After the UK Government’s instruction to work from home swathes of people will find themselves grappling with the prospect of remote working. Understanding the benefits and overcoming the potential difficulties of this will be important to employer and employee alike, as we all endeavour to keep productivity up and try to minimise the disruption to businesses and our lives.
Remote working is becoming increasingly common and can be an extremely effective measure for saving money for both businesses and workers. Employees who work from home often enjoy much higher levels of job satisfaction, it can also be a significant pull factor with businesses who utilise remote working often reporting higher levels of staff retention.
This article outlines the benefits and suggests ways of overcoming potential difficulties of remote working, which will be a reality for possibly months to come as we combat the spread of COVID-19.
It saves time and money!
The cost of the dreaded commute, particularly in London, is a major financial hit to workers. According to a recent survey, the average UK worker in London will spend £200,000 in their working life on transport to and from work, remote working completely eliminates this cost enabling this significant amount of money to be spent on something more beneficial to the wellbeing of employees. Allowing an employee to work from home in effect therefore amounts to a pay rise of £3660 a year, which can be a significant pull and retention factor in a competitive job market.
There is also the issue of time, the average commute time for Londoners now stands at 81 minutes, this time would be much better spent exploring personal interests or leisure. While this may sound an insignificant replacement, there is a strong positive effect on job satisfaction with more time afforded for personal development by employees. There are also major benefits for employers by this measure, as increased job satisfaction is linked to increased productivity, so may even result in a more successful business where remote working is promoted.
You will be healthier
A good way to utilise this new time available to you would be to exercise or meditate, both of which are proven to benefit your mental and physical wellbeing. It is important after a long day’s hard work to de-stress by using the hour you would usually spend on a busy,
cramped tube or bus to go for a jog or take a moment to reflect on your day. Employers will again benefit as a happier workforce is proven to result in higher productivity and staff retention.
The pitfalls – daily routine
Commuting daily into an office results in a daily routine which many people find comforting and indeed a sense of security, remote working removes this however there are simple steps to take to replicate this: It is important to try to get up at a certain time every morning and to get dressed as if you are ready for work in an office. This sense of routine can be important for the mental wellbeing of employees. It is also a good idea to take regular breaks and a lunch break at a set time each day, even though you are working from home does not stop you from pretending you are in an office!
For employers, the reduced face-to-face contact with staff can mean it is harder to track performance and ensure employee development, however, regular meetings via video or phone calls and clear, concise performance targets can ensure that businesses remain healthy and often result in increased business performance upon the introduction of remote working. Remote working also promotes more efficient usage of time for employers, allowing more focus and attention to be dedicated to more pressing issues at hand, with performance tracking being streamlined by video calls and conferences.
Remote working is becoming more and more common and popular in the workplace, with many employers realising the potential benefits of allowing employees to work from home.
The Graduate Project already explores remote working opportunities where possible and with this current COVID-19 crisis, it would not be surprising to see a permanent increased incidence of this across UK employers in the years to come.