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relationship between supervisor and employee are met, the motivators i.e. performance, recognition, job status, responsibility, and opportunities for growth will not create satisfaction (Kuijk, 2018).
Kathleen Hogan created a hierarchy of needs based on those outlined by Maslow (Hogan, 2018). Hogan listed these as being: pay, perks, people, pride, leading to purpose. In other words, support starts with meeting the basic needs of the remote worker, removing any barriers that would prevent them from being fully autonomous, mastering their job, and ultimately finding purpose in what they do (Pink, 2009). Many of the responses identified below apply to what any employee would require from their supervisor; however, the need for such support is greater when working remotely.
Access to both people, technology support and communication tools, when needed
Having a supervisor or manager remove barriers and roadblocks.
Fostering strong collaboration with team and supervisors.
Respect and recognition for ideas, input, opinions; being heard.
On-going feedback and encouragement.
Emotional and psychological support.
Access to learning and development.
Clear vision and expectations.
Figure ix What support means to a remote worker.
Hearing about the challenges remote workers face in this working context is an effective way to consider how to support remote workers. Participants described various struggles in the course of successfully performing their roles, some of which were even greater if part of the team were actually collocated. Struggles such as cultural differences, loneliness, working with different time zone, feelings of isolation, poor communication, and inadequate technology to support this. One of the respondents had this to say about her struggle with loneliness. “Loneliness can lead to depression. The remote work culture and even coworking spaces don’t foster conversations where people can ask for help for possible mental health issues.”
Remote workers cited autonomy, or ‘self-rule’ (Sneddon, 2013, p. 3) as a reason for working remotely, thus it was included as a question in the survey. Yet, how do remote workers define autonomy? Based on the research, three words: freedom, independence, and flexibility sum up what autonomy means to them. That can be disconcerting for a manager who has a high need for control. However, when the individuals hired provide evidence of the above competencies, a manager would be more at ease with moving from a command and control style to that of a supportive and participatory approach to leading his or her employees. After closer examination, it became clear that having autonomy is not just a drive for freedom, independence, and flexibility, but also a key component of work design theory.
“Of all the identified motivational task-related work design features, autonomy or “the degree to which the job provides substantial freedom, independence and discretion to the individual” has been found to strongly affect both subjective and objective employee performance (e.g., creativity) and attitudinal outcomes such as commitment and job satisfaction. For knowledge workers, in particular, autonomy has been found to be an important, essential aspect of their performance” (Theurer, Tumasjan & Welpe, 2018, p.3).
In other words, if organizations design work arrangements in such a way as to increase job satisfaction and decrease alienation and repetitive work, the result should be increased productivity and greater sense of personal achievement, thereby creating autonomy.
Without exception, our respondents agreed that accountability at work is vital. If one is to enjoy the privileges afforded by freedom, independence, and flexibility, there must be accountability. While many
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