With Amazon announcing in May 2017 it’s hiring 5,000 part-time customer service employees to work from home, and a study published that suggest 93% of workers are more productive when working remotely, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of having a policy that encourages remote working.
Having said this, remote working is not something every business sees the value in adopting. Perhaps due to a lack of trust within the business, the nature of the work involved or the fact that some work places simply don’t have the technology required to facilitate working from home. Remote workers today, make up almost 14% (4 million) of the UK workforce according to a ‘recent study’. According to ‘another study’ this is a number that is set to rise in the future.
To help you decide whether working remotely is something your business can adopt, we explore what remote working is, the benefits, and what to consider.
What is remote working and how can it benefit my business?
A remote worker is someone who works outside of a traditional office. This can be from home, from a coffee shop or a co-working space. Generally, this style of working would use a device with access to a secure VPN or, ideally, using a secure hosted desktop service protected with multi-factor authentication.
There are a whole host of benefits an employer can gain from having employees that work remotely. To name a few:
Talent – Through not having to be in the office, remote workers can be anywhere in the world. This opens up the talent pool and means there are a whole host of new candidates that are suitable for the job. With certain industries having such talent shortages, including financial services, this can play a critical factor when recruiting top talent.
Expense – Remote workers cost less, you don’t have to cover the physical desk space or utility costs an office-based employee incurs. In addition to this, remote workers often use their own laptop and smartphones, subject to meeting company security policy.
Productivity – It has been argued in the past that employees who work from home are more productive, work longer hours, use less sick time and quit less than those who work from the office on a regular basis. In one study from Vodafone where they asked 8,000 business professionals across small, medium and large-sized companies in 10 countries, 83% of companies reported an improvement in productivity.
Three core areas to consider when implementing remote working.
Remote working, if properly prepared for, can be implemented with relative ease within a trading business. However, there are a number of different areas to consider when deciding to go ahead prior to launching remote working.
Internal Communications – Communication changes vastly when working remotely, you can’t just turn to a colleague and ask their opinion. Regular calls, email updates and the use of Instant Messaging and task management software, can all help things run smoothly and keep remote colleagues up to date and help them to feel that they still belong to the business. ‘Microsoft Skype for Business’ can also help with calls, remote presentations as well as instant messaging. Ensuring employees are made aware of the company policy, whereby you outline what is required from them, should be mandatory.
IT – Will remote staff be using their own laptop, pc and/or smartphone? Who is responsible for upgrading and updating these devices? As they’ll be using an internet connection where they are based, is this fast enough or of sufficient quality to allow them to do their job? Do they need a backup service (e.g. 4G or similar)? Many people don’t have landlines these days – can they get a 4G signal at home, or good mobile coverage if that is needed?
Data Protection and Security – How to access company data in a reliable but, more importantly, in a secure way? In a world where hackers are penetrating some of the world’s biggest institutions with seeming ease, the need for security and data protection is an absolute essential. There are many questions, such as, is their home internet connection safe? How do you manage firewall policies? How do you ensure that data cannot be accessed by flat-mates or family members using the home computer?
Interested in finding more about remote working and how secureVirtual can help? Feel free to call 020 8099 1502 and speak with one of our friendly experts.