Before this, working from home was already on the rise, with many companies exploring flexible and remote working as an option for their employees.
But, with such a huge shift in the numbers working from home due to the pandemic, and the concept of remote working becoming increasingly normalised, we may experience a different future for the humble office than what we first imagined.
Today, we’re looking at the future of home working, some of the pros and cons and asking whether or not employers have a choice to go back to 'normal' after working from home is no longer required.
The pros of remote working.
Employees are generally happier.
Statistics show that the option of flexible and remote working creates a happy team. For example, 76% of people would be more willing to stay with their current employer if they could work flexible hours.
Meanwhile, companies who allow home working have a 25% lower employee turnover rate than those that don’t.
Flexibility is important for everyone. And, as modern life gets busier, a different approach to work/life balance is becoming more attractive.
In fact, 40% of people feel the greatest benefit of remote working is the flexibility in their schedule.
Source: Small Biz Genius.
You can access more talent.
Sure, flexibility for employees is great, but what’s in it for the company?
Well, because of the nature of remote working and the fact you do not have to rely on people living close by, you’ll have access to a larger pool of talent.
Technically, you could employ someone from the other side of the world and they’d still be able to make the morning briefing.
On top of this, if you have the capabilities to work remotely, you could also start looking at working with different agencies and contractors who are experts in their fields.
For example, you could outsource your IT, get some outside consulting from a marketing agency or even work with a freelancer to offer a more well-rounded service to your clients.
This is great for small businesses who want to scale up but aren’t quite ready to employ someone full time.
If there are fewer reasons to be in the office, there are fewer reasons for an office.
Allowing staff to work from home part or full time means that you have less of a need for a huge office space. You could save £1,000s per year by downsizing or scrapping the physical space altogether.
Your overheads will only be the tools that you need to stay connected with your team.
If you opt for Office 365, this simplifies the payments further as you only have to pay one invoice that covers file sharing, cloud storage, video conferencing, email, project management and even an instant messenger.
Cons of remote working.
Of course, managing a remote team requires a bit of effort upfront to ensure it's a success.
You’ll need to put extra effort into maintaining your company culture.
With everyone spread far apart, working at different hours, and rarely meeting in person, it’s a little more tricky to establish a solid company culture. But it isn’t impossible.
Regular communication, engagement and team culture exercise, as well as ensuring new members of staff are a good fit for your company can help with this.
Again, communication naturally gets harder when we’re not speaking to people face-to-face. However, as technology improves, things like video calls that are traditionally a tech nightmare for some workers, are becoming easier to participate in.
In fact, due to the pandemic, people have been forced to get to grips with video call technology, which means it’ll be easier for everyone to get on board with them in the future.
Still, if you do decide to continue with remote working after the pandemic, communication needs to remain a priority.
Check in with your team regularly and choose a standard platform that everyone works from - like Teams or Slack - to avoid confusion, missed messages and people feeling out of the loop.
Do we really have a choice?
So many workers have experienced their first taste of remote working due to coronavirus.
It’s true, some are yearning to get back into the office.
But, there will be a percentage of people who have enjoyed the extra flexibility, the non-existent commute and increased productivity.
Now that many businesses have shown that it is possible to work from home, can they really go back to the way things were before?
Successfully managing a remote team is possible. But, you need to make sure your technology is serving you and working for you, rather than against you. What may have worked as a quick fix during the pandemic, may not be a sustainable solution for your long-term digital and remote working strategy.
If you have any questions about this, we are always happy to help.
In the meantime, please read these other guides we think you’ll find useful: