Remote Working: Is it really the best long-term strategy for your business?
Just the other day, a client popped into the Mullen Stoker office. They had a quick question they wanted to run by me, and I was able to offer support in person there and then. This could never have happened if we were working 100% remotely.
That said, some of the world’s biggest brands; Amazon, Facebook, and Starbucks to name a few have given the go-ahead for employees to work remotely indefinitely. They’re obviously seeing results!
But what if your business isn’t?
If you’re not completely sold on the idea of remote working as a viable, long-term business strategy, weighing up the pros and cons will help you decide what’s right for you:
- Higher productivity – According to a recent FlexJobs survey, 95% of respondents said that their productivity has been higher or the same working from home. With fewer distractions (Jan slurping her tea, Bob telling you about his new caravan) you can focus on the task at hand. With the option to work outside of the traditional 9-5, employees can work when they’re most productive.
- Better work-life balance – Working remotely can often mean more quality time with family and friends. Even a 40-minute commute to the office each way adds up to an hour and a half of somebody’s day and that’s a huge amount of time.
- Healthier lifestyle – Keeping up with a healthy lifestyle as an office worker can be a challenge. How often do employees eat at their desks through their lunch break? Having the flexibility to take a stroll, sit in the garden with a sandwich, or just pop out for some fresh air, can have a positive effect on health and wellbeing.
- Cost savings and benefits to the environment – All those bills for transport, parking, vehicle maintenance, and eating out, add up over time. These savings become a reality when you work remotely. And there’s the bonus of reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment too.
- Attracting talent – A recent study by Absolute Personnel reported that over 59% of employees believe that flexible working is the most important benefit when looking for a job. So if you’re planning recruitment, offering remote and flexible working options can be key to winning the battle for new talent.
- Communication gaps – Being in a physical space with your team can make it easier to connect. As a remote worker, you rely on instant messaging and video calls to communicate with colleagues, and whilst this is functional it may not be as effective as being face to face. A lack of proper communication among remote teams is also likely to act as a roadblock for effective team collaboration.
- Harder to respond – The goalposts can shift quickly in business, and it’s often easier to respond to an urgent requirement when your team is in the same physical place.
- Difficult to stay motivated – Keeping your team engaged and motivated online can be a real challenge which makes it harder to reach your business targets.
- Lack of social interaction – especially tricky for some of your more extrovert team members. Working the whole day without talking to anyone could lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Management challenges – Making sure your remote team has the connectivity, software, and equipment they need to work effectively can feel like a full-time job in itself, not to mention your legal obligations as an employer to make sure your employees can work from home safely.
Ultimately, what’s right for you?
Choosing the right working style and infrastructure is never a one-size-fits-all approach. It’s dependent on the nature of your business, your clients and colleagues, and your goals.
Thinking about your unique needs and weighing up the pros and cons will help you to decide if remote working is the best long-term strategy.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach. Hybrid working (a mix of remote and office-based) is working well for some of our clients.
Still confused about the best way forward?
We thrive on growing happy, healthy and successful businesses, and we’d be delighted to help.
Contact us today.