Remote Working | How Employees and Businesses Benefit
Updated: Oct 8, 2019
Remote working is fast becoming a lifestyle choice for millions of millennials. According to a 2019 survey, 66% of companies now actively encourage part and full-time remote work among employees. Of those, 16% are fully remote. As a result, colleagues can work together every day without ever meeting.
What is Remote Work and Telecommuting?
Remote working is sometimes confused with freelancing. This is particularly the case when companies go fully remote. However, the concept of remote work is entirely different from the concept of the so-called gig-economy.
Remote workers are fully salaried employees. However, remote working allows employees to adopt a working style which allows them to work from home, not in a traditional office space.
Largely enabled by mobile and wireless Internet technology, telecommuting allows workers to interact remotely with colleagues and company systems. In doing so, remote work gives rise to several employee benefits.
Remote Work Benefits for Employees
Hate Monday morning commuting? If so, you are not alone. However, remote working can mean that employees never have to commute to the office. This results in a variety of proven benefits.
- Remote work opportunities allow employees to save on commuting costs.
- Employees can save on housing costs by relocating to less expensive areas.
- Parents can save considerably on childcare costs by working from home and not needing to pay minders or nursery school fees.
Remote workers are often also more focused. This is thanks to the fact that employees can free themselves from everyday office distractions.
How Businesses Benefit When Employees Work Remotely
Employees being more focused on work naturally makes them more productive. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that businesses which embrace remote working often realize several financial benefits.
- Increased employee productivity results in faster project turnaround times and improved (virtual) office performance.
- A University of Illinois study has shown that remote work opportunities often make employees more eager to over-deliver when meeting deadlines.
- Promoting telecommuting allows companies to downsize physical office space and, therefore, reduce rent and utility costs.
Remote work and telecommuting also provide the added benefit of employees being healthier and happier. This reduces staff turnover, absenteeism, and overall HR costs.
Does Remote Working Benefit Every Business?
Remote IT jobs were the trigger for the remote working revolution. System administrators, developers, and IT security employees have been able to work remotely since the advent of the Internet. However, companies have been comparatively slow to promote remote working among other groups of employees.
Giving employees the opportunity to work anywhere, does improve efficiency, productivity, and employee well being. However, remote working also presents employers with several challenges.
- IT security departments have no way of ensuring that sensitive company data won’t be shared or compromised in a home working context.
- New data protection legislation like GDPR means that companies could face hefty fines if data breaches occur.
- Teams often aren’t as creative when remote working. This can result in temporary employee efficiency boosts being countered by longer-term innovation grinding to a halt.
Project management can also be difficult in remote working contexts. Businesses, therefore, often need to invest in the development of new forms of training, HR operating practices, and virtual productivity tools.
Because of the problems companies face when making remote working possible, most aren’t prepared to go fully remote. What many businesses are doing, though, is offering employees the opportunity to work remotely part-time. This alleviates some organizational challenges, while still allowing businesses and employees to experience the benefits of remote working.