Remote work has become something of a new standard in employment. The ubiquity of contemporary communications software and cloud-collaboration services are a big advantage. They leave businesses in a better place to enable remote work. The benefits are many and varied, but so too are the challenges. What major challenges should you consider before adopting remote working?
Naturally, the primary concern facing any business considering a shift to remote working for employees relates to the cost. There are a great many positive factors regarding cost. The reduction in reliance on physical administrative premises represents a major reduction in overheads. Especially with the significant rise in business rates for gas and electricity.
However, these financial savings are long-term savings, and savings that require a not-insignificant initial investment in equipment that enables remote work. Not all employees will have home computers suitable for the demands of their job. Thus, requiring an increase in budget for your IT team to supply adequate laptops or PCs. You will also need to spend significantly on remote working software. This is key to enable communication and virtual meetings. You will first need to evaluate the software for efficiency and efficacy.
A less well-advertised issue arising from the remote work revolution concerns the behavior of your employees. Specifically, regarding where they choose to work. The data surrounding productivity in remote workers is relatively unambiguous. In fact, productivity rises in the majority of cases. However, remote working is more than just the provision to work from home.
Many workers are using the opportunity of remote working to travel more widely. Some opt to work remotely in foreign countries without spending precious holiday time on trips. Understandably, this raises concerns regarding their commitment to work. Are they fully focused during work time and is their work environment suitable? There are also tax implications, particularly with regard to employees who seek to make temporary movements permanent.
The shift to remote working for your staff – whether a small portion or a vast majority – is already a major undertaking from an administrative perspective. This is with large thanks to the effort involved in sourcing and supplying the remote working equipment above. However, remote working introduces new administrative challenges, for both HR and your accounting department.
The legal issues relating to international taxation have already been briefly touched upon. But, remote working is such a complete upheaval of the normal working arrangement that a larger overhaul of employee contracts will also likely be necessary. As a key example, the ability to work from home more frequently, or completely, may have knock-on impacts on the viability of certain commute-help schemes. These are all large considerations you should review before adopting remote working.