A lot has changed in the workforce over the past 10 or 20 years. Whereas once upon a time the idea of the ‘remote’ or ‘home’ worker was a very rare occurrence, regarded, indeed, with suspicion by the regular office-locked 9-5ers, in recent times there has been a tremendous rise in the number of people who work from home.
The catalyst, of course, has been the surging rise of the internet, bolstered even more now with the advent of the cloud and – no less significant – the smartphone.
But it’s taken a long time for the technology to reach the point where we are now – that is, according to a recent study by YouGov Omnibus, where 54% of office workers are working remotely, either full or part-time. Indeed, in years gone by, employees who wanted to take advantage of flexible working were forced to either set up a virtual private network (VPN), rely on consumer-grade, poor quality Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), or go the whole hog and have a completely separate telephone line installed in their home just for work.
But modern communications technology has torn down all of these barriers. Indeed, the only real stumbling block now that might stop an employee working remotely revolves around the trust between the business and its workforce.
Remote Workers Are More Productive
Some companies simply don’t allow their employees to work from home, even though the capability is there. The reason for this stance is simple – when you allow employees to work remotely, there will always be the productivity question mark looming over everything that they do. However, to be frank, this type of attitude in 2017 suggests an unhealthy company culture more than anything else.
Research from both sides of the pond has in fact found that remote workers are actually more productive than those who come into the office every single day of the week.
Firstly, scholars at Stanford University in the US ran an experiment – the 2014 Ctrip Study – the findings of which revealing that people who work full time from home are 13% more efficient. As the Money & Career CheatSheet reports:
“Professor Nicholas Bloom, one of the study’s authors, claims the work-from-home experiment, which lasted nine months, saved the company $1,900 per employee. This factors in savings on office space, higher performance, and fewer people quitting.”
Remote Workers Are Happier
If we hark back to the YouGov poll for a moment, we can also see that remote workers are also happier workers – and indeed, it’s not too much of an assumption to make a direct correlation between contentment and productivity.
Of the 54% of the office workers that were able to work from home, 30% felt that their productivity increased when they did so.
But in terms of attitudes, an overwhelming 70% said that “it is important for businesses to allow their employees to work remotely.”
Even so, 23% of the employees interviewed said that their employers allow them to work from home simply because the business “didn’t like it” – which once more reeks of a bad company culture more than anything else.
Why Hosted PBX Is The Best Solution For Remote Teams
Anyone who’s worked in an office will know that it can in fact be a rather distracting place to try and get all your work done. And with this in mind – and in light of the research provided – it certainly makes sound business sense to employ a strategy where employees have the option of working remotely. This doesn’t have to be every single day – and in fact it makes better sense to have all employees come into the office at least once or twice a week, as this gives them the opportunity to catch up on anything that they might have missed while working at home.
But in order for any amount of remote working to be a success, then it’s essential that you have the technology at your disposal that can enable it to happen reliably and simply.
For businesses that want to facilitate remote working and reap all the benefits of a happier and more productive workforce, there is a choice to make. You may already have the tools that will enable remote working, but it may be the case that you will have to invest in some new technology – and one of the best and most cost-effective solutions lies in hosted PBX.
Hosted PBX offers all the functionality that is found in traditional, wired telephony systems, but with many additional benefits and a cost-saving price plan.
The Benefits Of Hosted PBX For The Remote Worker
Reduced Costs To The Business
As with all aspects of hosted PBX, money is saved right from the word go in terms of installation and maintenance. Indeed, there is no installation or maintenance costs with hosted PBX no matter if the worker is at home or in the office – all of this is absorbed into the monthly fee that you pay to your provider. There is also no hiked charges for long-distance calls, nor any for separate landlines, and at the end of the month you will receive one single invoice for your entire workforce, including remote workers, which in turn means that the need for the accounting team to catalogue and approve an endless list of phone bills is also negated.
Ultimate Mobility And Flexibility
No matter if your employees are working from home or are in the office, they will all have the exact same access to all features and capabilities of the business phone system. This is because the PBX resides in the cloud, rather than being tied down to the office building, which means that it is accessible from anywhere, regardless of your employees’ physical locations.
For employees using their mobiles, they will have downloaded an app, which will allow them to remain constantly connected to the central corporate phone system. In effect, this means that any worker can use any device, be it desk phone, smartphone, tablet, or even their personal computer with softphone application.
What is essentially a very simple feature comes into its own with a hosted PBX solution for the remote worker. Your employee will be given one number which their clients will be able to reach them on. When the client dials, the call is forwarded to whatever device the employee happens to be using at the time, meaning that calls are never missed, and the client doesn’t have the hassle of having to remember or re-dial different numbers.
With hosted PBX, there is also no long term commitment to the amount of lines on the system. This means that adding and removing users as needed becomes a very simple task, and your business is ultimately and indefinitely scalable.
Another great bonus of hosted PBX is that you can be entirely flexible with the amount of staff your business has. For instance, if your business experiences seasonal spikes, then you may need to set up remote locations or add telecommuters for support during these times. Indeed, you will be able to advertise seasonal placements for people who want to do some extra work at home, meaning that you can essentially cast the net as far and wide as you like.