As broadband speeds increase outside of the main towns and cities, many companies are looking at reducing the amount of commuting their staff do. In the modern world it seems bizarre that millions of people travel into London every day to sit at rows of desks in an office. There are social and psychological issues to be aware of but there are many positive benefits to a business that is looking to have more of its staff working remotely, so here are 8 of them:
1.) More productive use of travel time
Cutting down the amount of time that employees spend traveling to the office helps to reduce the stress of the daily commute and enables them to put this time to better use. Providing the facilities for employees to travel outside of peak hours can reduce stress and make employees more efficient and in control of their time.
2.) Cost savings
Many companies are looking to cut the number of office based staff, and this could lead to significant savings for businesses in terms of desk space required. Such savings could come through reduced utility costs, smaller kitchen facility requirements, and fewer managers required to manage a smaller pool of employees. Property costs could be reduced by down-sizing to smaller office spaces or the pooling of other office staff into one main office.
3.) Opportunity to introduce flexi-working
Recent changes in employment law mean that employees with young children have a legal right to request remote working options from their employer, so use that as an incentive to put a flexible working policy together for your business and use it to support working parents and those who wish to travel outside of heavily congested peak commuting times. Traveling and commuting can be stressful as well as tiring for staff, and as time goes by their productivity will fall as a consequence. Remote working removes that issue and will make staff happier and more productive. It will help to retain skilled staff who cannot always work in the office, ensuring your business still benefits from their experience.
4.) Recruit and keep your best staff
The average cost of recruiting a new employee runs to thousands of pounds and retaining employees who are an asset to your business is critical to its success. Being able to recruit the most talented staff locally rather than from a major city catchment area could mean better staff are prepared to join the business, and if they are happy they will stay with the business for longer.
5.) Improved work / life balance
It’s no surprise that staff are more productive and efficient when they are happy and motivated. Many people who work from home find they are much calmer and find that overall stress levels are reduced, when removed from the hectic office environment. With more parents both male and female working, remote working can allow them to spend more time with their families which will have positive impacts on morale and productivity.
6.) Improve staff loyalty
A growing number of employees see the opportunity of being able to work remotely as a benefit and can therefore be used as an incentive to reward staff for hard work, to demonstrate trust and loyalty or to attract new employees as a staff benefit.
7.) Reduction of business carbon footprint
There is growing pressure on businesses to demonstrate that they are taking steps to reduce their individual carbon footprint, and many are now required to report this in their end of year accounts. Implementing a remote working policy should form part of a company’s corporate responsibility policy. By reducing the number of staff that are travelling to the office, or by reducing the frequency of attendance at a central office, energy costs can be reduced in the office as can other office costs like water usage and the amount of office waste that is produced.
8.) Better business continuity planning
The last couple of winters have produced adverse weather conditions, massive national events like the Olympics have affected business, and an increase in tube and rail strikes has paralysed travel networks. These are all factors that are outside of your businesses control. Add to that events like the Buncefield oil depot disaster where hundreds of companies ceased trading as a result, and you start to see the business continuity benefits of having staff working away from the main office or hub. Communications technology is moving at incredible speed and gives companies many options to allow staff to continue to be productive and avoid lost revenue, even if they are unable to get to the office.
Allowing some or all of your staff to work some of the time remotely has some great benefits in terms of cost savings and reduction in the businesses exposure to external events. Once you have got your head around trusting staff to work on their own where you can’t see them all the time, you can then put in place a cohesive remote working policy.