The benefits of allowing staff to work remotely are manifold. Here are just a handful of reasons to consider it
By Ernest Richardson
The world of work has undergone a transformation. Whereas a generation ago it would have been expected that staff attend an office to fulfil their duties, many companies now adopt a far more agile approach to working practices.
It’s become normal for employees to work remotely, logging in from home or a coffee shop to check emails, contact colleagues, and carry out their duties.
|...if your business model is suitable, there’s a strong case to introduce at least some element of remote working.|
Such flexibility brings a number of benefits. So it’s no surprise that, by 2025, the number of people working remotely is expected to equal the number still working in offices.
Of course, this won’t work for every employer. If you have a customer - or client-facing business, such as a retail operation like Marks and Spencer or a recruitment consultancy like Just Recruitment Group Ltd, it’s unlikely your staff will be able to do their job effectively unless they come into the workplace.
But if your business model is suitable, there’s a strong case to introduce at least some element of remote working. Here are six of the most compelling arguments in its favour.
1) Remote working increases productivity
According to HR software specialist CIPHR, remote workers rate their productivity level at 7.7 out of 10. That’s compared to the 6.5 out of 10 that office workers scored themselves in the same survey.
If you remain unconvinced, consider the facts: remote workers are likely to take shorter breaks and won’t be distracted by water-cooler conversations or office politics.
What’s more, according to CIPHR’s research, more than a third of remote workers say they put in additional hours to get tasks completed that they’d leave to the next day if they needed to get home from the office. And, of course, there’s much less time and energy wasted on commuting.
2) Remote working improves staff retention
Working remotely is recognised as being better for employees’ physical and emotional wellbeing, which means fewer sick days and a healthier workforce.
A corollary of that is greater staff retention: typically, people who choose to work from home enjoy the experience, and view it as a core benefit. Unless a rival employer can also offer that flexibility, it’ll take a lot of additional salary or benefits to tempt them away. The result? A healthier, happier and longer-serving workforce.
|A study in the US revealed that, if employers allowed their staff to work even a half of their time remotely, they would save an average of $11,000 per person per year.|
3) Remote working makes staff feel valued
What’s the single most important thing you can do to get the best out of your staff team? According to Just Recruitment Group Ltd founder and managing director Jenny Wrightson, it’s trust.
“If you show your people that you trust them to get the job done, you show them how highly you value their contribution,” says Mrs Wrightson. “There are few more expressive ways of demonstrating that trust than allowing employees the freedom to work remotely, provided it works for your business. Offer it where appropriate to your people and they'll feel empowered, valued, and encouraged.”
4) Remote working reduces operating costs
A study in the US revealed that, if employers allowed their staff to work even a half of their time remotely, they would save an average of $11,000 per person per year. That’s because of reduced energy costs, less wasted time, and enhanced productivity (see above).
What’s more, the same study said each worker would save as much as $7,000 per year by halving their amount of commuting. We’d call that a win-win situation.
5) Remote working can make it easier to support colleagues with disabilities
The Equality Act 2010 mandates employers to make “reasonable adjustments” to ensure employees with disabilities are not disadvantaged in the workplace.
Examples of such adjustments include adapting the working environment, offering specialist equipment, and allowing flexi working to fit around care and energy levels.
“It stands to reason that allowing the option of remote working may well suit colleagues with disabilities more than coming into an office every day,” says Mrs Wrightson. “This is not only about complying with legislation. It’s about ensuring a diverse workforce in which every person has an opportunity to reach their full potential.”
6) Remote working enhances employee wellbeing
Remote workers have more time to look after themselves, and typically report improved resilience and wellbeing.
By not commuting, they have more time for activities like exercise or leisure pursuits. It may be easier for them to manage childcare or spend time with family and friends.
And simply having a more flexible lifestyle will give them a more positive outlook – especially if they’re a part of the digital native Gen Z, which expects such flexibility.
In short, if you want to help your staff feel great, give them the chance to work remotely. You’ll all reap the rewards.
© 2020 Just Recruitment Group Ltd
Published: 18 March 2020
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