Here at Goldfish we are big fans of smart working, it is integral to our working culture. It allows us to be more productive, more efficient and helps us reduce risk in our business by ensuring that we can stay fully operational even when staff can’t get to the office.
A key aspect of our smart working culture is the ability to work from anywhere, so we designed our cloud telecoms technology to helps facilitate remote working. With our VoIP phone system you can use your direct lines from anywhere in world and they operate no differently from if you were in the office. With Quvu, our phone management and live analytics software you can manage all your remote staff easily; with full overview of their current status, and live analytics and KPIs for each employee.
With cloud technology likes this, facilitating remote working it is now easier than ever, so it is no surprise that a recent survey in the U.S. by Gallup found that 43% of Americans said they spent time working remotely. While figures from Telework Research Network estimate that 30 million Americans now work from home one day a week. Where American goes Ireland tends to follow, especially with the numbers of US companies now based here, so figures for remote workers are expected to increase sharply over the next few years.
Anyone who has spent time job hunting will see that there are now huge numbers of remote working jobs being advertised. There is even a new Irish start-up Abodoo dedicated to matching remote working candidates to jobs. We spoke to Abodoo’s CEO Sue Marshall and asked her how companies can start to implement homeworking.
Why should companies change from the traditional office based model that they are used to?
There are huge benefits to companies, both in terms business practices and costs. There’s evidence that productivity increases, costs reduce, employee satisfaction improves, attrition rate reduce and hiring becomes easier as you open up previously untapped talent pools to include people outside of your ‘commute’. You get to include talented people that are returning to the job market, or people who cannot or will not suffer city commutes. There are plenty of talented people that live away from big cities, so with very little outlay you get to increase your companies reach, profile and reputation.
Are there benefits to giving employees more control over their working day?
It is better for employees which means it’s better for your company because if they benefit and feel happier and more content, then you benefit. It is also better for the environment and a CSR perspective. There’s a tonne of noise out there from Millennials who want to balance their home and work lives. Finding talent has always been a difficult task and retaining that talent has long been the bugbear of many an ops director and management team.
Why aren’t more companies facilitating home working?
Well let’s look at why not. The reasons are many from: how do you know that they will actually work from home? Will they put in the effort? Will they put in the hours? Is my data safe? How do I train them? Are they saying the right things to my customers? The list is endless – but ultimately all of these questions relate to trust. Trust in your people, your processes and your systems.
If trust is the key then how can we trust employees to work when they are not in the office?
A talented HR director that I worked with a few years ago, when ‘smart working, was beginning to gather speed, told me how she dealt with the ‘trust’ issue. She identified existing workers and trialled a programme of remote workers and measured them against office based workers doing the same role. She learnt some important lessons.
She explained “When the remote worker programme began, the rather naive manager in charge of the team, felt the need to ring them more often. That actually led to deterioration of trust.”
To stop this, the HR director encouraged the manager to make sure that the contact was seen by the employees as supportive, rather than checking up on them. So, just as in the office, the manager became familiar with individual styles of working and clarified expectations and responsibilities with their remote workers. Their progress was reviewed less frequently and trust was built in the team as a whole.
She had managed to facilitate the holy grail of home working, TRUST, between manager and remote worker; the results soon began to speak for themselves. The productivity of home workers was 13.5% higher than those the office!
The business went from strength-to-strength across multiple continents, recruiting native language speakers to virtual hubs of working, enabling them to support new client services in Asia, America, Australasia and Russia.
She told me, “Don’t let them tell you it cannot be done.”
Want to implement remote working?
Talk to us about how our VoIP technology can help you faciliate and manage remote workers on 01554 7888 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.