Remote-First: Is it good for business?

Company and Culture

2022-12-09

Remote-First: Is it good for business?

in this article, we will explore if remote and hybrid working are good for business and employers.

In our previous articles, we discussed the positive impacts and the benefits of remote-first and how there has been a shift within organizations to create a “Digital Nomad Friendly” working environment, but do businesses and organizations reap the same level of benefits as their employees?
What was once abnormal, is now the norm. Working from home or remote work is now part of everyday life. A positive outcome from how businesses and individuals had to adapt to the pandemic. For a general remote-first overview read here.
Most businesses have adopted and integrated remote and home working at least once a week if not more. In some cases, businesses have reverted to a full working week within an office environment. Other businesses have moved operations to be fully remote, alternatively businesses are even fully remote from the start.

Industry Trends

In a survey carried out in 2020 by the Institute of Directors, it was stated that:
    74% of Business Leaderships would retain remote / home working practices.
    50%+ of the Business Leaderships said they intended to reduce their long-term use of workplaces.
    1 in 5 stated their usage or workplaces would decrease significantly.
Clearly, businesses and their leaderships have seen benefits from adopting a remote or home working approach, and as the popularity of remote working increases so do businesses and their employee’s flexibility. Remote working has become a key element in modern flexible working and is seen as an important employee benefit.
“Remote work is the future of work” - Alexis Ohanian, Reddit

Business to Business Basis

It’s important to mention that each individual business must make decisions on such approaches, the use of software, products, and remote working facilities based on a business’s individual needs, company culture, and business type.
In the article What Does Remote-First Mean to you? We discuss the fundamentals of remote working and how here at Eliatra we operate on a remote-first basis, and the benefits we and our team see from it, and it would seem that other businesses are also seeing benefits.

Benefits for Business and Employers

People - We are all aware that one of, if not the most powerful assets in any business or organisation is the people. Businesses having a reputation as flexible employers helps attract and retain talented staff members.
Allowing or offering individuals to option and flexibility of home working or remote partially or fully opens businesses to a wider scope of people and to increased levels of talent and consequently enriches their workforce.
The approach allows organizations to appeal to individuals who may have excellent experience, capabilities, and qualifications but are limited by flexibility; this could be due to medical conditions, caregiving duties, or disabilities or limitations which otherwise limit employment opportunities. This also allows businesses to improve/increase their workforce diversity and consequently attract people of different experiences, attitudes, and social profiles. Diversity is proven to increase businesses’ chances of success.
Remote/home working removes historic limitations regarding the location of work and willingness to travel and the key element of time, this is because there is flexibility.
This naturally improves work-life balance, which in turn improves employees’ well-being and consequently improves productivity.
Reducing employee travel time and costs benefits not only the employees, but the environment by reducing emissions and pollution it also allows some businesses to move to smaller workspaces, saving additional costs for businesses, such as operating costs, expenses, and fixed costs associated with workspaces, and what business does not want to reduce its costs?
Increased/improved workplace satisfaction – As all things, if managed correctly home working and remote working builds trust. When workers feel respected, valued, and supported they will stay at their workplace and build a future there.
Here we see that as with those who are working in the remote/home working approach, the benefits they gain have a trickle effect on the business.

Cons for Businesses and Employers

In the article Remote-First The Other Side, we discuss the negatives of remote/home on employees, and their well-being with remote or home working, discussing in detail: burnout, isolation, and inclusiveness.
For businesses, one of the main downsides of home working / remote working can be seen as the increased security risks such as security breaches for those working with sensitive data, data breaches or cyber-attacks, and the loss or damage of company property, such as laptops and devices. Having multiple forms of communication can also pose the risk of information leaks, managing and controlling the number of communication tools and how certain information is communicated mitigates this risk.

Summary

So before making the move to the home or remote working world businesses need to consider the following:
    Business nature, is remote working possible?
    Company Culture, is it required? will it be beneficial?  will it improve well-being and productivity?
    IT infrastructure and the setup costs, will it be cost-effective?
    People, do the employees/staff want this shift, and are they prepared for the change?
Once a business has ascertained the answers to these questions and essentially identified the potential opportunities, benefits, and threats any home or remote working will make to the business, only then can a business start its own personal journey towards a home and remote working-based approach.
Remote and home working have a lot of benefits for both employees, and employers and businesses, but also there are some downsides that must be taken into consideration, it is on a business-by-business basis, in our case, at Eliatra we have found adopting a remote-first approach has had a very positive impact on all those involved, we see that the remote/home working approach benefits all people and we look forward to seeing the changes and future development in this way of working.

Further Reading

To explore more of our take on Remote-First, check out our other articles:
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