Whatever the circumstances for remote working, whether it’s an active choice or a reaction to events beyond our control, it can bring benefits for individuals and for businesses.
So, what do we mean by remote working?
Remote working simply means working from a location outside of the physical premises of the business. It links with the idea of flexible working, giving employees flexibility over the location and timing of their work. Flexible working can be defined as ‘a way of working that suits an employee’s needs, for example having a flexible start and finish time, or working from home’.
In recent years, remote working has become increasingly popular as technology has improved and facilitated a more flexible way of working. The Office of National Statistics reported that the number of workers working remotely in 2015 was 4.2 million and numbers have increased since.
In addition, it can be a means of ensuring business continuity in times of need or when a disaster occurs. As part of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), businesses will have outlined how they will continue to function due to disruption or unforeseen events and the steps that can be taken to minimise the impact of these events. Remote working can be a key part of an organisation’s BCP.
What systems and tools are required?
Employees require enough internet connectivity at home, or alternatively, through flexible data plans if not. If your business’ IT infrastructure is cloud based, your employees will be able to access systems and files as normal, wherever they are working. Working in the cloud allows workers to work from home and seamlessly access shared data, files and information.
Communication is also key, and IT can play a fundamental part in facilitating effective communication between remote workers. This can help them to work collaboratively as well as minimising feelings of isolation.
Cloud based VOIP telephony systems mean that workers can take their extension with them wherever they are working, so that they won’t need to share the personal contact details and can maintain productivity as work can take place from any location. These systems also provide a simple management system and can offer significant cost savings for a business, when compared with traditional telephone systems.
These systems also offer facilities such as easy to use video and call conferencing, helping workers stay in touch with business stakeholders such as customers, as well as improving internal communications to keep projects on track.
To aid collaboration and team working on projects, there are a wealth of software tools available to give teams a platform to communicate, be productive and engaged. These can be chosen according to the organisation’s needs and are easy to use and add into an organisation’s process and way of working.
Benefits of remote working
So, we’ve covered what remote working is and what systems and tools are needed to implement it, but what about the benefits it can bring?
- Reduce time wastage
It is estimated that, by 2030, the UK will lose £300 billion due to time spent in traffic. Remote working means this is greatly reduced. Eliminating long commutes to and from work improves well-being and productivity for workers.
- It’s no longer necessary to go into the office
The systems and tools we have already looked at mean that it is no longer necessary to go into an office to work. You can do everything at home that you can do in the office. Technology is improving all the time and making every aspect of our working lives easier.
- Greater work/life balance
Employees can have more control over how they spend their time when the approach to work is more flexible. They can still attend an appointment and juggle commitments so that they still commit to a full working day.
- Improved access to work
Greater flexibility means greater access to work for all kinds of people, which is why the TUC estimates that around 160,000 people with a disability work from home.
- Create your own environment
Many remote workers are more productive than those based in traditional office settings. They can wear clothes they feel at ease in, play music that helps to channel creativity or aid concentration – creating their ideal personal working environment. Obviously, within a traditional office environment, it is not possible for every worker to create the environment that is best suited to them as an individual.
- Increased productivity
Employees productivity can increase as they work from home, no longer being distracted by what is going on in the office, or not being interrupted by colleagues. Many workers also enjoy the break form office politics and not having to commute can decrease stress levels and improve wellness. All these factors mean workers can achieve higher standards and be more productive when working from home or remotely.
Aztek supports many businesses across Cornwall with remote working solutions. Visit our website aztek.co.uk to get a 7 DAY FREE TRIAL, or give us a call on 01209 712816 and we’ll help you get up and running in no time. We’re friendly people, and ready to help.