Sure, your business started as a brick-and-mortar, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has to stay that way. For many companies used to being location-dependent, the shift to a remote way of business can seem truly daunting.
Thing is though, your company might already be ready for remote work—it’s just up to you to formally implement a flexible work program. If your company doesn’t have a formalized remote work program in place, here are nine ways to know your company is ready for remote work.
Ways to Know Your Company Is Ready for Remote Work:
1. Some tasks are already being done remotely.
The weather outside is frightful. An aging parent needs to go to the doctor, smack dab in the middle of the workday. A child gets sick. There isn’t an end to the number of reasons why people might not be able to get into work. But you may have noticed that when employees can’t get into the office, they can still work remotely.
For example, you might discover that a lot of tasks are already being done from home, such as phone calls, answering emails, updates are being added to Google docs to keep the team in sync. When you factor in how much work is (and potentially can be) done remotely, it would make sense that your company is ready for remote work.
2. Employees appreciate the ability to work remotely.
There’s no doubt about it—employees like the ability to work remotely. So much so that they are more productive when they work from home rather than in the office. And while it’s nice in theory to have happy employees, it makes good business sense for your company, too.
After all, if your workers are happier, they’ll be more invested in the company. There will be less turnover, which can be a huge cost for employers who have to begin the hiring and training processes all over again. And when employees are pleased with their jobs, they talk about it to other people. And what company doesn’t want some positive word-of-mouth press said about them?
3. You’re already seeing the benefits of remote work.
Remote work has many, many benefits. For starters, it’s estimated that for each telecommuting employee, a company stands to save about $11,000. And countless studies have shown that telecommuting employees are much more productive than their in-office counterparts.
If your company is eco-friendly, then there’s no greener way to work than by allowing people to work from home—so that maybe someday carbon emissions from commutes could be a problem of the past. With so many benefits, it can be hard to deny the fact that your business is already remote-ready.
4. It makes sense to shift some people to remote work.
When your company started out, you all worked together in the same small office space. Now that your business has blossomed, it’s not so cute to all be breathing in the same stagnant air and working on top of each other.
Take a look at the tasks that each of your employees is doing and see if some workers can be shifted to a telecommuting position instead. Not only will it free up office space, but it’s an easy way to start the switch to creating a remote work environment for your employees.
5. Your competitors are already doing it.
One good indicator to show if your company is ready for remote work is to take a look around at what your competitors are doing. If many of them have already switched to a remote work environment, that could be a good sign that you should, too. After all, you don’t want your company to go the way of the dinosaur just because you’re sticking to old business models.
6. You’re losing your employees.
If you don’t feel like you have to keep up with the business Joneses, think again.
Job seekers looking for positions with a company like yours (and also looking for flex work) might opt to go to your competitor, particularly if they have a flexible work program in place and openly advertise it. While it can be painful (and pricey) to lose valued workers, it can sting even more to learn that your rockstar employee went to work for a company within your industry—that just so happened to offer remote work options.
7. You’re not getting as many applicants as before.
Back in the day, you would get dozens (if not hundreds) of applications for each job posting you listed. Now they just trickle in, and you’re lucky if you find a handful of potential employees who would be qualified for the job. What gives? Flexible work arrangements, that’s what. Studies have shown that many of today’s job seekers favor flexible work over salary, so having a remote work policy in place (even if it’s just a few days a week) can greatly improve your chances of getting quality applicants.
8. You’re outgrowing your space.
Business is booming, which is a great thing. What’s not so great—you’re running out of office space. When your office is bursting at the seams, it can be a great opportunity to consider implementing a remote work policy. After all, the cost of relocating your workers to a new space (plus the added expense that each in-office worker will ultimately cost your company) is reason enough to go remote.
9. Technology is already in place for remote work.
Let’s say that your company already uses many cloud-based programs and apps. It only makes sense, then, that your team starts the transition from the office to the home office. While there might be a bit of a learning curve as your staff learns how to work remotely, the rewards of having a remote team will only make you wonder why you didn’t segue to remote work sooner.
Chances are, your company is already ready for remote work, but you might still be dragging your feet out of fear as to how this new way of business will affect your company. (If you need some pointers, check out our flexible work guide for remote managers.) Then, take an objective assessment of the way you do business and see how you can begin the process to transition to a remote way of working—and reap the rewards.
Ready to start hiring remote talent? Post a remote job.
Rachel Jay contributed to this post.
Originally published September 6, 2016. Updated September 13, 2018.
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