With ever-increasing broadband connection speeds and the development of a variety of cloud-based tools, the idea of remote working was becoming a realistic possibility for a number of organisations. However, having the capability to utilise remote working and cloud-based technologies did not equate to a drastic increase in people working remotely. For example, an Office for National Statistics (ONS) survey found that only 5.2% of the UK workforce worked from home regularly in 2019.
Like many other areas of our day to day lives, COVID-19 has forced a drastic change in the way that we do business. In March 2020 the UK government mandated lockdown encouraged businesses that where possible, all employees should work remotely. This brought in a rapid change, with companies having to go fully remote in less than a week. An ONS survey found that 49% of the UK workforce worked from home in June 2020. The trend is mirrored across Europes large economies, with remote working becoming the norm across the continent.
While some businesses were well equiped for this transition, many others were not ready and had to quickly adapt to a new normal. However, in just a couple of months 49% of the UK workforce did adapt, and this new way of working could be here to stay. Since March 2020 there have been several studies that highlight the benefits of remote working, some showing an increase in productivity and employee wellbeing.
Here are five benefits that come from remote working:
Flexibility and Improved Wellbeing – With employees working from home, they are able to take better care of themselves. They can eat healthy meals and exercise mush easier around their working hours. This is not always possible as some employees will have rigid working hours, however, when working from home remote workers can plan their own schedule because as long as they meet their targets, tasks, and projects on time, there is no drop in productivity. Actually, several surveys have shown that this extra flexibility can increase staff productivity levels.
Extra Time – The office commute takes a large portion of a person’s life, over six months a one-hour commute could equate to 260 hours of travel time. Over the last six months, many employees have been using this time to prepare for work, or even to start early. This can lead to their tasks being completed earlier, and if part of a larger project, their colleague could start on the next stage earlier than normal. Overall the project can be completed earlier and this boosts the productivity of the business as a whole.
Transparency – The remote working environment encourages employees to be direct, concise, and clear in their communication. With no personal contact the daily focus becomes work, employees are accountable to their tasks and responsibilities, and when you are part of a group conversation this all becomes more transparent. During these communications employees need to be more assertive and confident in the work, this is the subject, there is less small talk or other interruptions with the projects progress being the main focus.
Simplified Processes – When working out of the traditional office model, some of the day to day tasks can be outsourced and this can create benefits for the business. For example, outsourcing payroll could free up HR staff to focus on responding to employees’ needs much quicker.
Availability and Resources – Having a remote working culture expands the pool of potential talent to cover the entire globe. Businesses can work with talented individuals from without the work restrictions that apply when hiring nationally. Also, without the office environment, relocating or commuting for work is no longer needed to work with a particular employer. This makes savings for the employer and the employer as they don’t need to cover rent, maintenance, upkeep, or security.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SAM Software Solutions has helped several of our customers to adapt to this new normal with remote working and cloud computing technologies.