Should You Permit Regular Telecommuting for Your Staff?

During the initial years of 2023, many businesses were forced to adopt remote working, partially or fully, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result, concerns arose around the potential decline in productivity, ability of employees to focus amidst other household members engaged in work or study, and the impact on the quality of customer service.

Post an extended duration of eighteen months, businesses have dedicated time and resources towards refining their remote working protocols. Consequently, a significant number of organisations have encountered a favourable transition to remote working. With declining COVID-19 cases and widespread vaccinations, corporate heads are contemplating the feasibility of offering remote working as a permanent accommodation.

There can be no concrete response to this question due to the variances in the necessities of each business. Nevertheless, studies demonstrate that remote working can engender sustained employee productivity, among other associated advantages. Thus, it is crucial to assess the subsequent factors before arriving at a conclusion.

Financial Benefits

Remote working arrangements can prove advantageous to businesses in three primary aspects. Firstly, there is a chance to save costs by eliminating the need for office space if meetings are infrequent. Furthermore, a reduced office footprint can also yield benefits. Ultimately, these boons can augment an organisation’s profitability.

The resulting cost-cutting may also enable businesses to offer reduced prices to their customers, thereby potentially encouraging additional purchases, both in the present and in the future.

Thirdly, sales agents have acknowledged the ability to meet more clients per week or day as compared to travelling physically between locations. Given that all leads may not translate into sales, maximising customer visits becomes crucial. This can ultimately augment sales and revenue when meetings are conducted online.

Efficient Management

Organisations seeking to enforce a permanent remote working policy must ensure that their managers are capable of dealing with the unique challenges associated with managing a distributed workforce. A useful reference for managing such a workforce can be found in a recent article featured on the Works blog.

  • Effective communication is critical:

    Keep track of recurring projects and concerns through frequent meetings on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
  • Prevent false expectations:

    Remote employees must have a comprehensive understanding of the team’s goals and their contribution towards achieving them.
  • Provide essential resources and support:

    Remote employees’ efficiency is closely connected to their managers’ provision of necessary resources.
  • Ensure organisation:

    The optimal utilisation of resources can significantly enhance a team’s productivity.
  • Lead by example:

    Supervising remote working arrangements can be fraught with challenges. Nevertheless, it is essential for managers to retain a positive outlook and stay committed to their goals.
  • Put simply, have fun:

    It is equally necessary to find opportunities for non-work related online engagement as it is in a physical workspace.

Ways to Boost Employee Satisfaction

Here are some advantages that employees can experience with the WFH model:

  • Remote employment can lower the risk of being in close proximity to possibly infectious individuals, which can lessen concerns about contracting or spreading the virus, especially for those who have yet to receive the vaccine.
  • Compared to a typical office setting, working remotely has experienced a surge in popularity due to the relaxed and flexible atmosphere it provides. Additionally, employees can personalise their work area according to their own preferences, rather than being limited by the company’s on-site regulations.
  • By reducing expenditures on items such as transportation, dining out, and clothing, employees can save hundreds of dollars per year.

Enhancing Emotional and Mental Wellbeing

Studies have demonstrated that remote employment can have favourable impacts on employees’ psychological wellbeing since they can allocate more time to engaging in leisure activities or spending time with family, which would have been occupied by the commute if not for WFH. Moreover, they can appreciate the calming company of their pets without disruptions from the office environment.

Adapting to remote employment may be challenging for individuals who are accustomed to collaborating in a team environment and may feel isolated due to the absence of social interactions. Lack of social engagement can affect productivity, especially for more outgoing individuals. Additionally, there may be fears about limited access to mentors and supervisors, which could obstruct career progression. As a result, companies should contemplate adopting a flexible work arrangement that provides employees with the freedom to choose their workplace.

Differential Strength Rating

The hybrid model provides an alternative for striking a work-life balance by blending remote work with standard office hours. Under this arrangement, team members are required to be onsite on specific days of the week for client meetings, company-wide gatherings, and project collaboration.

In light of the persisting health concerns, businesses following a mixed-strength work model may want to contemplate implementing additional measures such as enforcing mask-wearing, vaccination mandates, conducting periodic COVID testing, and providing air purifiers, hygiene stations, and touchless entry systems. For more information on the hybrid work model, please view the linked video.

Accessing a Wider Range of Prospective Employees

One significant benefit of remote work is that businesses can now access a larger talent pool from around the globe. Previously, companies may have encountered limitations with local talent availability. However, through implementing a remote work model, employers can discover individuals with the requisite skill set and expertise to enrich their products and services. This can also help those who have faced difficulties in securing employment in their vicinity to find more fitting job opportunities, thereby raising job contentment.

According to a News Daily article, companies can reap the advantages of hiring individuals with disabilities, single parents, and those lacking transportation. With the suitable employees, businesses can anticipate enhanced output, elevated competence, and augmented profitability.

Associated Read: The Obstacle of COVID-19: Assessing Employee Efficiency under Work-From-Home Conditions

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