It’s win-win all-round for businesses which embrace working from home in the 21st century
For many companies and employees, it makes sense to encourage the practice of working from home.
There are many advantages to ‘remote working’, for businesses and employees alike.
Probably the most obvious is reduced overheads – on both sides.
For companies who pay money to hire out office space, or rent a building on an industrial estate, or premises in a high street, it can be extremely costly indeed. Real estate is not cheap, especially in big cities and large towns.
Even those companies who own their own properties, updating them with the latest IT equipment or new furniture is another expense which has to be budgeted for.
The more employees working from home, means less office space a company needs to occupy, along with fewer desks, chairs, toilet facilities, water fountains etc.
This, in turn, means less rent to pay for premises. As for businesses which own their own properties, this provides them with a new opportunity to turn empty space into cash. They could either sell or rent out this unwanted space, which was once occupied by their own employees who are now working happily at home.
For employees, not having to travel into the office every day has its own benefits, from making huge savings on commuting costs, as well as wear and tear on the body.
The cost of commuting into cities such as London can run into thousands of pounds, while those who normally travel by car will not have to spend money on petrol.
It may also mean another hour in bed in the morning, or the opportunity to savour the luxury of saying ‘goodnight’ to their children.
Research has shown that the majority of those commuting into London on a daily basis, spends between 54 and 74 minutes travelling to their place of work.
And UK workers, on average, waste 221 hours each year making their way to the office and back – and don’t forget this figure is just the average.
And the advantages for companies don’t stop there. Many employees may even accept a slightly longer day, knowing full well they are still ‘quids in’ regarding money saved, while enjoying a considerable net profit in both time and salary.
Companies, which are happy to trust their employees to work from home, are also more likely to attract the best talent.
Remote working is an attractive option for many potential employees, who may even be prepared to accept a slightly smaller salary, knowing that this drop in wages will be more than made up by savings on petrol or rail tickets.
There are even savings to be made at lunchtime, not having to fork out on some expensive overpriced city centre sandwich! It’s much cheaper in your own kitchen.
One other massive bonus for a company, keen to roll out remote working, is that they are in a better position to attract top talent from all around the country – and maybe other parts of the world.
In other words, spread the net as far as possible because businesses are no longer restricted by geography.
If employees feel trusted by their employers to work from home, they are more likely to be motivated and therefore perform better.
And they will also be prepared to work flexibly when the need arises – as no one wants to work late in the office and then travel home at 9pm. Much better to be at home already!
As advances in technology continue to change the way we live our lives, it is probably not surprising to learn that the number of people working remotely is on the increase.
In Europe, figures from 2017 show that 9.6% of people work this way, compared to 7.7% nine years earlier. Maybe not a huge increase, but at least it’s an upward trend.
In the UK, there were 4.5m working remotely in 2018, which was up from 3.6m some 10 years before.
So, for all the many reasons listed above, it certainly makes sense on both sides of the fence to encourage remote working.
Businesses should clearly appreciate the monetary benefits, following more than a decade of austerity in the wake of the world-wide banking crisis and financial crash of 2008.
This international slump affected many sectors of business, from retail to manufacturing, along with an increase in unemployment, none of which is helpful to any country’s economy.
The 2016 referendum added even more uncertainty and no-one has any idea on what will take place post-Brexit.
Some businesses have managed to prosper in recent years. These include many start-ups which incurred low overheads, by taking advantage of improvements in internet technology. Many enjoyed the low-risk comfort of creating office space in their own homes.
It seems nowadays that flexibility is the key for employees who simply want a better work/life balance. A happy worker, usually means a better-performing one, and once again it’s win-win all round.
Sectors where remote-working is becoming increasingly possible, thanks to advances in technology, include sales, marketing and writing.
There is still some resistance to remote-working by bosses who fail to trust their employees, forcing them to make that dreaded, and often unnecessary, trek into the office.
Because technology is so powerful nowadays, it makes it much easier for bosses to keep a check on an employee’s productivity when they are not working from HQ.
Many businesses understand the benefits of remote working, and are slowly agreeing to test it out. There is still huge scope for flexibility in the work place and the next decade is likely to witness a sea change in attitude towards this form of employment.
It may even help a business to stay afloat in today’s hugely competitive and increasingly fluid economy.
This article comes courtesy of RingCentral, a leading business communications platform providing unified communications, contact centre and customer engagement as a service.