Businesses large and small have begun to realise that allowing their employees to work remotely, at least some of the time, brings significant cost saving benefits to the enterprise and enhances the efficiency and work life balances of their staff.
A visit to a modern office building shows how employment patterns have changed over recent years. Gone are the rows of small offices marking out individual territories and personal possessions, replaced with groups of hot desks allowing staff to work flexibility, taking their laptop and paperwork away at the end of the day.
An increased focus on the detrimental health effects of sitting at a desk all day is convincing many forward thinking employees to supply standing desks and even treadmill desks for those staff members who are keen to meet their daily step count targets as well as perform their work duties effectively.
Fit, healthy and happy staff are generally more motivated, which aids retention and boosts productivity.
The benefits of working from home
It is interesting to see how large companies have not only shifted their attitudes about the office environment but are increasingly embracing the opportunities around home and remote working. It wasn’t many years ago when companies associated productivity with physical presence. You could only be working if you were seen to be in the office with your nose to the grindstone.
A good employee was a visible employee, in this, fortunately, outdated view.
Now, even once very traditional companies recognise the benefits of allowing their staff to work from home. Those hours spent commuting to the office can be used to promote a more healthy work-life balance, allowing more time with the family as well as keeping work motivation high with the improved staff retention and productivity benefits seen in the modern office environments.
Remote and home working also brings significant cost savings to large enterprises as it reduces the need for expensive city centre office space as well as enabling staff to move easily between locations, or even to be employed in different countries, perhaps with cheaper employment costs.
Small businesses benefit from remote working too
The typical “one man band” business often struggles with communicating with potential and existing customers, particularly if their work is undertaken on customer premises – a plumber or commercial photographer, for example.
This is where having a virtual landline number can bring significant benefits by presenting a professional approach to customers, without being tied to the office or employing someone to answer the phone.
Services like this allow you to divert an incoming call to a mobile phone so that the customer sees an appropriate local landline number, yet the business person could be receiving that call wherever they are. Calls can also be routed to different staff members via a virtual receptionist, providing a large company service from what is actually a small business.
It is services like these that allow small businesses to focus on what they are good at rather than spending time and investment money on office space and customer facing staff.
Remote working is here to stay
The technological advances and modern corporate thinking about staff working patterns, the environment that they will thrive in and their ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance is proving beneficial to the productivity and profitability of companies large and small. The ability for staff to work remotely, and for companies to recruit employees who live far from the office is benefiting all concerned and empowering small businesses with levels of customer service that belie their actual size.