The freedom to work from anywhere is in high demand. Top-quality candidates crave job flexibility to improve their work-life balance, save money and gain greater autonomy.
Is this a good thing for business? We’ll answer this question as we look at the potential benefits of having a mobile workforce – from cost savings and increased productivity to happier employees!
Then we’ll figure out what you need to do to avoid the pitfalls of going virtual.
Pro: Employees Like Working For You More
When employees work remotely, their happiness levels can skyrocket.
Recent worker statistics support this. For example, Michele Debczak from Mental Floss reports that, based on a 1-to-10 scale, remote workers rank their happiness in their job at an average of 8.1. Why so high?
Remote working can be as satisfying as a full night’s sleep. Digital nomads can say “goodbye” to daily drives during rush hour, painfully early starts and tiring late finishes because of work.
Lower stress levels equal happier staff. The benefit for your business is a boost in productivity which can lead to company growth and improved revenue.
Con: Professional Procrastination
One snare of flexible working is that people are not always great at managing themselves. Especially when they work from home, it’s easy to get distracted by a cuddly cat or a trending Netflix show.
If you want to reap the benefits of a work anywhere culture, you need to make sure your staff are working and not taking advantage of your flexibility.
Combat this with project management tools like Slack, Trello or Asana. They make monitoring performance a cakewalk, giving you a high-level view of your remote workers’ daily tasks so you can ensure they’re 100% proactive away from their desks.
Also, consider Toggl or Harvest for easy and accurate time-tracking – essential tools if you bill by the hour. They additionally provide comprehensive reports on time spent on projects or tasks so you can spot opportunities to drive efficiency.
Pro: Collaborate Seamlessly From Anywhere
The perk of virtual communication is that it’s often more thorough than in-person chit-chat. When away from our desks, it takes more effort to spark discussions. So we converse only when necessary via email or phone and this can elevate productivity.
ConnectSolutions demonstrated how its remote employees have supercharged efficiency. After surveying its own team, it found that “77% reported greater productivity” while working remotely.
The best software to enable remote collaboration are platforms like Skype and Microsoft Teams. At the click of a button, employees can share screens, discuss projects face-to-face, resolve problems and deliver training virtually.
Con: A Diluted Culture
Without a buzzing office environment, you risk draining your culture of character. This is just plain bad for business as Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, surmises:
“The only competitive advantage we have is the culture and values of the company.”
But Mark Bosma, vice president of sales at Toptal, advises how going virtual is an opportunity to build something brilliant:
“The unique challenges of managing a distributed team can incentivize the creation of a stronger culture than those that operate face-to-face.”
Bosma is right. For example, going virtual probably means you have staff you can trust to be autonomous. In this sense, your employees become more independent and more individual – translate this into your culture to emphasize innovation, quality of service and personalisation, helping you stand out.
Pro: Substantial Cost Savings
With teams that no longer work in-house, you don’t need to pay for expensive office bills or rent. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics found that every year employers can actually save over £8,500 per half-time telecommuter.
Plus, recent studies show that UK businesses lose £100m per year due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety. Because mobile working creates a better work-life balance, typically employees experience better mental health – stress is reduced and they have more time to take care of themselves. This equals fewer sick days and lost revenue.
Con: Additional Spends
Co-working spaces, internet security software, mobiles, better internet, travel expenses … getting the most out of remote working and making sure employees can work securely costs money.
Whether you go all out depends on your budget. You can cut down these costs by asking employees to work from home, for instance. Or installing security software on personal laptops instead of investing in new devices.
The long-term cost savings of remote working can also curtail one-off outlays (like new equipment) – remember this when you plan your budget.
Remote Work is Trending for a Reason
You can save money, increase employee happiness, boost productivity and enable fluid collaboration through a mobile workforce. Even small changes, like allowing employees to work from home part-time, can result in substantial benefits.
Your turn. How do you feel about the digital nomad lifestyle? Has it already benefited your business? We’d love to hear from you, so please send us your thoughts on Twitter!