 - $130,000

Job description: You would oversee the post sales delivery of professional projects and will need experience in team development and leadership. This remote position requires a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree is ideal, as well as eight years or more relevant experience.

Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

7. Regional Director 

Company: Voya Financial

PayScale Pay Range: $87,000 - $140,000

Job description: The regional director is a full-time, remote position and the right candidate would have at least eight to 10 years of demonstrated sales ability. Duties include developing and implementing sales plans, addressing company concerns and training field managers, among other responsibilities.

6. Regional Director Client Executive

Company: Transamerica

PayScale Pay Range$87,000 - $140,000

Job description: You would act as a recruiter and team generator of client executives, while developing strong bonds with key advisors and large clients. This position is based remotely or off-site and requires at least seven years of client management experience.

5. Chief Development Officer

Company: Girl Rising

PayScale Pay Range: $88,000 - $150,000

Job description: The ideal candidate will have at least 10 or more years of experience; you'd expand and build this nonprofit’s reach and overall impact. Duties include strategic fundraising execution and stewardship plan, as well as overseeing staff.

(alvarez via Getty Images)

4. Chief Financial Officer

Company: IDinsight

PayScale Pay Range$93,000 - $170,000

Job description: You would develop corporate financial reporting structures, create budgeting systems and generate a schedule of financial and operational reporting. This position offers a remote work option and has a part-time schedule.

(kupicoo via Getty Images)

3. Regional Vice President, Sales

Company: BroadSoft

PayScale Pay Range: $100,000 - $150,000

Job description: At least 10 years of experience is required for this regional vice president of sales position. Responsibilities include customer relationship development, generating target territory revenue, managing corporate and sales, along with target account penetration. 

(Szepy via Getty Images)

2. Vice President, Technology Services

Company: The New Teacher Project

PayScale Pay Range: $120,000 - $180,000

Job description: The ideal candidate cares about urban education and wants to motivate and influence others by hiring and managing talent. You would set goals and lead your team, demonstrating vision and strategy. Although a full-time position, the right candidate has an option to telecommute, but must commit to up to 30% travel.

1. Medical Director

Company: PAREXEL

PayScale Pay Range: $160,000 - $250,000

Job description: You need board certification in oncology and/or hematology, but can work remotely. Lengthy clinical experience, medical monitoring and consultation experience, and commanding presentation skills are preferred.

(andresr via Getty Images)


More on Inc.com:
What Hulu and a Local Pet Cremation Company Have in Common
How Elon Musk Secured Billions From One Investor We All Have Access To
3 Ways to Startup Success Without Big-Time Funding

Read Full Story

From Our Partners