For all the negativity surrounding the pandemic, one of the potential positives to the Coronavirus pandemic has been an acceleration in alternative working styles. There are a number of benefits to these new working arrangements that are seeing workers ditch the office for work from home or work from anywhere arrangements.
In part one of this post, we’ll cover the benefits and drawbacks to remote working. Then in part 2 we’ll take a look at how you can craft the perfect home working environment for your employees.
Reasons for remote working
- Worker engagement
The first most clear benefit to remote working is worker engagement. By eliminating the stressful morning commute, workers can reclaim more free time to spend with the ones they love and to pursue their own interests. Consequently, these workers are going to feel more fulfilled, less stressed, and more engaged when at work.
This increased engagement will usually lead to higher levels of productivity. If you’re willing to be flexible with hours, you can find your workers will naturally work at their most productive hours.
- Access to global talent pool
By no longer requiring workers to come into the office, you can dramatically increase the talent pool available to your organisation. You are no longer confined to those candidates within a 50m radius of your office and can instead look all over the globe for the most talented individuals.
- Reduced office costs
If you were to go 100% remote, you could eliminate office costs entirely. For a variety of reasons, some we’ll touch on later, you may want to create a hybrid working environment. Provided not everyone is in at once, you can nevertheless seriously downsize your office and consequently your monthly bills.
- Potentially lower salaries
A combination of factors may lead to lower salaries. We don’t think it’s fair to reduce salaries just because employees aren’t coming to the office, (after all you’re saving money too!). However, when you do hire, you may find the freedom and flexibility your organisation offers may mean employees are less demanding with their salary expectations.
Another factor is that you may be able to look overseas for top talent. Depending on which country the employee is from, you may find their salary expectations are much lower than a local worker.
Challenges you may face
While there are certainly a whole host of benefits to work from home arrangements, there are some drawbacks to consider too.
Having all of your team in one place enables dialogue at all times. A small idea that might not warrant a zoom call could blossom into a big idea for the entire organisation because of a quick one to one chat. By going remote you may lose these opportunities.
- Speed of communication
Another thing you may miss is the speed of communication the office brings. This speed can translate to productivity gains… However, as we all know, not all office communication is productive so perhaps those gains will be outweighed by the less productive chat.
- Effects of isolation
This should be a very serious consideration for any company offering remote working. Not only do remote employees miss out on office banter but they miss out on that personal connection. Isolation can take a toll on the mental wellbeing of your employees, so it’s important to consider how you can limit this, and to make sure proper support structures are in place for all your employees.
- Tech and phone systems
The final drawback to remote working arrangements is if your phone or tech systems can’t cope. Outdated phone systems, for example, just won’t cut it in today’s work from anywhere environments. You will potentially need updated VoIP systems, virtual landlines and business mobiles.
In our next post we’ll look at how to mitigate some of these issues in order to craft the perfect environment for your work from home employees.