What is remote working?

Remote working originally became popular amongst employees and businesses within the technology and computing industry. But what exactly is it? For some employees, remote working is the dream scenario, a chance to work externally from the office. People may choose to work from home, a local cafe or any location where they can carry out their usual duties, away from their office desk. This provides employees with a chance to work flexibly in the comfort of their own home, conducting conference calls from their living room sofa.  Not being confined to an office space also potentially means not having to keep to normal office hours, allowing employees to work around their lifestyle and achieve a better work/life balance.

But does this mean that we will be seeing less of our colleagues in and around the office? Will our work time be spent at our local coffee chain? And more importantly, will this damage productivity and staff morale throughout the company? While these questions may be a cause for concern, if managed effectively there is no reason why remote working should have a negative impact on your business.

So, why work remotely?

The opportunity of remote working acts as an incentive for employees, a concept that they have grown to embrace. Providing your staff with the option of more flexible working arrangements, increased family time (particularly those with younger families) can be a real draw when recruiting new staff. If a child needs collecting from school or a relative requires care, remote working provides the opportunity for individuals to cater to family commitments while also maintaining their workload. However, for many individuals, the office is seen as a social space alongside work. Often, new friendships are established, and social groups are formed with a degree of workplace banter flying around the office. Remote working can be isolating so this in turn, motivates employees to report into their workplace, whilst enjoying the option of escapism and flexibility every so often.

Working remotely also means that, without the need to access a fixed working space, you could employ candidates from anywhere in the country or even the world.  With employees based in different time zones, this gives you the opportunity to potentially operate 24 hours a day.  Giving your employees the flexibility to work from anywhere allows them to embrace their hobbies (such as travel) without impacting on their career or worklife.

Can employers benefit from this concept?

It is not only employees that can thrive from remote working, employers and business managers may also reap the rewards. The increase of flexibility may result in a rise in productivity throughout the workforce. Organisations may see a rise in capacity as remote workers are motivated by the idea of increased responsibility that previously, rarely existed in an office environment. Alongside this, there may be a decline in the cost required to invest in office equipment such as desks and fixed computer monitors. A business can now simply equip an employee with a laptop and provide them with the flexibility to complete their work remotely.

As the use of technology and digital environments continue to surge, the concept of remote working will likely become increasingly popular throughout the workplace. Companies who support this strategy may witness a rise in productivity throughout their workforce as well as the amount of industry professionals that they are able to attract from competitors. Will fixed company offices become a thing of the past, a mere isolated space that was once the bustling hub of a business?  With the ability to work remotely from far-flung places would we even miss them?