By Jamie Goral, award-winning business coach at ActionCOACH
Whilst the appeal of working from home is beginning to wear off for many people, for some it might be the way of the future. And that’s not to mention the companies that are downsizing offices or getting rid of them entirely in response to the pandemic. After a 2020 survey revealed the number one cause of stress* in the workplace is due to office politics, remote working could soon be the norm for many companies.
That very same survey revealed working from home policies and flexible work hours would help respondents bust any feelings of stress. I support many business owners across London and the most common questions recently being asked are about how to run a great business with staff working from home.
Agile working seems to be the future. Whilst companies are recognising the potential benefits of adopting this, including less expenditure on office space and furniture, they are also asking how to still maintain that work culture and atmosphere which helps everyone to operate at their very best. It’s important to consider each side of the argument and figure out what’s best for your team.
Here are just a handful of the benefits of a remote working strategy, supporting those who have opted for working from home, and helping those sitting on the fence to ultimately make a decision.
Productivity. It’s an obstacle that many business owners had to face during the last year – how to keep the team productive whilst working from home. The truth of the matter is, for the most part, companies have continued to be just as productive, if not more, during this time. Employees are not required to take half an hour out for a proposed 10-minute meeting that ends up running over its time. Instead, they can attend virtually and get on with things as soon as it’s wrapped up.
If you’ve seen a spike in productivity during the pandemic, reward employees with the opportunity to create their own working situation. With regular reviews in place, they will continue to be just as productive in the future.
Unlimited pool of talent. If you’re only ever recruiting from the pool of workers who live within commutable distance of the office, then you could be missing out on the best person for the job. With remote working, you can tap into a global pool of talent, giving you unlimited potential for employing the best of the best. Your recruitment knows no boundaries, which helps to increase your chances of building the best team around you.
Focus on communication. At the beginning of the pandemic, the shift to communicating virtually felt very strange. But a year later and many of us, I’m sure you’d agree, couldn’t imagine anything different. In fact, this transition has been influential in many ways, including a reduction of time-wasting with office politics (remember, this was the main reason people got stressed at work) and implementing software that has helped make the discourse as streamlined as possible. It also encourages better communication as people learn to talk to who they need to, when they need to.
Loyalty. With employers demonstrating they trust their teams by offering home working options, staff will feel more secure in their jobs, meaning employee retention will be directly affected. This builds a relationship that includes mutual respect between the two parties, leading to loyalty for the company. I could write a book about the cost of new hires and training to a business! So, building loyalty and retaining staff is a great long-term strategy to save costs.
As businesses begin to move towards this entirely different way of working without being forced to do so by a pandemic, it’s about evolving with the times and offering a desirable work situation for both existing and future employees. Working to get the balance right is probably the hardest step in this transition but, once in place, you’ll be reaping the rewards for years to come.
My advice is to engage your whole team in discussions at the earliest opportunity – it’s always better to take your team on the journey with you, even when it starts from home.
* Perkbox, The 2020 UK workplace stress survey, 2020.