Is remote working right for my business?

The working style is growing in popularity, but is it as effective as being under one roof?
10 May 2019

It takes trust, but there could be big benefits. Source: Shutterstock

Technology today has empowered the rise of the remote workforce, with more and more businesses now offering their employees the option to work from home.

And this trend certainly shows no signs of slowing down. A recent survey by Owl Labs found that 16 percent of global companies are now fully-remote, and 52 percent of employees around the world work from home at least one day a week.

With the research-backed benefits that can come from a remote workforce, it is no wonder that many business owners are welcoming this trend with open arms.

If you’re running a business and are pondering the idea of this growing work structure and whether it would work for you, consider the following benefits:

Higher productivity

Did you know that remote workers get more work done in less time? This consequently allows them to get on with new projects, spend more time on the important tasks, and thus ultimately improve your bottom line.

But why is this? The reason behind the higher productivity of remote workers can be attributed to the following:

  • They do not have to commute to work.
  • They can finish work in their own time.
  • Less distraction from co-workers.
  • They are self-motivated.
  • They have a more flexible schedule.

According to a study conducted by the University of Illinois, remote working employees also show the tendency to go above and beyond for the company they are working for. It is argued that remote working employees strive to make their work presence more visible to management, in fear that this arrangement could be taken away from them.

A more talented workforce

A business which is oriented around locality will ultimately hinder the quality of talent you can hire. While you may be able to convince some potential hires to migrate to your office, this simply won’t suit everyone.

By harnessing a remote workforce, you open your business up to global hires and a much larger talent pool. One survey found that 68 percent of millennials would be more likely to favor a business if remote work was an option for them.

And with remote working also improving retention rates by 10 percent, this talent will also stick around longer.

Reduced costs

Hiring remote working employees can result in significant business savings, mainly as a result of reduced office costs.

Real estate needs can be significantly reduced when only a handful of employees are required to be on site. Remote employees reduce costs surrounding computers, phones, electricity, heating and air conditioning and many other necessities which keep an office operating.

Studies suggest that on average, real estate savings with full-time teleworkers is US$10,000 per employee per year. Now that’s a factor worth considering!

Despite the advantages of allowing your employees to work remotely, this “flexible” way of running the workforce is not suited to every business.

Even in today’s hyperconnected world where phones, laptops, tablets, wristwatches and even fridges are tethered to the internet 24/7, some employers are yet to be convinced of the benefits of a remote workforce.

Worries such as a decline in employee performance and loss of control due to decreased employee visibility deter many business leaders from adopting the remote workforce trend.

Many believe that collaboration and work culture will be hindered due to employees being scattered across locations.

Also, while technology can make communicating with people easier, remote working still poses many communication barriers. Such obstacles include many platforms being used at different times, frustrating connection issues, and information that would normally be shared seamlessly and naturally in the office may not be shared… leaving teams at a disadvantage. Despite these downfalls of remote working, those business leaders who are dismissing this trend may be putting their organizations at a strong disadvantage.

But with remote working set to become even more widespread, those businesses who fail to adapt will struggle to find and retain talent in this increasingly competitive world.