Are you capitalising on remote working within your business?
23rd October 2018
Recent research has found that flexible work arrangements can improve the effectiveness of both individuals and teams.
According to the UK’s Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (Acas) 91% of HR professionals have reported that employees are more engaged and satisfied when they have access to remote and flexible working.
And the younger generations are championing the cause - 75% of millennial's now say that they would take a pay cut to work for a company that offered flexible hours and that they are far more likely to stay loyal to the business if they can choose from where and when they work.
But making mobile working an integral part of the set up and culture is a big step for most businesses. Concerns can include trust, productivity, security and costs.
However, if implemented correctly, flexible and remote work can offer many benefits to your company. The key is developing a strategy that will help keep everyone aligned, supported, and engaged.
The benefits of remote working
A happy worker is a productive worker. Employees appreciate the ability to work remotely as it provides a healthy work life balance - allowing staff to work in a way that suits both them and your organisation can contribute to increased job satisfaction, motivation and engagement
Improved Loyalty & Productivity
If your workers are fully engaged, they’ll be more invested in your company. So not only will there will be less turnover, which can be a huge cost for employers who have to begin the hiring and training processes all over again, but also productivity improves.
Tube strikes, train delays and everyday traffic can make commuting to work and between meetings a slow and painful grind that consumes time and erodes staff productivity. By enabling employees to work offsite at times that suit them and giving greater autonomy over working practices can really result in an increase in productivity and actual hours worked.
Introducing remote working can also help your business cut costs significantly. When moving employees on to a more remote basis, there will be a reduction in your office overheads and IT expenditure with less onsite servers and devices. This is a great advantage, especially if you are a growing organisation, as it allows you to increase your workforce without expanding your office space.
When shifting your business to allow for more remote working, this can open up a whole new talent pool for you, especially if your business isn’t based in a major city. By offering flexible working you are no longer limited by geography when selecting new recruits - you can advertise job opportunities across the globe if needs be, safe in the knowledge that the location of your organisation won’t discourage the most talented candidates from applying.
With remote working, you can also have more control over what always used to be the uncontrollable. Factors such as adverse weather conditions, national events and rail strikes that impact on your staff’s ability to commute to the office are negated. With a remote working infrastructure in place, business can continue as usual if disaster strikes.
If your company values include reducing your carbon footprint, then there’s no greener way to work than by allowing people to work from home. Running fewer devices onsite can significantly reduce your organisation’s electricity consumption and with less people commuting into your office, you can limit the amount of greenhouse gases you’re producing as a business.
Is your company ready for it?
When scoping out whether remote working is for your business, you might discover that a lot of tasks are already being done from home, such as phone calls, answering emails, updates are being added to shared files.
Converting a traditional business to a more remote model can feel like a huge task as you probably won't have the benefit of starting from scratch and setting out a remote infrastructure from the beginning, but with careful planning and some investment, it can be done.
Making your business more remote
By following some well-planned out steps, you can complete the conversion process relatively seamlessly without any adverse effects on your businesses:
- Assess your needs: Gather as much information as you can on your business, your current needs and where you want to get to. It is important to remember that not all businesses are conducive to full remote working. Determine whether it's cost effective for you to switch to a more remote model.
- Centralise your systems: If you haven't fully transitioned your servers, networks and software to the cloud, now's the time. To offer remote working, you will need to have cloud-hosted platforms that are accessible from any operating system and from any device so that your remote workers can access all company files, data and programs.
- Establish a communication plan: Communication is the most vulnerable element of your business when introducing flexible working. Your employees won't always have the benefit of talking to one other and meeting in person, so they'll need a new way of communication.
Establish a method for staying in touch that works best for everyone and agree how regularly remote or flexible workers should check in. This might include an instant messaging or chat app to encourage regular communication, weekly video calls with the team, or quick progress emails every morning. Make sure they have the right tools to do this.