Employers and employees were affected significantly by the Covid-19 pandemic in both positive and negative ways. Working from home became a necessity and businesses were forced to adapt their working practice to be able to thrive.
“What we’ve learnt from this past year,” says Richard Entecott, Director of Document Options which specialises in helping businesses become more productive, “is that companies who utilised cloud-based systems have been able to operate largely uninterrupted and those who still relied heavily on paper or internal systems struggled to overcome a range of issues”.
Clearly, businesses that were able to embrace digital technologies and offer remote working have been able to be more successful. And yet, it was commonly claimed prior to the pandemic that remote working was a benefit that many employees would have preferred even to a pay rise.
However, now that remote working is considered a more normal option – it’s worth asking: is remote working actually a benefit for employees or employers? Here we take a closer look at the arguments for both and establish who benefits most from remote working.
Benefits of remote work for employees
The concept of remote working has undeniably been popular for a long time. With the pressures of commuting and the distractions in the workplace, it is potentially possible for employees to get more done and feel better at the end of the day. Some of the major benefits of remote working for employees include:
- Saving money – undoubtedly one of the most positive aspects of remote working for employees who have always had to commute is the potential for saving money. Travel is expensive – whether you drive or take public transport – but it’s the only cost involved with work. Lunch, professional clothes, coffee, snacks, and much more can add up quickly.
- Saving time – a report found that those working remotely over the Covid-19 pandemic saved an average of 49.6 minutes per day. Commuting once again certainly is responsible for the brunt of this time saving, but there are also other factors to consider. Actual time spent at work is made more productive with fewer meetings and distractions.
- A quieter working environment – having just mentioned distractions, it should also be noted that remote working typically offers a quieter working environment that can be a big benefit for those workers who prefer to get their heads down and just get on with their job.
- Greater flexibility – freedom and flexibility are often cited as key benefits from the perspective of employees. Being able to plan work around their day rather than the other way around can just make life a lot easier.
- A better work/life balance – 61% of workers report an improved work/life balance as a result of working at home. Of course, this does depend on the individual, and it can also be possible that working at home creates a situation where the distinction between home-life and work-life becomes blurred.
Benefits of remote work for employers
Allowing staff to work remotely can have a range of benefits for employers too. It goes beyond the potential improvements in productivity and efficiency; remote working can legitimately influence the bottom line of a business and even provide it with better growth potential. Some of the benefits of remote work for employers include:
- Larger talent pool – when employers insist that staff work in their office they are limiting the potential talent tool they can hire from. Being open to hiring entirely remote staff provides companies with the chance to employ the best talent from anywhere in the world. This can not only make it easier to find the perfect team, but it can also potentially reduce a company’s wage bill, as it is no longer limited in the candidates it can hire.
- Save space (and money) – it is certainly the case that office space remains a significant expense for businesses. This is especially true for growing businesses that may need to regularly upsize their workspace to accommodate the growth. However, hiring remote workers actually allows companies to hire without adding to the amount of space needed. Ultimately, this can reduce overheads with regard to office costs.
- Better productivity – as we have mentioned earlier, remote working is a popular benefit for staff – it is something many are interested in. Making this possible for staff can be a big boost for morale, and this can lead to higher levels of productivity.
- Reduce absenteeism – research by Gallup indicates that higher levels of engagement as a result of working remotely led to 41% lower absenteeism – this feeds back into better productivity and efficiency for a business.
Beneficial to both
Ultimately, it is clear to see that remote working can actually benefit both employees and employers, and as such it is not surprising that levels of remote working are set to rise in the coming years.