27 May 2020
Remote working is the new normal (part one)
Who could have guessed the day that offices were abandoned and streets left desolate would be a day in our lifetime. This feels and reads like the stuff of dystopian novels and films, not of what’s happening outside our doors, even though it is now our reality. There’s no evil overlord in this story, just one virus that will shift the way we live, work, communicate and interact forever.
While some industries suffered, many have shone through, highlighting the many services that often go ignored but keep our countries moving along, even in times of crisis. Never before have we appreciated our bin men, supermarket shelf stackers and delivery drivers like we do now. However, many industries, particularly online retail have soured even though they are not classed as an essential item, which has a positive impact on the economy, keeping more people in work, and reducing the impact of a pandemic-induced recession. As businesses transition from office to home bases, organisations are now looking at methods that will help support a reduced office workforce, massively slashing overheads.
Save money working from home? Yes please.
One of the many ways that businesses can benefit from work from home initiatives is office space reductions, which will impact your business financially by not needing the full staff in-house every day. Imagine having an office half the size of your current one but still having a massive team. Having an office day roster where staff come in to work on rotations not only helps your bottom line but also has a positive impact on employee productivity and the environment. This makes your business much more attractive and can reduce your employee turnover rate. The added bonus is your team members will benefit financially from this as well, since they do not have to commute to the office every day, giving them extra cash without the business losing any. From this perspective, working remotely is a win-win situation financially.
Establish the ranks and stages
As with any human resource strategy, you have to establish your staff tiers and your business requirements. You have your locally based staff members, who live within daily commuting distance, and these people traditionally make up the bulk of your workforce. With a remote working model, these staff members can come to the office 2 or 3 days a week, and work between the office and home, reducing the need for a large office space. If you had 20 locally based employees, you’ll only need a space for ten of them with a reduced office working model, cutting your business’s real estate requirement by 50%. They are working partially from home, and have to report back to the office weekly or multiple times per week. This gives your business some control over where they are with projects and deadlines, giving them enough freedom to be independent yet still sticking to the business’ schedules.
The next tier are your completely remote workers who all operate in the same timezone, and do not report to a physical office. This tier can be company-wide when your business is truly remote, and also be included in your disaster recovery plan, should another natural disaster like COVID-19 happen in the future. The benefit of a full remote team is reducing overheads and increasing productivity, with an option of becoming project or task focused rather than time focused. Remote working can have two time options, standard (like 9am to 5pm), or fully time flexible except for booked meetings. The standard time option allows for your team to be more structured, and works well with teams that need to be online together. Fully flexible structures allow for team members to work to deadlines, rather than strict hours, allowing them to work when they have productivity spikes, rather than within restricted hours.
Stay tuned for part two of this article, which will cover software, productivity and opening your business to the global stage.
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