Surveys clearly show that employees want to continue working remotely
A recent study by Cardiff University and the University of Southampton, said 88% of employees who worked at home during lockdown would like to continue doing so in some capacity, with 47% wanting to do so often or all the time. The same study indicated that those working from home for the majority of their working week, who have probably adapted best, felt they were getting much more work done.
What single change can cut costs, lower risks, boost productivity and make employees happy?
For companies remote working should be pretty close to a no-brainer:
- Costs savings. Remote working means huge savings in office rents, heating and lighting, maintenance, cleaning, waste collection etc.
- Reduced risk and resulting cost savings. Remote working comes with in-built resilience virtually for free as COVID-19 has proved. Many larger companies may as a result be able to scale back their disaster recovery/business continuity provisions. Emergency office space with computers on warm standby provided by DR companies may become a thing of the past.
- Improved productivity. As mentioned earlier, companies are likely to see productivity improvements from their employees.
- Hire the best staff. Employers gain the flexibility to employ the best talents wherever they live without having to finance relocation or potentially obtain work permits.
- Have a happier team. Many surveys including those from Cardiff University and the University of Southampton and the University of Birmingham and University of Kent are indicating that employees are in the main happier working remotely.
The potential for home working is immense, what other change could be capable of making employees happier, drastically reducing costs and increasing productivity?
These gains don’t come for free – you need to work hard to make it all work
However to reap all of these potential gains, it is vital that companies do this right and re-organise for home working, not just continue the same processes but remotely. Communication strategies need to be worked on, employees looked after and helped to overcome issues like loneliness and anxiety with attention paid to their home office working environment. The right collaboration tools need to be put in place. Staff at all levels need to be trained to support the ‘new normal’ and strategies devised to help people who are unable or unwilling to adapt to this way of work.
Gren Gale is an author and consultant