Why companies chose remote working before COVID-19

Back in March when the COVID-19 pandemic was becoming a severe issue for western countries, 88% of global organisations encouraged their staff to work from home, according to a survey from Gartner.

The big debate now is how the future of remote working will develop. Will things go back to the way they were, will they stay how they are now, or somewhere in the middle? The pandemic has forced the issue for many companies. My view is that they should have been embracing it a long time ago, and their P&Ls for 2020 will support me.

Of course, it must be acknowledged that some remote working during the pandemic has presented more significant challenges for organisations, such as the lack of face-to-face sales opportunities. Similarly, many employees have had no choice but to work from their small bedrooms in a cramped, shared living space, or juggling child-minding; and that isn’t ideal either.

However, most individuals have thrived under remote working practices. Gallup reported that 60% of US workers, who have had to work from home during the outbreak, would prefer to work remotely as much as they can in the future.

Remote-working

Ten reasons employees benefit from working at home

1. Better work-life balance
2. Less commute stress
3. Location independence
4. Improved inclusivity
5. Money savings
6. Positive environmental impact
7. Impact on sustainability
8. A customisable office
9. Increased productivity and performance
10. A happier, healthier work-life

A 2018 study in the UK by ATT found that remote, flexible workers were happier and more loyal employees, partly due to lower stress levels, as it provided more time for hobbies and interests.

Employers’ benefits from remote working

From an employer’s perspective, Forbes sourced a collection of statistics from the world’s leading research institutions, including Harvard and Stanford, on the benefits of remote working:

1. Productivity — remote workers are an average of 35-40% more productive than staff in the office, and they have an output increase of at least 4.4%.
2. Performance — workers produce results with 40% fewer quality defects.
3. Engagement — higher productivity and performance combine to enhance engagement, resulting in 41% lower absenteeism.
4. Retention — 54% of employees said they would leave their job for one that offered more flexibility. The resultant flexibility resulted in a reduced turnover of 12%.
5. Profitability — organisations saved an average of $11,000 per year per remote worker, or 21% higher profitability.

This is no surprise to us at CXC EMEA, we have been a remote-first company since our foundation in 2015. We have hubs across Europe should our teams wish to utilise them, but we are proud to be remote-first, and we were using Zoom before it entered the popular lexicon.

It’s not just us. Global Workplace Analytics stated that between 2005 to 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work.
Remote-Work-Growth-Graph

From managing remote staff nationally to contingent staff globally

Once your company has implemented the processes and procedures to maximise engagement from your staff working at home, you will have the capability to manage contingent staff, not just in your own jurisdiction, but around the world, because the same management principles apply. However, you can then start to avail of other benefits:

– Lower capital costs – no need for expensive offices

– Lower operational costs – including lower labour costs from other countries

– Wider talent pool

– Niche, hard-to-find skills for short-term projects

– Potential 24-hour productivity via different time zones

Here at CXC, we have helped organisations from a range of industries reduce their operating costs by up to 50% from using contingent workers. If your company did not embrace remote practices pre-pandemic and now see the benefits, we’d love to tell you more about our success stories to date.

Dropbox, Twitter and Shopify announced recently they would let employees work from home permanently, even if health authorities allow workers to return to offices after the pandemic.

Remote working is only going to become more prevalent; it makes sense to take the next step to cheaper overseas, highly skilled contingent workers.

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