- Higher productivity
- Better for working parents
- Better for disabled staff
- Reduces office costs
- Reduces environmental impact
- Saves time
- Better talent attraction
Remote working is becoming increasingly popular and important to businesses across the world - it's estimated that half the UK workforce will work remotely at least some of the time by the end of 2020.
What are the benefits of remote working?
The opportunities that flexible and remote workplaces offer result in significant benefits - to both staff and businesses.
There have been plenty of studies and discussions about whether remote workers are more or less productive than in-office staff. Employers worry that they're paying people to sit on their sofas watching daytime TV. Luckily, studies have shown that this is not the case.
A 2-year study by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom found that productivity was much higher and employee attrition was reduced by 50%, plus the remote workers took shorter breaks, had fewer sicks days, and took less time off.
Forbes also reported on a survey that found 77% of staff stated that they were more productive when working remotely, as well as additional studies that showed remote workers put in more hours than on-site employees.
Global Workplace Analytics agrees - over two-thirds of employers reported increased productivity among their staff.
Better for working parents
Working parents can find their careers derailed once they have to worry about childcare, school runs, or sickness. For many, there's a choice between being present for things like assemblies and school plays, or maintaining their career. Part time opportunities are not as prevalent as many parents need in order to return to the workforce after their children are born.
But remote working makes it possible to manage a full time job and a role as an engaged, active parent. Being able to duck out to do the school run or attend parents' evening, before picking up work a little later in the day, means businesses get the benefit of talented people who need that flexibility. Having a remote working culture makes a business more attractive to working parents.
Better for disabled staff
Accessibility is extremely important, and members of staff with disabilities can make it easier, or even possible, to join your workforce.
Commuting with a disability can be a huge challenge, especially when that disability affects an individual's mobility. Wet, cold, or icy weather can make even a simple journey treacherous and potentially damaging. Just getting to the office might feel like a day's work, before the work day even begins.
Being able to work from home, or any other remote location, allows members of staff with specific needs to work in an environment that is conducive to those needs. It also provides space and time for medical appointments.
Reduces office costs
If you have an office with 30 people, you need enough space for that many desks. But if your employees work remotely some or all of the time, you can cut that down. If you have a core staff of, say, 10 people always in the office, they'd have their own desks. Then you need space for another 5-10 hotdesks, where people can set up when they come in.
That space reduction might mean you don't need as large an office, or it allows you to grow without having to move as you expand your headcount.
Reduces environmental impact
Sitting in traffic isn't only stressful, it produces pollution. When people work from home, or closer to their homes, you reduce the environmental impact of all the commuting that happens when everyone comes to the office.
Businesses that have an entirely remote workforce have entirely dispensed with commuting, but even if you don't go that far, there are extra ways your carbon footprint could be reduced. If you've implemented technology to support remote working, such as video conferencing and collaboration, you can use that to reduce the requirement to travel to meetings, for office-based staff as well as remote staff.
Better talent attraction and retention
Over 70% of Millennials report being willing to take a pay cut to work for a business with flexible and remote working opportunities. This highlights how important work-life balance is to the workforce. As 50% of the workforce will be made up of Millennials by next year, not having a remote working policy in place puts any business at a significant disadvantage when it comes to attracting - and retaining - top talent from this growing pool.
Forget beer Fridays and beanbags - today's employees are much more interested in working for a business that understands they don't always need to be chained to a desk to do a good job.
FlexJobs found that 82% of employees surveyed would be more loyal to a company with remote working options.
How can you promote remote working?
Some businesses worry that remote working isn't suitable - for a variety of different reasons. Perhaps you have a workforce that needs to collaborate and work with up to date information. Or maybe you're concerned that work simply won't get done if people aren't in the office.
These are valid concerns, but with modern technology making it not only possible, but simple, to work from anywhere, there are ways around all of these different concerns.
Download our ebook - The Complete Guide to Remote Working - to see how to get around these issues, unlock the benefits, and empower your staff.
The main thing every business needs is a robust remote working policy - clear expectations and rules around everything from security to communication. This should set out:
- Core hours - the times when everyone (no matter where they are) needs to be online and active.
- Communication policies - what are the expectations around keeping in touch? How will people join meetings if they're not in the office? Are phone calls ok, or do you want everyone using video calling?
- KPIs and outputs - these will be different for different individuals, but everyone should have defined KPIs so their productivity and achievement can be assessed and monitored.
- Security protocols - what measures do you have in place? What do staff need to do? What are the consequences of not meeting these requirements?
Remote working and security
This is an area any business will need a strong and unequivocal policy around. There are a variety of elements you can include that will help - including things like two-factor authentication (2FA), device management, and encryption.
You will need to communicate these requirements to your staff - not just those who work remotely regularly, but to all staff. That way, if someone has one or two days every now and again when they work from home, they still know the policy and it doesn't get missed.
There should also be consequences for not meeting the security requirements - what happens if someone leaves their laptop visibly in their car and it gets stolen? What about if they work in a coffee shop and leave their screen unlocked, and they're not using 2FA?
Grab our free guide and see what benefits your business could be generating, what technologies you could use, and what security measures we recommend: