Ever since the internet became ubiquitous, there have been predictions that remote working will become the new normal for desk jobs.
So far this has not happened to the extent that might have been predicted. A recent Microsoft sponsored survey showed that while 60% of employees reported that they could do their jobs remotely, 73% reported that their firms did not have a formal remote working policy and only 14% reported that their firms were fully supportive of remote working.
So, what are the advantages of working remotely?
Cost: ‘Going virtual’ can save a lot of money. There is significant variation by industry and location, but office rental and related overheads in the UK generally account for anywhere between 10% to 20% of business costs. This argument has been applied on behalf of taxpayers too: More than one political commentator has argued that in these days of accessible video calling and file sharing, the requirement to send MP’s to Westminster or Congress members to Washington is obsolete.
Colleague satisfaction: The Microsoft survey reported that 73% of staff preferred to work from home
Productivity: The Microsoft survey reported that 52% of staff said they were more productive when working remotely and 44% said there were fewer distractions when working away from the office.
In comparison, what are the advantages of working in an office?
Prestige: Depending on location, an office located in a major city adds gravitas to a business, which can positively influence clients in selecting them.
Effectiveness: As a colliery to what the Microsoft survey reported, remote working is only effective when it is done within a framework, which 73% of firms reportedly don’t have. This may explain why only 14% of staff surveyed said that their firms were supportive of remote working – most firms don’t have the means (or the inclination) to manage remote workers effectively.
Communication: Remote working can make it more difficult to maintain effective communication between colleagues. 44% of those surveyed who worked remotely, or worked with people who did so, reported that they didn’t like not being able to speak to colleagues face to face, which can reduce the effectives of communication by more than 50% (see our earlier article). 29% reported that they found it difficult to communicate with their colleagues who work remotely.
Vallum will shortly be releasing our guide to effective remote working, and we would love to hear your thoughts, please contact us on LinkedIn or at [email protected] .