The Business Case For Remote Working | Incentive&Motivation

How can you make remote working work in your business? If you’ve been tasked to look at the business case for remote working – you need to be informed of the pros and the cons.

The Business Case For Remote Working: Employees want to work remotely 

The ability to work remotely has gone from being a work perk to a necessity of 21st century living, according to a new study by Softchoice, a leading North American IT solutions and managed services provider. The study, Collaboration Unleashed: Empowering Individuals to Work Together from Anywhere, found that 85 percent of North American office workers expect their employers to provide technology that allows them to work from wherever they choose – whether that’s at their desk, in a meeting room, at home, or the coffee shop down the street.

Employees would take increased remote work opportunity over an increase in pay, with 74 percent of employees saying they would quit their jobs to work for an organization that would allow them to work remotely more often, even if their salary stayed the same.

How much could your organization benefit from remote work? 

Calculating an ROI to make the business case for remote working may seem hard, but there are some calculators that do hint at the savings.

They do this by calculating a variety of benefits to employers and employees.

Take this quiz which estimates 1 worker at £30,000 doing just 1 day a week remotely could save you over £4000. Multiples of employees working remotely across a business can represent a significant saving.

  • Increase in productivity: £1,170
  • Reduction in real estate costs: £205
  • Reduction in absenteeism: £484
  • Reduction in turnover: £205
  • Total Annual Employer Impact: £4,258

This makes the business case for remote working based a few assumptions as below – you can customise the calculator to look at your returns.

Employer Assumptions
Increase in productivity on remote work days (%)
Likely reduction in real estate (%)
Reduced absenteeism (%)
Reduced turnover (%)
Annual per person occupancy costs
Annual % voluntary turnover for those that don’t work remotely
Benefits as a % of salary
Cost of turnover as a % of salary
Annual per person absent days/year for those that don’t work remotely
Employee Assumptions
Parking, tolls, transit costs (£/day)
Food and beverage purchases (£/day)
Other costs such as eldercare, child care, pet care (£/day)
Miles per gallon
Cost per mile driven (not including gas) per AAA

What are the downsides of remote working?

  • Having employees in the office means they are easily contactable and can be helpful for small tasks. To combat this, you may want to ensure that all staff spend some time in the office/ run team meetings to get everyone together regularly. You might also want to gently introduce remote working to ‘test the waters’.
  • Employees may work harder – or they might take their foot off the gas. As a manager, you need to be able to monitor, motivate and engage with their workload so you can ensure losses aren’t being made. Obligations and ground rules should be laid out with a clear contract.
  • Information security risks and breaches are also an issue. Could employees be sharing data unwittingly? You need to protect the business by ensuring confidential information is safe and devices are IT team approved.

Want to go remote? Equipment and tech to do the job is key

If you are going remote, then get the tech right. Technical issues kill collaboration: 83 percent of employees use technology to collaborate in real time with people in different locations, however, 78 percent of them say they experience frequent technical difficulties that impact the collaborative experience.

“It has never been more challenging, but also more important, for organizations to deliver what employees want,” said Francis Li, Vice President, Information Technology, Softchoice. “Cloud, mobile and unified communications technology continues to break down siloes and help employees to be more productive and collaborative from wherever they do their best work. As a result, what employees increasingly want is a seamless experience where they can access content, connect with colleagues and share files, and be productive from anywhere.”

Despite that, compared to Baby Boomers, Millennials are twice as likely to feel more productive and better-equipped working at home than at the office. On top of that, the vast majority (88 percent) of millennials believe their employer should equip them with the technology to work remotely.  As well as a computer or tablet, chargers and chairs, you may need additional tech such as:

  • A network server provides a central store for documents and other files
  • Broadband
  • Mobile phones
  • A call forwarding service
  • Email/ webmail
  • VPN
  • An external keyboard, monitor and mouse
  • Security software
  • Monitoring software

Successful remote working isn’t about work alone 

When it comes to communication, it’s not all about slack channels and Trello boards and tasks. The team at getlighthouse say it well:

“When managing remote employees, it’s easy to just talk about what needs to get done and jump off your call, end your chat, and get back to executing.  And in some cases, that’s exactly what you should do; if you’re on a tight deadline, fighting a fire, or just having a quick standup meeting that makes sense.  However, if that’s all you do, you’re really missing out on a critical part of management.  You must build rapport with *every* member of your team.Rapport is what will help you work through problems each team member has, trust they can come to you with things important to them, and give you the benefit of the doubt when you make a mistake or an unpopular decision.

Rapport does not come from doing and talking about work. Rapport comes from getting to know them as a complete person.”

Whether that means tech that makes face to face time feel organic, or if you end up seeing people in physical premises more than you first thought, if you want to make a business case for remote work, don’t forget to include the ‘non work’ element as part of your considerations when it comes to producing the business case for remote working in your workplace.