In recent years, remote working has become increasingly popular among both small businesses and large enterprises. Yet, some managers and business owners have been reluctant to implement remote working (or hybrid remote working which is a mix of home-office/in-office), because they don’t see the advantages and mistakenly see the move as a downgrade.
However, research has revealed that the opposite is true: remote working, when it is structured, deployed, supported, and managed properly, delivers significant benefits: These benefits include:
- Reduced costs and more profitability: Businesses save an average of $22,000 per year in overhead costs for each full-time remote worker. (Source: Global Workplace Analytics)
- Higher retention and lower turnover: Businesses that offer remote working experience a 25% lower turnover rate vs. employers that do not offer remote working. (Source: Owl Labs)
- Greater performance and productivity: Remote workers take shorter breaks during the day, and work 1.4 more days per month or 16.8 extra days a year than their office-based counterparts (Source: Airtasker). Overall, 63% of businesses saw at least a 21% increase in productivity after offering remote working. (Source: IWG)
- Reduced sick days and absenteeism: Remote workers take 50% fewer sick days than office-based workers, and are absent 56% less. (Source: Indeed)
- More loyalty engagement: Remote workers are generally happier and more engaged than their office-based counterparts. (Source: Centre for Economics and Business Research).
- Eco-friendly and “green marketing”: Businesses can highlight in their presentations and proposals that their remote working program delivers environmental benefits. For example, in 2014 the remote working policies of Dell, Aetna, and Xerox cumulatively saved 95,294 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 20,000 passenger vehicles off of the road (source: Flexjobs).To actually reap all of these rewards, however, it is important to ensure that remote workers — whether they are working permanently from home or occasionally (hybrid model) — have the tools they need to succeed. These include:
- Cloud-based Phone System: This allows remote workers to make/receive calls through a VoIP phone, desktop softphone, or mobile phone, as if they were in the corporate office environment (and outgoing calls on mobile phones display the business’s caller ID, not the remote worker’s personal caller ID). Remote workers can also chat with colleagues, access voicemails as audio files, and take advantage of many other built-in features.
- Fast Internet: Data limits aren’t a problem for most remote workers, but some may need to speed up their connection so they can perform work-related duties through their home network. It also may be necessary or desirable to implement Quality of Service (QoS) rules on their Wi-Fi router to prevent family members from engaging in high-bandwidth activities during work hours, such as streaming movies or playing video games.
- Virtual Private Network (VPN): VPN technology routes Wi-Fi traffic between an endpoint (such as a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone) and the internet through an encrypted tunnel. Since hackers don’t have the key, they can’t snoop and steal data.
- Security Software: Remote workers must have good security software on their home devices, including anti-malware, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software. These should be configured to update automatically.
- Data Backup/Recovery: Just as with security software, data backup/recovery software is a must-have. Backups should be to the cloud and also possibly to a local external hard drive (or other suitable storage devices), depending on the type of work and the nature of the data being handled.
- Collaboration, Project Management, and Task Management Software: There are several solutions available in the marketplace at various price points, such as Teams, Slack, Basecamp, and many others. It’s important to combine functionality with simplicity. Some productivity software vendors have a tendency to lean towards “feature creep” which gets in the way of usability and flexibility.
The Bottom Line
Well before the coronavirus pandemic, remote working was on the rise. Presently and going forward, it is going to be a much bigger and more permanent part of the business landscape. In a survey, Gartner found that 74% of CFOs plan on shifting at least five percent of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions once the COVID-19 crisis ends. And as McKinsey & Company notes: “remote working was gaining currency before the crisis, but the pandemic has shown that telecommuting is here to stay.”
To learn more about enabling your remote workers (either full-time or hybrid) to succeed in the new world of work, contact us today and schedule your free live guided demo of our cloud phone system, which we will deliver over-the-web at a time that is convenient to you and your team.
Call us at (336) 850-5400 or chat with us during business hours by clicking the chat icon on the lower-right of your screen. We are a local Greensboro, North Carolina-based business with over 100 5-star reviews, and are here for all of your remote working needs!