The previous couple of years have been transformative for the way we work. More and more companies are adopting flexible working patterns allowing their employees to work from home with only a few days in the office, or some shunning the office space and opting to go totally remote.
Communication technologies have advanced to such an extent that it is not necessary for staff to be in one location for your business to run successfully. With an increasingly mobile workforce, your employees can stay connected from almost anywhere in the world.
Of course not all businesses have jumped on board with this new set up. While the demand for remote working has increased, there remains some concern for the effort and cost involved in transitioning to a fully remote workforce, and for the difficulties that come with managing remote teams.
If you are looking to grow your workforce, resisting the trend might be a challenge in the long run however, with the surge of job seekers seeing hybrid working as a preference. You might even find people refuse your offer of a fixed position in the knowledge there will be a more appealing remote position available elsewhere.
Adopting a remote working policy could in fact be a way for your business to save money, while allowing your employees to have more control of their work-balance. It could even ease the pressure of raising money for your business. In this guide we will review the new ways of working and how this could benefit your start-up.
As a business owner, you will often be seeking opportunities that increase the efficiency of your teams. Historically, there has been concern about working from home practices – such as the inability to monitor and supervise your employees’ progress. Many studies are indicating that remote workers are in fact more productive than those who are working in the office.
Although there is monitoring software to help assess your employees productivity, such as platforms that can produce reports on your teams activity, the trend of watching employees in this way has received some backlash.
Instead, allowing employees the ability to self-motivate whilst working remotely implies a sense of trust from you as an employer, and can result in greater loyalty and employee retention in the long run.
Working from home allows for a curation of your working environment that is free from the distractions that come with office working. In addition, when focusing on employee wellbeing, by building a comfortable home working environment it can be beneficial to the mental health of your employees.
For employees, it can be daunting to think about losing the social aspect of an office environment and person to person communication. The development of virtual meeting softwares has meant it is easier than ever for your remote teams to keep in contact and continue to form important team relationships.
Continuing a strong communication network is essential, particularly when onboarding new employees in forming a strong connection.
Saving Money On The Office
Your business could directly save money in giving up your office space. With your team working remotely, you will save on rent, purchasing office equipment and furniture, as well as cleaning and maintenance.
There will be some resources you need to invest in to get your teams in a position to work remotely effectively. Overall however this should be lower than your current overheads.
If you are a company that makes use of contract workers, you could also be saving on investing in work laptops and phones as many workers now have this equipment at home. Coworking spaces have also seen a boom to accommodate a remote workforce.
Furthermore, there are benefits to going fully remote when it comes to recruitment. Not only do you not need to worry about finding larger office space as your workforce grows, you could also see an increase in employee retention. Should one of your current team need to move location, you won’t need to lose them.
Managing Your Workforce Remotely
While remote working can offer great benefits, there are some disadvantages that require close management.
Whilst working from home it is easy for the boundaries between work and personal time to become blurred. Having removed a commute where you were perhaps previously unreachable could lead to colleagues pushing your working day just that little bit further beyond your contracted hours.
With employees on differing, flexible working hours, often it can feel like the time you spend working daily should be increased and you should be contactable at all hours.
All of this could result in workplace burnout developing. As a manager or small business owner, we recommend setting clear boundaries to allow your employees to work in a flexible way without impacting on the whole team’s performance.
Communication is key and sharing information about where colleagues are working from, and the expectations of response timeframes, will prevent any unexpected difficulties in contacting members of your team.
Most importantly, have empathy for your team. Everyone will have different at-home-working situations which will require strong leadership in managing. Take the time to listen to any concerns your employees have to avoid any difficulties becoming too big a problem to resolve down the line.
You Are Not Alone In This Change
A key takeaway from this guide is that you are not alone in having to navigate these new ways of working as a new business owner. From the experience of other organisations you can learn a great deal about how best to run your small business remotely.
It is for you to shape and create the best practices for your employees. By having a clear strategy incorporating employee well being, costing and communication you will be in a strong position to follow the remote working trend and see your business grow.