While some offices around the world are making a tentative return to office working and physical meetings, there are others who are adapting their working style to adhere to the supposed ‘new normal’ – working remotely.
In this article, we consider some of the biggest things that businesses need to think about when it comes to working remotely – and whether this could genuinely become a long term solution for employees and businesses across the UK and beyond.
What working remotely means
Working remotely presents a flexible solution for those who want to integrate their work lives with their home lives, and cease travelling into the office everyday for work and for meetings. For many businesses, it means implementing a core set of hours where employees are expected to be online and active, then allowing them to manage their own time outside of those hours as they need to.
One of the biggest trends throughout the pandemic and ever since has been a change in the way that meetings, events, and conferences are held in the business world, with technology and video conferencing solutions expanding exponentially to fill the gap in the market. As such, using the right technology and introducing a high level of communication has been the pinnacle for businesses adopting a working remotely structure – with many proving that this ‘new normal’ could indeed be good for business.
But what are the benefits of working remotely and can it really be a good solution for both employees and employers?
The Benefits of working remotely
Reduction in Expenses: One of the best benefits for business owners is the reduction in cost presented by remote working – cutting the cost of hosting meetings and events and enabling those expenses to be funnelled into the integration of cutting edge technology instead. When you start hosting meetings and events online, as well as allowing employees to work remotely, travel and office costs start to drop. That money can then be redirected into making sure you have the highest level of technology to support remote working.
Flexible Working: One of the greatest benefits for employees, in particular, is the flexibility and freedom that working remotely presents – in terms of how, where, and even when they work. Provided employees can commit to the core hours presented by the business, the ability to complete their work according to a timeline that suits them is much easier and more realistic to work around in terms of work, home, and family.
Save Time: How many times have you been to a meeting and thought “this could have been done as a quick call”? With remote working and video conferencing, lengthy meetings can now be cut much shorter with a strict schedule and the attendance of only those who need to be there.
Greater Opportunities: Working remotely doesn’t have to mean working from your home just outside the city – it could mean working from somewhere genuinely remote and exotic. This presents employees with greater opportunities to expand their lifestyle and experience new cultures while still being able to work.
Things businesses need to consider
Working remotely offers a range of benefits, provided that businesses are able to harness the positives and find ways of overcoming the challenges. One of the biggest challenges attributing to remote working is the lack of physical interaction between colleagues, and the stunted communication which can see some colleagues and employees struggling to meet deadlines. The fact is, working in an office environment is good for creativity and so when you remove this, many workers will find that they lose that buffer of ideas and support that an office gives them.
To overcome this, businesses attempting a remote working structure should be considering ways of implementing consistent communication and team-building into the everyday routine of their entire employee base. Some ideas include:
– Morning meetings and catch-ups for the whole business
– Regular brainstorming sessions for smaller teams
– A dedicated chat platform that can be accessed anytime – for example, Slack.
– The use of visual technologies as well as emails and newsletters – for example sending out video updates from the Senior Leadership team of the business, so that employees feel included and part of a wider team that they can physically see
Another thing that businesses need to consider when adjusting to a remote working structure is the technology and the importance of getting the right technology in place to ensure those consistent and effective communications. Whether it’s a big event, conference, or just an everyday meeting, poor technology can be frustrating, unproductive and can waste everyone’s time. Investing in the right technology and undergoing regular testing will help to ensure that every call and meeting runs smoothly and on time.
Other things to consider include:
– The work-life balance and how you can ensure that employees are switching off and moving away from work for regular breaks
– Supportive and safe workspaces that meet HSE regulations
– To-do lists and realistic goals to drive productivity
Could working remotely be the new normal?
Businesses and employees alike have grown used to the remote working concept over the past year and a half, and as such are finding new and innovative ways of factoring it into their long term business plan. Whether your business introduces a flexible working week, core office days or a 100% remote working plan, considering the above factors and building on the benefits is important in ensuring that you get the buy-in of your whole company.
For support when it comes to your business technology and to find out how we could help you to create a digital system to support your internal team and your customer or client base, get in touch with our team today.