The benefits to employees of remote working are often obvious. But what about the benefits to you as the business owner?
Broadly speaking there are four main areas of your business that will benefit when you implement remote working.
One of the biggest challenges faced by all small businesses is money. Your staff, your place of trading and your technology probably represent some of the biggest financial commitments you have. Surely then, the opportunity to save money in any – or all – of these areas is worth considering?
If you have fewer people located within the workplace, you can reduce the floor space you need to operate your business.
For example, if your business delivers a service to customers on the premises, you could convert admin space into additional space to generate more income.
If customers don’t physically visit your business, then as your business grows, the use of remote working negates the need to move to larger offices. Or you could rent spare desks to smaller businesses and sole traders.
Setting your staff up to work remotely is incredibly affordable when you make the most of technology. Cloud-based software and storage, laptops, smartphones, and tablets are all infinitely more affordable, and flexible than the technology of ten years ago. So, it’s well worth thinking about moving away from in-house server-based IT and embracing everything that technology has to offer.
You might also be surprised to learn that over the last five years, multiple employee surveys have shown that staff value the offer of remote working more appealing than pay rises! Of course, that doesn’t mean you never need to give people another pay rise, but it gives you an idea of how much people value remote working. If, as a small business you sometimes struggle to compete with your larger competitors on salary, you can beat them by offering something that staff value as much, or possibly more, than a marginally higher wage packet.
Boost your business growth
Growing a robust business can be challenging. You need to balance increasing workloads and customer demands with the need to make sure you don’t overburden your workforce. Remote working plays an important part in enabling you to do this.
Need to increase the hours that customers can phone and speak to someone? No problem. VOIP and mobile technology means you can develop work patterns that facilitate this because your staff to handle those calls from wherever they happen to be.
Imagine how much more productive your workforce will be when they don’t have lengthy commutes at each end of their working day. Or when they can fit their working day more easily around their family-life and commitments like the school run.
Picture the impact on sickness levels if, instead of taking a sick day, staff can work from the comfort of their own home and in their pyjamas when they’re feeling a little under the weather.
Hear how much more satisfied staff are when they can organise their home workspaces in ways that suit their personalities. No more office politics of who sits nearest the window, talks too loudly on the phone, or has a messy desk. I know you know what I mean!
All these issues combine to improve the levels of staff engagement, happiness and loyalty – which spell great news for your business.
And if you’re worried that remote working will mean you have a disjointed workforce who don’t share a team spirit, you really needn’t be concerned.
You don’t have to shut down the office altogether. Embrace technology to facilitate collaborative working and communication across the team. Bring people together for team focus sessions, business planning or project reviews. Encourage your people to use the flexibility of remote working to strike a balance between working within the workplace and from home in a way that works for everyone.
Talent acquisition and retention
Employment figures are currently at an all-time high. That means you will find it harder to attract top talent and will have to work harder to retain the talent you already have.
The ‘millennial effect’ means that there is a growing workforce who have grown up with the freedom and flexibility of cheap and convenient mobile communications. That same workforce now expects workplaces to reflect freedom and flexibility.
Staff turnover is a huge headache for small businesses. Recruiting new people is expensive, time-consuming and has a negative impact on your business. Remote working means that you can retain staff if, for example, they move further away. Likewise, your opportunity to recruit new talent is vastly increased if you’re not restricted by the need for people to have to commute to a fixed place of work.
Today, businesses are – quite rightly – expected to take steps to reduce the environmental impact their trading activities.
Remote working is a fabulous way to do this. As soon as you remove the need for staff to commute to a fixed place of work, and facilitate them to work from home, your business’ impact on the environment improves.
There are knock-on health and wellbeing benefits for your staff when you reduce their commuting time and costs.
Similarly, by having less office-based workers, the environmental impact of your business premises improves. You generate less waste and use fewer natural resources.
Need help making changes?
Transforming your workforce and business habits to embrace remote working needs careful planning. You need to ensure that you fulfill your obligations as a responsible employer and policies and processes are in place to support the business and your staff to successfully implement remote working.
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