More employees want to work remotely, and employers are beginning to recognise the benefits.
Increasingly we hear people discuss the importance of work/life balance which is no surprise as companies try to maximise performance, while improvements in technology have created around the clock accessibility for employees. It’s no wonder that people cite flexible working hours and remote working as important benefits to help them capitalise on their time. They do not want to be desk bound Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, which very often is counterproductive anyway to their working environment if dealing with different time zones, out of hours activity and such like, and importantly doesn’t allow for many daily life events and activities.
70% of employees say flexible/remote working would make a job more attractive to them.
Remote Working refers to any type of work that is performed outside of a traditional office or workplace. More and more people are choosing to work from home, if not every day then at least for part of their week, and some choose to work from co-working office spaces. This saves them valuable time as well as sparing them from commuting stress.
Currently there are 216,000 employees working remotely in Ireland and this figure is continually increasing. As we approach full employment, employers will need to look at ways to encourage staff retention and incentivise the on-boarding of new talent. The housing crisis is driving more people out of the cities and instead these people face a lengthy and costly commute.
Improvements in technology have made the employee more accessible wherever they are. Software that provides face to face meetings for multiple users in various locations, such as Skype which has become a normal part of any work day, saves a business on commute time and costs. Office365, Dropbox, SharePoint and many others allow employees the same access from a remote location as they would have in their office.
Abodoo is a new global platform, created by Irish couple Vanessa Tierney and Ben Wainwright, a technology company that is at the forefront of encouraging SmartWorking. In a recent interview with Silicon Republic, Vanessa Tierney is quoted as saying that “Dell, for example, has set a goal of having 50pc of its workforce working remotely by 2020. Cisco makes $277m annually in productivity savings by allowing remote working. And, here in Ireland, the likes of Shopify and Amazon all have substantial home-working teams.”
In a study conducted by YouGov, only 45% of employees said they get to work the hours that best suit them. Of employees that are offered flexible working hours, 82% said it made them feel more positive about their job, while 79% said it was a reason to stay with their employer for longer.
Two thirds of managers say that remote workers are more productive. 30% of remote workers say they work more efficiently due to fewer distractions. And 82% of remote workers reported lower stress levels. So, as this is a win situation for everyone, it’s a good idea for businesses who are not already allowing remote working to consider how to introduce it. Businesses save on overheads, fewer desks, space and resources being required.
The Irish Independent reported recently that Kefron who employ more than 150 people in Ireland and the UK have enhanced their data storage, security and remote working capabilities. Cork firm, Teamwork, estimates that 23% of its employees work remotely.
The roll-out of the National Broadband Plan will have a huge impact on the availability of high-speed broadband thereby making remote working an option for many more employees once their employers support it.
Roslyn Keogh, Project Manager