Remote working considerations for business owners
Not to be outdone by Netflix we’ve released our own box set of mini-videos. Designed for business owners, our aim is to improve awareness of the implications of managing a remote workforce using bite-sized videos packed full of vital information.
In our first video we focus on environmental and equipment changes to consider.
Below is a summary of areas mentioned within the video – have a read or watch Rupert in action.
Discussions surrounding the virtues and woes of home working have often focused on productivity. Whilst some employers have had trust issues, studies have shown that productivity often increases when remote working takes place.
Businesses that have embraced remote working prior to the pandemic have recognised that productivity is often better from home workers than those in the office. One study showed increases of 13-20%!
However, you can’t expect the same or increased levels of productivity if staff members don’t have a comparable setup at home as they would in the office. Below we focus on areas where you can make changes that will enhance the home working environment and have consequent positive implications on productivity.
Environment and equipment
Over the past year we’ve all witnessed video calls where folk are bent over a laptop at their kitchen table, sat on the sofa or being harassed by children and pets! Working at home is often not comparable to the ergonomic working environment that we’re used to.
Now is the time to evaluate if changes need to take place in order to create a more professional working space for remote workers.
Are you sitting comfortably?
You wouldn’t have staff members sitting on a sofa or dining chair in the office, so ensure they have a suitable ‘computer chair’ at home. Additionally, enable safe posture by providing a separate monitor to accompany the company laptop – looking straight ahead is far better for us than being bent forward.
A decent webcam and good quality speakers will aid video conferencing and a bluetooth headset with noise cancellation will help to eliminate background noise.
With this kit comes more power requirements so supply powerbars with an adequate number of sockets.
If your phone system is up for renewal within the next two years, we’d highly recommend that you consider a hosted VoIP platform. These systems allow companies to operate in exactly the same way whether working remotely or in the office – all that’s needed is for the handset to be plugged in to the router.
Answer calls, transfer calls, and (importantly) the business still gets the bill. Some businesses are opting for soft phones, where calls can be answered through the computer, but we’d recommend using an actual handset for ease of use.
Desktop versus laptop
This is really a no-brainer! Laptops are far more versatile than desktop computers and often come with a similar price tag. Yes, you should purchase an additional monitor, but you’ll gain much more flexibility.
Your business may already have converted to cloud-based software and servers, but if not, these are well worth considering.
Cloud facilities, used correctly, are safe and secure, allowing everyone within your organisation to utilise software and files, wherever they’re working.
Hot topic – costs!
Any change brings costs. We’re not denying that acquiring new chairs, computers, phones, etc., will require significant investment. Countered against this is the rise in productivity; if staff are up to 20% more productive your business should benefit from both savings and increased profits.
Also, consider reductions in office lease costs. If staff are primarily working at home you could consider downsizing your office space and setting up Hot Desks. Some businesses are getting rid of office space altogether. There are now many flexible office options; hire an office for an hour/day/week should you need a change of scenery, or to meet in person.
To do list
Review current working provision. Are your staff able to work equally as effectively at home as they are in the office? If not, plan for change. Make any necessary changes that enable more efficient, permanent home working. And remember to ask your team – what are they finding works well but also what is slowing them down – how can you allow them to do their job most efficiently and maximise productivity?
And there’s more
We’ll be giving more information on Cyber Security and Collaboration for remote working. Want to get ahead of the blogs? Take a look at our videos. And if you would like guidance on how to tackle remote working issues please do get in touch.