Many businesses have adapted to working remotely during the Coronavirus lockdown. Now, with plans to lift the lockdown underway it’s time to question if you really need to head back to the office? Or do the benefits of keeping your business virtual outweigh any talk of a return?
So, why should you keep your business virtual?
Running a business remotely has major cost savings. With less money spent on rent, utilities, office furniture, and savings on technology, with home workers using cloud-based systems and video conferencing, business owners can save on these overheads and invest in business growth.
Staff working in their home environment are less likely to take sick leave. Not travelling on public transport, sharing office facilities, and being subjected to air conditioning means that employees are generally healthier. Another big plus is, that without a commute employees have more time to exercise and eat healthily.
Your business can be more adaptable, with the cost savings already discussed you’ll be better suited to survive any downturns in the market without dragging the business through the kind of disruption that has been faced over the past few weeks.
When staff work remotely from home they are able to structure their day in a way that works best for them. When you take away the time spent commuting, chatting with colleagues, and in unproductive meetings there is extra time in the day that can be used more effectively. For example, you can set yourself up for a more productive day without an hour’s commute in the morning. A task that might take an hour in the office due to interruptions might only take 20 minutes at home. I read one study, which states remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based colleagues…that’s three additional weeks of work per year.
There will, of course, be times when you need to meet your team. However, when this is planned and structured it will be much more productive than chats and meetings that happen in the office daily. For instance, if you are starting a new project it might be an idea to hire a conference room and meet for a day to discuss the project and assign roles. Once this is done your team can work virtually to complete tasks, checking in regularly via email, video calls, and phone.
Remote staff have increased loyalty, this may be due to having the trust and autonomy to get on and do their job without micromanagement. Another reason why loyalty increases is the ability to gain a better work-life balance. For many, not commuting means they can be home for bedtime with the children or the exercise class they love. Small things like not having to stress over when to book the boiler service make such a difference to people’s lives. Its is thought that remote workers are up to 29% happier in their jobs
One of the biggest barriers to having a remote workforce is trust. It’s hard as a business owner to let go of the feeling of control. However, over the past few weeks, it has become apparent to many that the more trust you give your staff the more they will give in return. With the right systems and processes in place, you can still have control and accountability but with a more profitable business.
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