Remote working, why and how it could help your business
Keep your business moving
In today’s world, remote working for employees who use computers to fulfil their duties is becoming more commonplace. There are companies which are entirely comprised of remote workers based all over the world. We realise that for many businesses this just isn’t an option full time or at all; however, for those that are able this article will discuss the benefits and difficulties that accompany the shift towards remote working.
The evolution of the remote worker
Innovative technologies and software developments have made telecommuting and virtual working not only more accessible, but a highly effective means of working. As employees demand more flexible working lives and actively choose employers that deliver this opportunity, firms that are moving forward with this are at an advantage when it comes to the talent pool.
With new research from Gallup stating that remote working can actually be more effective, it’s been found that employees that spent 60% - 80% of their time remote working have the highest engagement rates amongst other employees. Executives and managers are becoming more comfortable with managing remote teams and finding that effectiveness is not impacted.
Benefits of remote working
There are numerous benefits not only to employees but businesses alike with regards to the introduction of remote working:
Access to unreachable talent
Are you finding it hard to recruit the talent you need in your local catchment area? When you’re confined to a physical location to recruit from you’re limited by the talent that you find in that area. Using remote workers means that you can recruit from much further afield and have your pick of the talent.
Less commuting, fewer unnecessary meetings and fewer distractions at home may actually increase the productivity of workers. Applications like Trello, Skype, Basecamp and Slack are all built to help remote teams communicate with each other, so your employees can benefit from the quiet of the home environment whilst being able to communicate with teams at the click of a mouse.
Improve employee retention rate
Most workers report that they are more satisfied when they are working from home. Retention rates are higher, companies spend less time on HR and recruitment which can create a positive impact for a business.
Initially there is an investment to set up remote working for employees. Software subscriptions, IT equipment and training. However, over time you can see overheads fall in if you can take advantage of a smaller or non existent office. Cutting down on commuting and travel expenses is also an additional benefit!
When the trains don’t run or when large events happen, how ready are you to continue with business and ensure your clients are kept happy? We have experienced this with a fire at our offices and having in plans in place, meant that we could be up and running within 24 hours of losing our office. If your business and employees are used to remote work there will be no impact on your business however, if you aren’t ready and have no trained staff, no communication tools in place…you could feel a significant impact from a major event.
Difficulties and the secret to success
This isn’t a step to be taken lightly; communication and a thorough change management delivery is essential to getting this right. Evaluating culture and what will change, whether it’s right for your business, whether it’s practical for the stage your business is in are all important topics to discuss prior to beginning this journey. Some other things to consider are:
How much is this going to cost? You need to make sure that you understand the cost implications on your business with monthly software subscriptions and IT equipment. However, you also have to understand whether you can afford not to have a remote working plan in place…over the long term, costs will fall and in the event of a major disruption to physical premises or travel issues you need a business continuity plan in place to ensure that you can keep operating?
Do you handle sensitive data? Do you have company intellectual property that you need to protect? You will have to research and use the correct security applications for your business such as a remote desktop login so your employees can have a seamless working experience wherever they access their files.
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