Employing remote workers can be a great strategy for growing your business. If the nature of your business does not require hands-on labour, it may be worth considering allowing the flexibility that working remotely provides. And with the continuing spread of coronavirus around the world, businesses are being urged to develop continuity plans to help prepare for possible ramifications of the disease, which includes investigating remote working capabilities for staff members.
Thanks to today’s technology, working remotely is a viable and increasingly popular option for many industries. Flexibility in work hours has long been valued by employees who wish to avoid peak traffic, work around family commitments, or simply have a work/life balance that suits their lifestyle. Working remotely takes that a step further by allowing staff to work anywhere, at any time.
The focus has shifted from traditional 8:30am – 5:30pm office hours to an emphasis on productivity, which often improves in a remote working environment. Both research and anecdotal evidence has shown that remote workers can be more productive than those who spend a similar number of hours working in an office. Often there are simply far fewer distractions at home than at the office. Open-plan offices may encourage communication and collaboration among team members, but it can be hard to tune out the constant noise and distractions.
In addition, working remotely allows you to design your own work days, potentially working longer hours when it suits you. This leads to happier, loyal employees who are more engaged with their work.
Lower Business Expenses
Remote workers mean lower business expenses, such as less office space, equipment and overheads. Using cloud-based technology allows companies to reduce spending on the purchase and maintenance of technology. And as studies show that remote workers have a lower rate of staff turnover, businesses can also save significant money on recruitment and training. Working remotely also has a positive effect on the environment because of less commuting and an emphasis on using technology rather than paper-based practices.
One of the downsides of working remotely can be loneliness and isolation, particularly if it is a full-time, permanent basis. Some people thrive on interacting with others, and others can struggle to maintain motivation and momentum when away from the business premises. Employers should always ensure that working remotely is a good fit for an employee’s personality.
Personally, I find that a combination of office-based and remote work is ideal for me. Working in the office allows me to stay better-informed, maintain good staff relationships, collaborate on projects and generally feel invested in the business. But working from home one or two days per week is invaluable for allowing me to concentrate on projects, strategies, planning and content that would take me three times’ as long to complete in my open-plan office.
Debbie Robson is Marketing Coordinator at UHY Haines Norton.