People are defined by what they do. The first question they are asked by someone they haven’t seen in some time isn’t about their health or their emotions, it is about what they do for a living. With the COVID-19 outbreak, tens of millions of people are out of work and just as many are working from home. For the business owner, this may not be an ideal situation, but if you are able to keep an open mind, you will find that there is a lot of good that could come from having your workers out of the office. This month, we will discuss the benefits of remote work, the gig economy, and some tools that you can use to ensure that remote workers are keeping up their productivity.
Benefits of Remote Work
If you were to look at the prevailing sentiment of business owners, they would want their people to work from a consistent place of their choosing and pay a hefty price to make this so. The brick and mortar and utility costs alone are typically thousands of dollars a month. The first benefit to a business is that those costs can be mitigated or even eliminated by moving to a remote-first workforce. Sure, you will still have to pay for centralized computing infrastructure and software licenses, but even those can be had for a discount nowadays. Basically, your business’ upfront costs are slashed considerably by using remote workers.
Another major benefit is that the people that work for you tend to do better work and work faster if they are able to set themselves up from home. There are different metrics at work here, but basically the more flexibility that the modern worker has, the more productive he/she tends to be. Sure, there are some people that can’t organize themselves well enough to be trusted to work full time remotely, but you will find that, by-in-large, remote workers get their work done, the work is better, and the employee is more content because they don’t have to deal with all the things people have to deal with when they are forced to commute back and forth each day.
Lastly, and this cannot be underestimated, you will see better employee morale, higher retention rates, and even better health from remote workers. The metrics are pretty clear: If an employee can do a job from home, they will be grateful and will take that responsibility more seriously. This results in a better output, more for the sales team to work with, and ultimately a better product coming to market.
The Gig Economy
Even before COVID-19 forced businesses to attempt this grand experiment, there were millions of people from all over the world who work remotely, on contract. This is what is referred to in the news media as the “Gig economy”. With around 15% of the world’s retail commerce done online, and the online presence of nearly every service, gig workers provide businesses the flexibility to hire remote workers to fulfill almost any task the business needs.
If you have budget restraints, finding a gig worker to work affordably keeps financial problems at bay. If you have a strict deadline on a project and need to supplement your team by having gig workers fill in the gaps, you can meet your goals. If you don’t have a trained and tested project manager, you can hire a gig worker to run your entire project. If your business is leveraged and you need an expert to oversee your remote staff, you can find that online. Basically, any position you need to fill can be found in the gig economy; and, the benefits are massive, if it is done properly.
Our Remote Worker Toolbox
We’d be remiss if we didn’t give you a couple of tools you can use to make sure that your remote workers can be the best they can be:
- Remote access – This is a no-brainer, especially for employees that typically work in an office but are forced out due to an event. Any business that hosts local data and applications will need to find a solution so that your staff has access to them.
- Virtual Private Network – The VPN is a useful tool for any remote worker. Its use is to send and access data securely
- Cloud-hosted line-of-business software – Whatever software you have chosen to make it so you can do what you do, you will need it to be accessible to your workers. You can still host the data and application locally, but it does carry some pretty significant additional costs.
- Cloud-hosted communications – VoIP systems are perfect for remote workers. Most of them provide the service through an application that people can utilize on their smartphones.
In the age of distraction, the thought of having your workforce out of the office for any length of time may initially be maddening. If you just look at how productive a person can be working remotely, you may reconsider what the remote worker can mean for your business. As a business that does a lion’s share of our work remotely, CTN Solutions promotes the use of IT to remove the barriers that have been holding your business back. We are committed to help you work toward creating a better business. Call us today at (610) 828- 5500 to learn more.