remote working

SMEs weigh in on the ‘remote working’ revolution

Did you know that two thirds of UK small businesses are now using remote working as a means to save money and attract the best talent?

We recently conducted a nationwide survey of our business customers, in order to identify their most common barriers to growth. Overwhelmingly, the biggest challenge small businesses faced when looking to scale was finding and retaining customers – with over 45% ranking this as their primary concern. Perhaps not surprisingly, the results also showed that 66% of UK businesses have foregone traditional offices and instead, operate their business by hiring remote employees.

What are the benefits of remote working?

The survey revealed some of the reasons behind companies ditching their offices, and the tools they are using to keep their remote teams connected. For employers, the cost savings of not maintaining a physical office was the main motivation for going remote. The freed up cash is instead being used to hire more employees and invest in the company’s products/services.

  • 66% of UK SMEs surveyed are now using remote workers
  • 70% reported cost savings each month by using a VoIP telephone system instead of traditional landlines

“Infrastructure costs are becoming increasingly expensive for UK businesses,” commented Charles Chance, Nimvelo’s founder.

“In our own business, we’ve found that using remote software tools to establish remote ways of working has lowered our overheads and allowed us to invest more into improving the quality of our service.”

More time, less distractions

For employees, one of the biggest advantages of remote working is the time freed up. They enjoy the flexibility of moving between their personal and professional lives more easily. It means they are less tired and distracted, leaving them feeling healthier and happier overall.

People frequently believe that working from home leads to more distractions. Nimvelo shares a different view on productivity, however. Working in the office with so many other people around – keyboards clicking, phones ringing, meetings, chatting – can be very detrimental to productivity.

Following a study from the University of California Irvine, study lead Gloria Mark told Fast Company of the findings:

We found about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.

Remote workers, however, find that working from home allows them to focus and accomplish more than they would in a busy office.

One of our team members, David, started working remotely in September 2015. He recently stated in an interview, “I’d accomplished more [in a day] than I could in an entire week at the office.” It’s not affected his sense of belonging either. With tools like Slack and Nimvelo Phone, David is able to interact with the rest of the team, as if he was in the same room.

What does this mean for businesses?

The cost savings alone can be enough for many businesses to embrace remote working as part of their growth strategy. But it’s not just the business that can benefit. Their employees will save on their own travel costs. Plus, they’ll free up more time by eliminating the daily commute.

A survey from Vodafone claimed that UK business could save £34 billion by allowing their workers to work flexibly. In addition, advances in technology have allowed remote workers to stay connected to their teams without affecting company culture. And we’ve no doubt we’ll see a continued rise in remote working over the next few years as a result.

Have your say

Have you put remote working into practice yet? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion box below. If you’re a business owner yourself, or a future entrepreneur, join our community to get all the latest news from the start-up world.

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