Rent for offices is often one of the biggest fixed overheads a business must pay. For many start-ups, remote working spaces or working from home allows small businesses to progress and grow without the huge commitment of rental payments, which just aren’t viable for many firms in the beginning.
Here at CitrusHR Consulting, we’re a team of 6; with our HQ in Bath, where our sister company resides. We all work from home, or remotely either at client premises or local Gloucestershire or Bristol work hubs. For us, it works. Keeping costs down. Communication between the team, utilising technology and following best practice is vital for it to be successful.
Does your business operate from a local office? Do you work 9-5, five days a week? Just imagine what might happen if remote working was promoted firmwide, along with flexible hours?
It goes without saying that remote working isn’t for everyone or suitable for all industries; especially those hands-on customer facing firms. Professional services and office-based firms are however, noticing an increase in requests for flexible working which often includes working remotely. The Office of National Standards (ONS) reported the number of UK workers who have moved into remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over a decade. This increase is due to many reasons, one being the shift in management perceptions and attitudes towards remote working plus technology capabilities.
Some business owners are still concerned that, un-watched, their employee’s productivity will suffer, the opposite is in fact true. Productivity and morale increases exponentially.
Benefits of remote working
Increased productivity and creativity – being in your own environment can spur creativity and increase an employee’s output, depending on where the employee is remote working, it can offer an environment which is surrounded by inspiration and other like minded independent workers. Also offers greater flexibility when it comes to timing, working outside of the traditional 9-5 hours.
Higher morale – it suggests that working remotely can create happier and a more motivated workforce. Whom generally have a greater sense of freedom from not being in the office. Absenteeism due to mental health issues is rising, maintaining a happier workforce will help reduce those numbers.
Reduction in overhead costs – a primary benefit to remote working is the reduction in rental payments. This may not be applicable to all firms, and remote working may just be for 1 or 2 days a week, but for larger firms renting a large space, it may provide an opportunity to reduce the size of the required space and therefore reduce the outgoings.
Environmental benefits – the requirement to commute is reduced, saving time and reducing pollution.
Ways to encourage effective and productive remote working:
- Setup – ensure your technology is setup correctly. Correct anti-virus/firewall setup for remote working is so important to avoid hacking. Local Gloucester based firm: Cyber Security Associates and Lister IT Services can ensure your setup is safe. Ask employees to take an ergonomics training course, so that they’re aware of how to adjust screen height, and where applicable get wrist or back/neck supports.
- Communicate – utilise technology to communicate as much as you can with your team working remotely, provide feedback like you would in the office – this may mean sending the additional ‘thank you’ e-mail.
- Set goals/targets – this varies depending on the role the employee is working but ensure you know what the team are working on. Setting goals/task targets etc will encourage engagement and productivity.
- Meet ups – continue to have either scheduled time in the office, at least once a month or a team meeting, where you all get together.
- Utilise technology – perhaps consider using skype rather than just a phone call. Or for a more immediate response, a group WhatsApp chat instead of an e-mail.
Here in Gloucestershire we are lucky enough to be home to many unique remote working spaces, that are designed with remote working in mind. Below are just a few:
- Growth Hub: there are in fact three growth hubs in the Gloucestershire region; Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cirencester. All offering a workspace, wifi, teas and coffees. There is hope to expand into Cheltenham region soon too.
- Gloucester Services: just off both sides of the M5 is a unique family run farmshop service station. Yet it couldn’t be further from a service station with the produce it sells and the airy, light atmosphere. With the added benefit of good wi-fi, plenty of seating and wholesome drinks and food to tempt you – it’s a wonderful local spot to work remotely.
- Bristol Bath Science Park – not officially in Gloucestershire, but close by and it’s another wonderful professional spot that offers great food/drinks, wi-fi and variable seating; pods, booths, long desks and sofas.
- Local libraries and cafes – are venues that also offer a place to work, outside of the office.
If you have anything further to add to this piece, or suggestions of good places to work remotely, we’d love to hear from you. Please do comment below or feel free to get in touch with us direct: CitrusHR Consulting, call us on 0844 854 6704 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.