Remote Working: is it Good or Bad for Business?
Depending on who you ask, remote working is either the future of the modern workplace, or an opportunistic employee’s dream.
It’s a hot topic, perhaps one that many businesses are getting tired of hearing about. But it continues to populate discussions in forums and meetings alike, simply because people have such strong opinions about it. So is remote working good or bad for your business?
The idea of moving your business to a remote set-up, only to have it fail miserably, is a nightmare that no-one wants to face. However, your digital transformation doesn’t have to be an all or nothing scenario, as some departments and services just aren’t as well suited for remote working as others. For example, you might want to keep your customer service department in an office, as it’s essential that they always be available to customers and other staff members. Whereas other departments, such as sales or account management, can afford to be a bit more flexible with their location.
Other businesses worry that their employees will take advantage of their new-found freedom to relax in-front of a few episodes of Homes Under The Hammer. Which is an entirely reasonable concern to have, if you feel like your employees aren’t particularly self-motivated. However, this shouldn’t prevent you from offering remote working arrangements to at least some of your staff. In fact, a HSBC survey found that 9 out of 10 of their employees cited remote working as being the number one reason they experienced a boost to their productivity. Implementing a solution like Microsoft Office 365, should provide a multitude of ways to ensure that your employees check-in regularly and share their work-schedule.
Software like Office 365 can also assuage some other doubts that businesses’ have towards remote working, such as the potential for employees to feel isolated. At least part of your workforce will see socialising with their colleges as being essential to their work experience, and it’s unlikely that remote working will appeal to them. But it’s almost guaranteed that at least an equal number would prefer to work alone. The key here is to find a balance between isolation and distraction, ensuring that regardless of their location, employees still remain in the loop. Which is where Office 365 can help by providing services like Skype for Business for quick messages and video conferences, and Outlook for emails and organisers.
Nonetheless, communication isn’t the only thing businesses are worried about losing with remote working. Attempting to maintain a company’s sense of culture when its employees are scattered to the winds, can seem like a daunting challenge. It’ll certainly be harder to spark any spontaneous moments of comradery, but it isn’t impossible. Here at Redsquid, we use an intranet mobile app to keep our employees informed about the wider goings-on in the company. Whether it’s exciting updates about charity events or reminders about staff birthdays, our app helps everyone feel a part of the company, wherever they’re working from.
However, for some businesses the mere idea of remote working conjures up fears of job candidates hoping for an easy ride, and an increase in employee turnover rates. Being clever about implementing a remote working scheme is essential to turning a potential worry into a lucrative opportunity. Offering remote working arrangements can dramatically increase your business’ hiring pool, as location will be less of an issue. Additionally, other studies have shown that 82% of workers said that they’d be more loyal to a company if it offered remote working opportunities (Flexjobs).
A much more worrying possibility to consider, is how your employees will approach cyber security if working remotely. However, protecting your network and devices from cybercrime can be done regardless of location. With the right management tool, such as our own MDM service, you can monitor the safety of your business’ devices from a simple online dashboard. We also advise that you take steps educate your workforce on the do’s and don’ts of cybersecurity, to help prevent them from making mistakes. We’ve published many guides to improving cybersecurity on this blog, which contain lots of useful information.
But perhaps the most important thing to remember about remote working, is that it doesn’t suit every business. Before starting your digital transformation consider whether you have the right services, customers, and ethos to benefit from it. For more advice on remote working, feel free to speak to our support team on 020 8166 4540.