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The positive business impacts of a remote workforce are varied and various – and go far beyond sparing your colleagues from the horrors of the Monday morning rush hour.
4 ways a remote workforce will benefit your business;
- It can save your business money – when planned well
- It allows you to be a more inclusive workplace
- It will boost your eco-credentials
- Your talent retention will improve
As we look towards the future, it’s safe to say that some degree of continued widespread remote working for desk-based roles is likely.
According to our Randstad Employer Brand Research 2020, 70% of UK employees surveyed wish to have the option of working from home. This increases to 75% among a millennial audience, or those currently aged 25 – 34; who represent a large section of the current workforce in 2020, and will for decades to come.
The experiences of 2020 have raised the curtain on the reality behind something which previously went unchallenged: the absolute need for office workers to work physically from an office. New expectations are also being set for work life balance.
And now that it has been revealed that office-based companies can function – even thrive – with its colleagues in different locations, we anticipate some level of flexible working to be an ongoing phenomenon well into the future.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that full-time working from home orders are lurking just around the corner, or that businesses or their employees should fear a strange new future in which offices are relegated to the past. Instead, it means that companies should be considering how they might use this new-found ability to operate from different locations to their greatest advantage.
Here are just a few of the business advantages to be found in supporting a partially or fully remote workforce:
1. It can save your business money – when planned well
Let’s get straight to the bottom line.
Remote working can put money back into the business, as well as the pockets of employees.
To be able to see maximum financial benefits, you need some careful planning. The most significant – and perhaps most obvious – comes from looking at your rental overheads.
Having large premises under partial or zero occupancy makes little sense. How much desk space is needed? Can you renegotiate down your space to ensure there is enough capacity for colleagues to work from the office when needed, but that you’re not running a full-sized office to host only skeleton staff?
There are also the incidental costs linked to spacious offices with multiple meeting rooms, kitchens and breakout spaces. These costs are not linked directly to the services you offer, but ones that contribute to the smooth running of the office, like cleaning contracts, providing food for meetings, and utility bills. In downsizing or reducing your office opening hours, you’ll see the associated costs drop.
In saving excess costs where possible, you will be able to re-invest the money into your business in the form of everything from colleague training and staff progression to the latest industry tools and equipment, setting your business up for future success.
2. It allows you to be a more inclusive workplace
While the risk of the pandemic broadening existing socio-economic inequalities has been well-reported, making some degree of working from home part of your company policy could make you a more diverse and open employer.
Without restrictions around where you find your team members, those who previously would have been unable to come to your office to work on a daily basis could now be in the running for a role.
That means people who do not live near big city centres or business hubs, as well as those who are physically unable, or needing to be in defined spaces, outside of traditional offices, for medical or logistical reasons.
And the benefits don’t end with allowing you to better live your values of inclusion – as crucial as this is. It also means a brighter future of accessing talent with whom you’ve never before come into contact, allowing you to inject fresh thinking and entirely new perspectives into your teams.
Recently, we asked over 800 UK respondents what the most important initiatives their employers can undertake to be more inclusive, over a third (37%) ranked ‘building a diverse workforce’ as their top priority, reinforcing the importance of inclusion.
“Diversity equals wealth” read more:
3. It will boost your eco-credentials
With climate change at the top of the United Nations’ agenda in 2021, any business making strides in securing their own sustainability will be giving themselves a compelling story to tell, to customers, clients and colleagues alike.
Moving to remote working has been found to be a huge driver of reduced carbon emissions; one study concluded that a huge 98% of each employee’s work-related carbon emissions were created as a result of their commute to the office.
And the maths checks out: fewer people travelling to one centralised office equals fewer traffic emissions, whether that’s cars, trains, buses – or even planes.
But that’s not all. When employees are working from home, they’re far less likely to head to the nearest café to pick up a plastic-encased sandwich or hot drink in a throwaway cup. Instead, they’ll have the resources to cook their own meals and snacks from scratch – which often will involve using less single-use plastic.
Climate change is being placed at the top table of discussions around our shared futures held by leading companies and whole governments, so, showing your own commitment to doing your bit to help the environment will show your good intentions as a business. In doing so, you’ll bolster your reputation.
And that matters when it comes to recruitment. Our 2020 study found that 50% of candidates would not move to a company with a poor reputation, even if it was offering a pay rise.
We all know that money talks – but your reputation shouts a lot louder.
4. Your talent retention will improve
Your people are your biggest asset. They’re the people who know the company from the inside out and those who act as your champions in the outside world. So, holding onto good workers is understandably a key priority for managers.
Offering some level of remote working is a great way to do this.
It’s logical: demonstrating that you are flexible around accommodating your teams’ needs and lifestyle will create a happier employee culture. And happier teams mean teams who are more likely to stay in their roles for longer.
As well as retaining talent for longer, the research shows that you are also likely to see an increase in the quality of work your team members are delivering when given the option to work remotely.
Research by Nick Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University, California revealed that working from home even just for one day a week can increase productivity by 13%.
And there’s more – further research from Stanford University found that those working remotely also took less time off sick.
Without the distraction of ad hoc requests from colleagues in the office, restrictive working hours and the often energy-sapping morning journey, employees are free to create their own environment to best suit their working needs – and, as a result, are more likely to deliver their best work.
- Over 1.7 million people in the UK have work from home jobs. Due to the coronavirus outbreak, this number has increased exponentially. And it’s a growing trend which shows no sign of slowing down after the pandemic has passed.
For businesses who wish to future-proof themselves as we step into tomorrow, considering incorporating some degree of working from home policy for existing and prospective colleagues could be a wise step to take.
If you’d like further information about how we could support you in everything from setting remote workers’ salaries to putting in place remote working regulations, get in touch with Randstad Inhouse Services. Visit here to find out more.
You can also access our guide around helping you to reap the benefits and handle the challenges of a remote workforce: