The emergence of digitisation has accelerated the general trend of remote working. According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics), 1.54 million people worked remotely in 2018 as compared with 884,000 a decade earlier (in 2008).
Past apprehension tied to issues concerning productivity and governance has disappeared and given way to this new style of working.
Remote working has now become a growing trend with an increasing number of sectors now facilitating remote working. Consequently, more and more companies around the world are offering this form of flexibility and so location of workers is no longer an issue.
The availability and accessibility of digital technology, such as video conferencing and collaboration tools has encouraged the gradual encouragement and adoption of working remotely.
But what makes remote working work? Why is there an increasing demand for remote working?
Below we explore the key benefits for employees and why more companies are embracing this flexible work option.
- Increased productivity
Various research studies have revealed that productivity has increased when employees have worked remotely. Working in the office gives rise to distractions, interruptions and general office noise. Working remotely, however, means fewer interruptions, giving way to less stress.
The comfort, convenience and flexibility of remote working allows you to be more organised and assert greater control over your schedule, thereby giving you the opportunity to prioritise tasks and use the time productively. The absence of the daily commute also compensates employees so that they can best utilise the time saved.
- Accessible talent pool
Having access to talent in an increasingly competitive environment is important. Being able to retain that talent is of equal importance.
The offer by organisations of remote working opportunities does entice potential recruits.
Companies have available a larger pool of talent and qualified candidates if they don’t restrict themselves geographically or locally.
Remote workers have eased the burden of acquiring talent and companies are better able to recruit and retain the best staff, thereby reducing staff turnover.
- Cost savings
Employers and employees will benefit from cost savings. Employers will benefit from lower organisational and operational overheads, making savings pertaining to office rent, maintenance, utilities and space. Companies have the chance to downsize and cut costs this way. Employees, on the other hand, can take advantage of reduced travel costs.
Increased productivity, mentioned earlier, allows employees to achieve more and decreases absenteeism.
- Better work – life balance
A better quality of life is what most employees yearn for. A flexible work solution whereby you can work from your laptop at home, for instance, gives you the ability to manage your workload alongside family commitments, e.g. working parents, and so alleviate some of the home life stresses.
Escaping the daily commute, either traffic jams or packed trains and buses is an ideal gain for many. In fact, this is a key reason for employees wishing to work remotely.
Being able to balance work and home is imperative in increasing productivity and feeling happier. As a result, employees feel more responsible, more engaged and motivated.
- Promotes employee well-being
By avoiding the daily commute, busy lunchtimes and longer working hours in the office, employees can enhance their health and wellbeing Working in the comfort of their own home prohibits the build-up of stress.
Stress reduction and the loss of job-related anxiety make way for a healthier and happier employee.
- Environmental benefits
Remote working positively impacts the environment by reducing our carbon footprint.
A reduction in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions caused by less travel, and reduced city traffic supports global efforts in fighting environmental causes.
Lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower fuel and energy consumption and less office waste all contribute towards improving our air quality and helping our environment.
There could be no better time to plan, review and prepare contingency plans than now, as part of a crucial response to the outbreak of coronavirus. With an increasing number of cases now being reported daily, more businesses are taking steps to deal with day-to-day operations and client services, including, where feasible, supporting staff by providing the option or persuading employees to work from home.
What does the future of work look like?
As a result of increasing demand for remote working opportunities and flexible working policies, we will see in the long term, a shift in how we work.
Already, such initiatives have been introduced by companies to help attract and retain the Millennial and Gen Z workforce. As they are armed with high demand digital skills, remote working has already become an established practice, particularly in the technology industry. The advantage of their skills being utilised outside the office has led to the popularity of this flexible way of working. Furthermore, collaborative tools and software are available to make working remotely work in the future.
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