It is tempting in a small business or start-up to have an “all hands on deck” mentality but the reality is that working from home can add more value to your company than a perfect attendance record up and down the employee roster.
Here are five reasons why.
1. Building Trust & Accountability
When a company entrusts its employees to get their work done from home, they are essentially saying, “We know you know how to do your job and don’t need us looking over your shoulder to do it.” This is a tremendously important message for employees to hear and it is one that they do not take lightly as an opportunity to squander time whilst no one is watching. Instead, they want to earn and maintain the trust they’ve been given with stellar work performance and visible metrics of success that demonstrate their seriousness about being accountable to the company.
2. Creating Higher Quality Office Time
If you laugh at the idea of quality time with your colleagues and employees, it might be an indication that your office is suffering from a certain level of fatigue with one another. Even the most collegial offices can grow tired of one another and the endless discussions and meetings that often seem to go over an hour past the intended time with half the action items achieved. When you have employees working remotely, everyone knows that their time in the office is precious and will be ready to bring their personal bests to both formal and informal engagements with their colleagues. No more mind-numbing presentations or hollow small-talk at the water cooler. Employees that see one another less frequently will be more excited to catch up in person and will be more able to appreciate the value that their colleagues are adding when they do engage in person.
3. Developing Talent Diversity
The fewer geographical and demographic limitations your company has, the more quality candidates you can pull in from around the globe if you so desire. You can expand as near or as far as will fit your company’s, with some opting to keep employees only in the immediate vicinity of the primary office so that employees can come in at least a few times weekly and others employing a global workforce whose faces they’ll only see via Skype. It will depend on what your company can handle, of course, but giving opportunities to workers that might not otherwise be able to be present in the office adds real value. Maybe there’s a brilliant accountant who happens to need to be home with his children three days a week. Maybe the best coder for your website performs her best work from the comfort of her own home. The list of opportunities missed by having everyone present during work hours everyday is virtually endless.
4. Saving Money & Time
Stop for a moment and think of how much your company spends on property and utilities in a given month. Consider the possibility that half of that cost could be eliminated if you allowed people whose jobs don’t require regular face-to-face meetings to work from home. Then take a moment to think of how much time is spent getting your entire team to work its ways into an all-staff meeting or for everyone to clear out of the office at night so that the office manager can go home. Having fewer bodies in the office decongests both your company’s bills and the lines at the coffeemaker, and that all leads to lower costs and fewer headaches.
5. Launching a Culture of Innovation
In the absence of the traditional and formal lines of communication and collaboration, you and your team will have to innovate and discover new ways of doing business. Perhaps that means investing in a new cloud-computing program that makes file-sharing easier. It could be a reevaluation of how calls are conducted. There are loads of ways that working in different places is going to make the initial stages of a flexible workplace a challenge. But that challenge is actually an opportunity to discover new ways of thinking about your business, propelling it into the future both with the technology it employs and the way it understands the diverse human experiences within the company.
If remote working is something that you are considering in your business, talk to an HR Consultant. We can help make this process seamless, by ensuring you have considered and covered all the practical issues i.e. insurances, security, the contractual changes that need to be undertaken, as well as your Health & Safety obligations i.e. home risk assessments.
Author: Andy Selway MCIPD, HR Consultant