The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many companies to implement remote work policies due to work from home mandates, thereby opening the eyes of many to the newly discovered benefits. However, with all the focus on the pandemic, will employers recognize the many other reasons and benefits for supporting remote work and flexible hours?
Let’s take a step back and think about how remote work operates and where it is already proving beneficial for companies of diverse sizes.
- Improving business continuity protection
- Supporting a more diverse workforce
- Providing a benefit employees value
- Minimizing costs without harming operations
- Allowing companies to control downsizing and keep staff
The benefits tackle core areas of business need and functionality, showing how operations like yours can benefit in multiple ways through a single action.
1. Business Continuity and Security During Natural Disasters
Dispersed teams are naturally more resilient to physical disasters, whether they’re natural like hurricanes and floods, or local events such as fire and vandalism. Your operations are protected because localized events are less likely to impact an entire team, and your people are physically safer because they’re removed from the danger.
This is even true for illnesses as well. Being spread out limits the chance of being infected or infecting others.
Even better, a remote team may enhance your ability to continue operating during a disaster. Having remote policies and decentralized teams in place ahead of a potential disaster makes it easy for people to switch gears, work from home, and keep offering the services you need.
2. Expanding Your Talent Pool
Your company wants the best people for any position. Better salespeople generate more revenue, and the friendliest customer service agents protect your long-term relationships. Designers, engineers, IT, and other professionals at their peak give you an edge.
Don’t limit your chance to get the best people by forcing everyone into a commute or office setting. Supporting work-from-home policies expands your talent pool to those who don’t live in your area, as well as those who cannot make a commute or office environment work for them.
People with disabilities may also find it much easier to work from the comfort of their own home while providing you with excellent support. Allowing them to stay in environments where they’re most comfortable can also increase the value they bring to your organization.
Companies that allow remote work may also draw in people who don’t have transportation or aren’t comfortable on public transit. If these concerns don’t impact their ability to perform their duties, you benefit by being flexible enough to support unique needs from diverse candidates.
3. Giving Staff More Time with Family
Remote work can be a significant benefit to your team. A 2019 study from Staples found that 90% of employees say allowing for remote and flexible work increases their morale. Another study suggests that remote workers are less stressed, more productive, and take fewer sick days.
Working from home delivers specific benefits to your team, and events that result in disruption to how business is operated serve as a great reason to adopt well thought out remote work policies.
Implementing these policies can give your team more time at home with their families. Eliminating commute time allows employees to spend more time with their families before and after work. In addition, this could allow for even more family time during lunch breaks.
For families that have younger children who aren’t in school yet, remote work could be a massive benefit to them by allowing them to forgo expensive childcare.
Giving your employees the opportunity to tend to their family’s needs will result in reduced stress and make them happier and more productive.
4. Your Operations Happen Largely over the Phone
Allowing for remote work in businesses that deliver services and support over the phone can save a significant amount of money.
For example, many contact centers are adopting this new model of working and are experiencing many benefits. The first obvious benefit is saving on infrastructure costs and rent, but it’s also easier to ensure 24/7 support with remote teams around the world, or by simply scheduling multiple shifts if you want to keep it more regional.
Customer support teams are also experiencing the benefits from a work-from-anywhere model. If representatives have a stable internet connection a cloud phone system allows them to work all over the world. This allows for customers to always access the help they need and results in higher satisfaction.
For manufacturers, their sales departments and order management staff can deliver everything customers need to know over the phone, too. Sales can be run separately from manufacturing facilities, limiting the space needed for these departments. The bidding and request for proposal (RFP) processes are now predominantly done online or over the phone, meaning these companies won’t lose out on business opportunities even if staff goes remote.
One of your customer’s favorite benefits will be the reduction in background noise when you move people from call centers to their own homes. Working with the right technology consulting company can help you find the perfect solution that improves call quality while giving employees more benefits.
5.Making Downsizing Most Effective
Companies downsize for a variety of reasons, but that doesn’t mean they have to lay off a substantial portion of their staff.
Business leaders and researchers recommend that you explore a broad set of cost-reduction activities first. Moving to a four-day workweek, for example, has shown to reduce staff costs by 20% when done in areas of excess capacity.
The downsizing conversation is always a tricky subject but moving employees to work remotely is a great way to protect them and mitigate risks and efficiency losses due to impacted morale. You can cut overhead costs, employee supplies, and leased office space, saving significantly without reducing impacting your employees’ workload.
A recent survey of 500 CEOs and founders found that 60% say remote work had no negative impact on employee productivity, while 16% saw an increase due to allowing remote work. Two-thirds of those same leaders said they’re considering downsizing their office space, not their people.
If you need to cut costs, whether it’s related to external factors or other business events, consider ways to reduce your rent before you think about reducing headcount. Keeping the same operational capacity could make it easier for you to scale back up soon.
You can also reduce costs by moving your phone system to the cloud, and thereby reducing more overhead by eliminating hardware, expensive call plans, sip trunks and other associated costs.
Companies Can Start by Mixing in Remote Work
Work-from-home policies don’t have to be implemented immediately across all your teams. The best way to implement these policies would be to phase in the option, allowing people to start with some remote work as they evaluate its benefits.
If you want to offer this to your staff, it is essential is that you have the right preparation in place to ensure remote work is successful, beneficial, and secure.
There are many issues to consider, from disaster recovery and unified communications to managing a cloud contact center solution in a remote environment. We’re here to help point you in the right direction by learning more about your business and recommending a cloud platform that’s the right size and scope for you.
Contact us to start the process and learn what questions you need to be asking about working from home.
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