There have been countless studies and news reports within business magazines over the last few years about the death of the traditional office. Many businesses were beginning to see a steady rise in home workers, or those employees who work part-time in the office and part-time at home. As the number of self-employed people in the UK also continues to rise there are huge numbers of people working from their home office, libraries, coffee shops and elsewhere, but what are the positives for businesses and how will this way of working continue to evolve for the better?
The Benefits of Working Out of Office
Technology has meant that telecommuting is possible for almost everyone, with even telephone conferencing appearing old hat, as workers plug in their laptops and tablets to check their work emails, log-in to time management applications to track their workload (and time) and take part in video conferencing. There is no longer the absolute need to have your staff all in one location. It is easy enough to track your employees’ time and ensure they are being as productive as they would be in the office. As a small company, or start-up business, having your staff telecommute can also save a substantial amount of money in terms of rental or mortgage costs on premises, as well as utilities, office furniture and everything else that comes with running a business out of a physical location. Your staff will also enjoy huge benefits due to the flexible lifestyle and the lack of commuting (which everyone in the world truly hates). One of the issues that used to be a problem with telecommuting was the lack of team spirit evident between colleagues who weren’t in the same place as each other. This is no longer a problem due to the myriad programmes and applications that allow colleagues and management to keep up a constant dialogue, if necessary, throughout the day, either through text, chat or video. It is a suitable replica of the office environment so you can forge trusting relationships with your team.
Keep on Top of Development and Logged Time
Of course, when working away from the office there are going to be distractions that you just can’t do anything about as a manager or business owner. If your staff members work at home they will have the television as a potential distraction, they might have to go answer the door or put the washing out, and they may try to head out and do the weekly shop whilst the supermarket is quieter during the day. Keeping on top of your telecommuters is essential and time tracking is a necessity, whichever shape you decide that has to take. A successful business with telecommuters will be one that understands the flexibility of its employees and has a level of trust working both ways to allow for continuous growth and relationship building. Keep to regular, scheduled meetings so everyone is in the know, and be there for each other throughout the day, just as you would be in the office.
Co-Working Spaces Help Small Businesses Thrive
Telecommuting is going to continue to grow as the way in which more and more people work. Whether you are a small business owner with a remote staff, or own a business with flexible options for a number of your staff you will have to implement a strategy for your home workers to ensure you get the best out of them. Co-working spaces are a great place to encourage your home workers to go to. It doesn’t have to be everyday, but an office-like space where they can go to focus when needed.