For many years now, more and more businesses have been opening their doors to allow employees to work from home. This was initially a way for companies to cut costs by reducing overhead but has since become a great way to ensure productivity is not affected by distance. Telecommuting should be seen as a natural progression of the methods of working, with employees being given the option to work from wherever they want.
Rydal Group (an award-winning telecoms supplier) recently conducted research into the impact of remote working on employers and employees. The outcome showed that employees with the ability to work remotely report less stress during the working week, increased enjoyment at their jobs, lower stress levels and higher job satisfaction.
In addition to happier, more relaxed staff, remote-working initiatives can also deliver a host of tangible benefits for the business. In the list below, we’ve summarised the six we believe to be the most important.
The ability to hire the best talent: It’s unlikely that the talent your organisation requires lives in the immediate vicinity of your offices. With a remote working initiative in place you can advertise job opportunities across the globe if needs be, safe in the knowledge that the location of your organisation won’t discourage the most talented candidates from applying. By the same token, enabling remote working can help your organisation retain staff. If a valuable employee is forced to relocate, you can keep them on the books by enabling them to work from their new home. This way their skills and expertise stay and you save on the cost of replacing a key member of staff, which can amount to over £30,000.43. Boost productivity Tube strikes, train delays and everyday traffic can make commuting to work and between meetings a slow and painful grind that consumes time and erodes staff productivity. By contrast, enabling your staff to work offsite at times that suit them can have the opposite effect: 60% of HR directors believe giving employees greater autonomy over working practices, with initiatives such as flexi-time, results in an increase in productivity.
Reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint: Organisations are under constant pressure to reduce their carbon footprint. Enabling remote working can be a simple and cost-effective means of doing so. Running fewer devices onsite can significantly reduce your organisation’s electricity consumption and with less people commuting into your office, you can limit the amount of greenhouse gases you’re producing as a business.
An example of this approach in action is Dell’s “2020 Legacy of Good Plan”. In 2012 Dell pledged to make 50 per cent of its workforce remote by 2020 to reduce its emissions. By 2014, this program had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 6,700 metric tons, the equivalent of not driving 16 million miles.
Cost savings and reduced office space costs: Remote working can significantly contribute to a reduction in office overheads and expenditure, with 46% of businesses citing office cost reduction as the main benefit.3 This can prove a significant advantage for growing organisations in particular as it allows them to increase their workforce without expanding their office space.
Improved business continuity: Adverse weather conditions, national events, rail strikes… There are numerous factors outside of your organisation’s control that can impact your staff’s ability to commute to the office. To take rail strikes as an example, The Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates that upcoming action will see 10 per cent of the national workforce missing a day’s work. With a remote working infrastructure in place, organisations can spread the risk of uncontrollable events, ensuring business as usual if disaster strikes.
Better health for your team (less stress for your remote workers): Allowing staff to work in a way that suits both them and your organisation can contribute to increased job satisfaction, motivation and engagement according to inc.com. A change is as good as a rest as the saying goes, so giving staff the choice to change location can help them get a better grip on their work-life balance and makes for an altogether happier workforce.