At the last count, in 2017, there were estimated to be around 4 million people working from home in the UK and in the pandemic crisis this number increased significantly.
Many workers will not miss the daily routine of commuting to the office on crowded public transport or congested roads and have expressed a desire to continue the status quo with all the freedom and flexibility it gives them. So how can remote working help your business?
One of the biggest costs for any business comes with maintaining a physical office space. Purchase costs, business rates, insurance, cleaning and maintenance costs and ongoing health and safety expenses all eat into your annual profits. Giving up your office premises could not only increase your profit margins but could also allow your business to become more competitive.
Greater Employee Productivity
Workers will find that as they settle into a flexible remote working routine they become happier and more comfortable leading to greater productivity. People allowed to work remotely, with greater flexibility and improved work/life balance are often happier and you may find it easier to retain staff. You could find that older, more experienced employees are willing to stay with the company when they can work from home and fit in domestic concerns. The result will be fewer costs incurred in having to recruit and train new staff.
Remote working can also benefit your company culture. Staff of different ages and attitudes can often work better together remotely than in the hotbed of office politics.
It’s never been easier to keep in touch remotely with video conferencing apps, emails and cloud-based software which means that your team can communicate wherever in the world they are as long as there’s a decent wifi connection. Technological advances also mean that remote communication becomes easier and easier.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
For small businesses that offer services rather than products this is a good time to look at why you need a physical business premises. If your services are not dependent on you being in a particular area then the opportunity to reduce overheads is one you should not overlook. Plus, when employees no longer have to undertake daily commutes the environment will benefit greatly from fewer traffic emissions and less pollution.
What About Company Policies?
Your company policies and business regulations, including health and safety rules, will still have to be observed by employees but you may need to look at tweaking some of these to suit your new remote working regime. Data protection and security will need to be tightly regulated, for instance by providing adequate protection for work laptops and for the data contained within and employees will have to be made aware of the consequences of security breaches. The use of encrypted software and password management can make life easier.
Finally, you may need to bring your team together occasionally to build face-to-face, inclusive relationships.