Why Remote Working Could Help Your Business Thrive
Remote working has been growing in popularity since 2012, and many businesses are expected to have at least over half of their workforce working remote by 2020. Which, really is not too far in the future.
As we, here at Cone have remote workers, we wanted to touch on why we have done this and to tackle some of the cons we have heard in the press.
Although for some businesses, there will always be a need for someone in their physical location (like a shop) there are many elements and departments of the company that could go remote.
Let's start by addressing and tackling the cons.
Harder To Monitor
Employers and business owners number one concern tends to be how they monitor their employees work. Now, this does depend on the industry you are in and the size of your company.
But there are numerous tools and software to help you do this.
Although there is another element to address here. People can fall 'under the radar' even when they do work from the office. If you have someone who doesn't want to work, they will find a way not to whether they work from home or not.
The most important element to monitoring your employees is almost to do the opposite. You cannot micromanage remote working staff, checking in every second and making sure work is being done.
It takes a lot of trust to do this, and your employees will feel empowered as a result. This usually yields better performance, morale and company culture.
The key factor that this comes back to is hiring the right people.
Harder To Hire
Like I have just mentioned. Remote workers can be harder to hire. Yes, there is the element of logistical meetings and making sure you get the right vibe, but with the modern technology available such as Zoom and Skype this does not need to be a problem.
Alternatively, you can do the interviews in person at the final stages of the process if you really want to.
We would recommend having a robust interview strategy. If you can try and add something that can help you determine their level.
For example, we have a dummy set of accounts that has mistakes in it. We ask our candidate to spot the errors. This gives us an understanding of their level and their thought process.
We also have a fun questionnaire with some questions about their favourite food, shows, hobbies and so on to get a feel for the type of person they are.
Harder to Train
Here at Cone we have an induction training period that allows us to build team rapport before the person goes remote.
Training is essential in any role but probably more so when remote working is the case.
There are so many platforms and tools such as 'Slack' that can help.
Harder to Track Progress
Again there are so many tools that can help you check in and review.
Core working hours is an excellent solution to this. Similar to that of flexible working, core working hours ensure that the employees are available when they need to be.
Now it does depend on the size of your team.
But for us, our clients are assigned a point of contact, so we do enforce core working hours for this reason.
When people are not coming into work each day, this can mean that the team bonding can suffer.
But again, there are lots of ways you can overcome this. Companies like Mailerlite go on bi-annual trips away together, and others like ours do monthly or quarterly activity meetups.
Having a group messenger on Whatsapp or Slack is also a good option. It allows the team chats to happen!
Hiring Pool Opens Up
Yes, there are cons to hiring as we have mentioned, but there are a lot of pros too. You can ensure you get the right person instead of the person that is available in your area at the time.
Employees are happier as they get to design their own day.
They get to plan their own day. Which means their time management skills are being used and strengthened. Remote working is not for everyone though so be open and honest about the opportunity when it arises.
Employees Feel Trusted
Like any relationship, trust is required for it to work. You need to trust that that new employee is going to help you, whether that is to manage the workload or to make sales. There is even more trust when it comes to remote working, but this can work in your favour. When people feel valued and trusted they are more likely to want to do well for you.
Serve Clients Better
When your employee only has a set amount of jobs to do and a certain amount of clients they give their clients all of their attention.
They only get calls and correspondence regarding their clients which means the focus is totally on them.
Some people opt for an office even if all of their employees are remote. But if you don't do this, or your team is not big enough to warrant it, or your team is not interested in an office at all it can save you the money of purchasing or renting an office and the money to power it.
Free's Up Your Time
Even if you do plan your day, there is an element of obligation to go into the office. This is not the case when you have remote workers; it's easy for you to check in with them, anywhere you may be.
We hope that we have addressed the cons and explained the pros well enough for you. We are totally for remote working, and although it may not work or be an option for everyone but anything that can help the wellbeing of you, your employees and your clients is seriously something worth thinking about.
About the author
Ben Nacca is an accountant but is nothing like the stereotype you have visualised in your mind! He has worked in the accounting industry for almost a decade and is CEO here at Cone.
Ben loves travelling the world, playing video games and playing his acoustic guitar whenever he finds the time between spending time with his two chihuahuas, Hugo and Pablo!