Remote working has become one of the most popular topics in the business environment in recent months.
In fact, the future of work continues to hit the headlines every day, with study after study revealing new data.
The benefits of this new approach to flexibility have been widely acknowledged. Key reasons for maintaining this fresh working pattern include; a boost to colleague morale, increased levels of trust, reduced commuting time, access to a wider geographical spread of talent, and an overall better work-life balance. Not to mention the added sense of safety that comes with avoiding public transport or busy office canteens.
Some business leaders have also made the switch to home working for financial reasons. Costly office leases can be an avoidable expense at a time when cashflow is tight and profitability is being eroded. In fact, a Vision Direct poll of 1,000 employers found that nearly half of British bosses believe a working from home culture will save them money.
But there are hidden costs associated with remote working which risk spiralling if they are not measured and monitored.
There’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach to motivating staff, and leaders must acknowledge that some colleagues would prefer to be in the office. In fact, a EuroNews article stated that: “Authorities think that remote-work is also having an impact on mental health, particularly that of young people.” A blanket approach to full-time homeworking therefore comes with risks.
> Cyber security
Phishing attacks have risen since the onset of the pandemic, but this – coupled with typically unsecure personal routers and a possible degree of carelessness when working away from a traditional office environment – means the danger of cybercrime has risen considerably. That’s the opinion of Tim Mercer, CEO of our TaaS partner Vapour Cloud. The costs associated with loss of data, ransomware demands, disaster recovery and reputational damage, could therefore spiral unless proactive security measures are implemented beforehand.
> Trust & communication
A productive remote working set-up relies on a strong sense of leadership, a continued multidirectional flow of communication and trust in colleagues’ autonomy.
> Employers’ duty of care
Employers’ duty of care particularly surrounding the ergonomics of employees’ workstations – extends to the home setting too. Furniture, IT equipment, lighting and even the basic consumables that are easily accessible under normal circumstances, must be readily available to colleagues, irrespective of their location. Such purchases cannot be avoided and, in some instances, may need to be bought twice if hybrid working patterns are adopted.
> Customer experience
The customer experience must remain constant irrespective of where a colleague chooses to work. Video conferencing has plugged an important gap during lockdown, but in terms of long-term considerations, a unified communications solution – or at least a cloud-based voice system – will ensure colleagues and their clientele remain connected as normal.
“Phishing attacks have risen since the onset of the pandemic, but this – coupled with unsecure personal routers and a possible degree of carelessness – means the danger of cybercrime has risen considerably.”
Tim Mercer, CEO of our TaaS partner Vapour Cloud
The hybrid workplace
With one statistic seemingly contradicting the next, it feels like the only thing we can say with any real certainty, is that we’re probably looking at a hybrid workplace for the future. One that is far more embracing of remote working but which doesn’t render the office ‘dead’, even if it now looks a little different to what we’re used to.
The challenge for business leaders, and finance directors, is to ensure that any ongoing decisions regarding the location of work help to safeguard employee morale, productivity and the bottom line.
If you require any help to maximise the benefits of home working, or to carefully audit your procurement costs, please contact us.