Remote work is more than just a fad. Aside from its current necessity, it’s been gaining popularity quickly as more and more employees add it to their list of requirements when job hunting. Why? Because we all want a flexible schedule that allows us to make a living while still retaining the freedom to live without so much restriction.
Accessible:By 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers.
Economical: Working from home contributes £18.5 billion to the UK economy each year, and is expected to soar to £74 billion by 2020.
Environmentally friendly: Telecommuters reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equal to 600,000 cars.
Preference: 74% of workers would gladly leave their current jobs to obtain the option of working from home occasionally.
By 2028, 73% of all departments will have remote workers. Gen Zers are practically digital natives, and this familiarity is reshaping the workforce. Younger managers are allowing their team members to work from home. Remote work also presents an opportunity for companies to expand their talent pools to parents, employees who work multiple jobs, or out-of-state workers.
Before looking into the potential pros and cons, as well as some tips on how to ensure your remote work setup is optimised, check out our chat with Ben Leeves (Consider Creative) where we explore the current landscape and how it can offer innovative opportunities to agencies:
Pros vs. Cons
Being able to accommodate a schedule that suits your everyday needs sounds like a fantastic option. However, like everything in life, there are two sides to remote work.
Remote work allows employees to not travel for work which has an incredible impact both in the environment and their pockets. Employers also can reduce costs by setting up offices in flexible co-working spaces. However, let’s talk about how it can impact your everyday life:
Work and Travel: Flexibility for work means flexibility for travel.44% of remote workers travel while working between one week and one month per year, and 25% of respondents do this work/travel combination for more than one month of the year. Greg Caplan, CEO of RemoteYear, says “As more and more companies are offering flexibility and more and more people are now working remotely, lots of them will want to take advantage of that opportunity to travel to places that inspire them, rather than just staying cooped up in their homes.”
Higher Productivity: Working from home is less stressful, causes fewer distractions and interruptions and offers a personalised, quiet environment. FlexJobs’ annual survey found that 65% of respondents are more productive in their home office than in a traditional workplace. In another study, 47% said they strongly agree that flexible work arrangements “would or do allow me to be more productive”.
Health benefits: Striking a good work-to-life balance; having more time to spend with family, eating healthily, and a good night’s sleep reduces stress significantly. It also makes work more enjoyable, even if you’re just working from home twice a week or so.
Lower turnover: Figures show that losing an employer could cost you an average £12000 to replace. With increasing demands of life outside of work, offering remote working is a great way to keep older, highly experienced workers in your business. It will allow them to remain productive but offer the flexibility to deal with other commitments.
Reduce operating costs: More employees working from home means fewer employees in the office, which meansless office space to accommodate them – and that’s a good chunk of money saved.
Many companies are still reluctant to let their employees work remotely for several reasons. Generally, this is due to company culture, trust or the fact that company operations require a face-to-face approach and digitalisation is still not a priority. Here is the other side of the coin:
Inclusiveness: Working from home can get lonely. Sort of like being home-schooled, you miss out on the experience and office banter, which is often vital in building a strong team.In some cases, office-based staff may notview remote workers as part of the team.
Struggle to Unplug: “Remote work isn’t just a different way to work – it’s a different way to live. And, unlike what you might see on Instagram, working remotely doesn’t mean you jet set to exotic locations to drink piña coladas on the beach,” says Amir Salihefendic is CEO of Doist. Disconnecting from work when you work at home isn’t always easy, especially when the lines can get blurred.
Costs: Most companies don’t pay for the costs associated with remote work – this includes essentials such as home internet, co-working memberships and, yes, coffee. Despite these costs, most companies don’t reimburse or cover them for remote workers. 75% of respondents said their company does not pay for home internet, and 71% said their company does not cover the cost of a co-working membership.
How do I do it?
Venturing into the world of remote work is more straightforward than it sounds. The team at Purr is no stranger to remote work, and we have been able to run efficient and healthy business operations thanks to three essential steps:
VPN: Keeping your data private is an absolute must, especially if you decide to venture away from home and into the world of coffee shops (or similar). That’s why a VPN is so important: with it, your current work projects are protected from hackers by the VPN’s encryption, for a few pounds a month.
Some company setups will allow the company’s IT team to create a VPN for you. This secure tunnel would then give you the encrypted access you need to the vital files stored on your office network, which allows you to set up shop anywhere, with peace of mind.
Some of our clients take extra security measures to lock down systems like servers and databases by only allowing access from specific IP addresses. For this reason, Purr uses static IP addresses (an IP address that does not change) with our VPN to solve this problem and provide login access to everyone in the team, so when they connect to the VPN, their IP address will now become the static IP. This means that when a team member is not in the office, they can access the restricted systems wherever they are in the world.
Time tracking: Maybe you’re on a contract in which case this last point doesn’t apply to you. But if you work by the hour, time tracking software is a piece of software (typically, a desktop/mobile app) that tracks the time, workforce, and resources spent on a particular task (tasks) by an employee or a group of employees. This will help you analyse the profitability and efficiency of projects, employees and teams working remotely. Our recommendation is Harvest, which allows you to track time in whatever way is most comfortable for you.
Business management software: You and your team need to be able to communicate and handle tasks efficiently, and always be on the same page. Using software that allows you to do that is god-sent. It will enable all systems to communicate simultaneously, creating, editing and managing data across the whole stack, and centralising data under one roof to produce reports that make sense and don’t take all year to generate. Since we develop custom software for so many of our clients, we created a platform for ourselves to manage internal operations and reporting.
Purrple has allowed us to monitor performance of our jobs in operational and financial terms, and then optimise the business around these findings.
Using software that is bespoke to your company’s needs will help unify your business as a whole. Looking into staff behaviour, how they interact with software and operations, and moulding every tool available to improve your teams’ efficiency, is of real benefit in a remote working setup.
Being proactive in setting up systems and processes that allow remote work will prepare your team in different situations like offices closing temporarily or, like in 2020, the Covid-19 outbreak.
Using tools that have been created specifically for your company’s needs will unify your team’s communications and efforts to continue operating seamlessly.
This approach will help your business differentiate itself from similar companies. The proper application of tech will allow you to stay relevant to existing and new customers in any given situation.
The implementation of all these will help resonate across your team and give you an advantage over your competitors.
Get in touch
Either contact us using the details below, or fill out this form to send your message. If you’ve got a brief ready then attach that too. We’ll get back to you as soon as possible. firstname.lastname@example.org+44 (0) 20 3137 5612
86-90 Paul Street,
London EC2A 4NE