The “new normal” has had some unexpected effects on the way employers and employees work together. We’re talking about the many who have experienced the benefits of remote working as well as the challenges of working from home. The advantages and disadvantages of remote working may initially seem to differ when considering the employer vs employee perspective, but they are, in essence, two sides of the same coin.
In this article, we’ll examine the employers’ perspective of the advantages and disadvantages of remote working, but if you’re an employee, you may benefit from getting your employer’s perspective too. Here’s a quick roundup.
Benefits of Working From Home for Employers
The most obvious benefit of home working staff would be reduced running costs. We’re talking office space, and to a lesser extent, office maintenance, office equipment and furnishings. Fewer workers in your office suite, mean less need for expansive space, and while it’s helpful to your workers if you provide them with the equipment they need, it’s not an absolute must for new hires.
Remote work also allows for a degree of flexibility and freedom which employees like. At the very least, there’s no time-consuming and costly morning and evening commute. That’s motivating, and motivated employees are an asset. As an employer, you’re able to attract more talent, and all things being equal, achieve better results.
But it’s not all roses for either employers or their staff. Unless you’re alive to the challenges of working from home for employers, the work from home model may become more of a liability than an asset. Let’s see why.
Disadvantages of Remote Working
While employees may cite feelings of isolation: a lack of connection with their employers and colleagues, employers may struggle to maintain optimum productivity and control. There’s potential for a certain lack of feelings of immediacy among staff. And when it comes to monitoring productivity, your task is more complex, and there are instances where you may just have to take your employees’ word for it.
As an employer, having a personal relationship with your staff is just as important to you as it is to them. After all, how can you genuinely understand and motivate people when there’s no in-person relationship? There are many ways of trying to mitigate this, but in the end, nothing beats face-to-face contact.
Since you don’t see your employees working away at their desks, you can easily fail to understand their work environment and habits well. So, Jenny took three hours on a task you thought would only take one. Was this because it was more difficult than you thought? Was it because of a lack of support? Or was Jenny making coffee and chatting to her family and friends more than she was working? You simply can’t know for sure.
Having said that, remote work is here to stay, and your task is to take advantage of its benefits while working to address its disadvantages. Let’s look at how companies like RSVP are doing just that.
Managing Remote Staff: the High Road
Establish connection. Remote meetings are all well and good, but there’s a certain something about having “office days.” They not only allow you to meet with your team on a personal level, they also encourage collaboration and networking within teams. That’s one of the reasons why RSVP’s home working solutions are so effective. We’re able to employ hundreds of people cost-effectively, yet still reinforce the importance of teamwork, good communication, and a sense of belonging that’s essential to the maintenance of productivity.
Define expectations. This takes good communication, careful thought, and an intimate understanding of what your remote workers do. Expect too much and they burn out. Expect too little, and some of them will be only too happy to take it easy. Fail to define expectations, and nobody knows what they should be doing and whether they’re doing well or not.
Leverage tech solutions. Technology empowers us to work effectively, but the solutions it offers may not be as accessible or as effective as they may seem on the surface. A tool is only useful if it is used properly, and the more specialised it is to its task, the more effective it will be. Needless to say, there are cost implications. Specialised tech doesn’t come cheap. And though a great many things can be automated, the human touch is still needed. You can’t just “set and forget.” At RSVP, we’ve found that a high degree of specialisation in tech solutions, coupled with trained, dedicated staff to apply it and to oversee its use ensures optimal benefits.
Facilitate remote collaboration. Collaboration isn’t just important between the individuals who make up a team. It’s also important between teams with differing tasks and specialities who strive towards or support common goals. Waiting for the next remote or in-office meeting to discuss overlapping areas means deferred questions, delayed responses, and wasted time. There needs to be a degree of freedom to communicate comparable to walking over to a colleague’s desk to confer.
Be realistic about your company’s capacity to manage remote work. Using remote work successfully means choosing the right people, the right tech, and the right managers to oversee each department. While that’s also true of on-site work, the principle holds true in remote work models. Outsourcing, in either case, frequently results in greater efficiency, a greater degree of specialist skill, a larger resource-base to support the outsourced department, cost predictability, and cost savings.
Outsourced Remote Work: Not Just for the “Little Guys”
There’s a widespread misconception that outsourcing tasks or business functions is for SMEs. It isn’t. Think of Apple. A large amount of its manufacturing is outsourced. Think of the big fashion brands. Most of them don’t do their manufacturing either. British Telecom famously outsources many of its behind-the-scenes functions as does Barclays Bank, and so on. The fact is, if it isn’t your core business, it’s quite possible that outsourcing it is the best way to go. Of course, that depends on who you outsource it to.
Customer service and support is prime territory for both remote work and outsourcing. But, as anyone who has dealt with poor-quality offshore support services will attest, choosing the wrong company for the task can become a bit of a PR fiasco.
At RSVP, London-based remote work operatives work around the clock to represent your business’s interests. They’re trained to engage with both your business and your individual clients for a natural, empathetic service that’s worlds away from the stilted, scripted, and often irrelevant “service” that even the largest companies have occasionally adopted to their cost.
You get the benefits of remote work without the pitfalls and the high costs of maintaining, training, and monitoring remote employees. And since our technological infrastructure is already in place and is constantly upgraded, you get the best of highly specialised tech without the setup, training, and maintenance costs.
People Working for You: When Remote isn’t Hands-Off
Returning to general principles, remote working and outsourcing shouldn’t mean relinquishing control or losing touch. It’s one of the top value propositions we have to offer: we stay in touch with you, and you have a single contact point for the management of a vitally important and labour intensive area.
Our fingers are on the pulse and it’s our job to represent your company and see that your customers get the best service. What are your customers saying? What uncertainties, issues, or service deficits prompt them to call us? We present the facts that you need to know. You stay in control of the solutions.
It’s just one example of the ways in which you can leverage remote work without the hassle. Why strive for excellence when excellence is just a phone call away? When it comes to remote workers for customer contacts, joining RSVP’s select customer base implies all of the benefits of remote working and none of the pitfalls. Are your company and ours a good fit? Let’s talk!