With less than ten years now left on that deadline, I wanted to share how the implementation of remote working worldwide could be integral to achieving some of these objectives, which include:
- Good health and well-being for all. In our last article, we spoke about how cutting out the commute to and from work not only had a positive impact upon the planet but also upon our physical and mental health. Depression and anxiety have been shown to go down due to the decrease in travel and the fact that remote workers get more sleep, and have more time to exercise and cook healthy, nutritious meals.
- Gender equality. Remote working helps to raise awareness and balance the responsibility for the cooking, cleaning, and childcare between men and women, because it affords both sexes more time and energy to be spent at home. Therefore, better gender equality is promoted domestically as well as in the workplace. In addition, one of the UN’s key goals is to empower women and girls through the use of information and communications technology. The ability to work from anywhere around the world gives women more opportunities than they may get locally, and studies have shown that companies that work either mostly or entirely remotely see significantly more women taking on leadership roles.
- Affordable and clean energy. As I have already mentioned, remote working decreases traffic, and therefore, our carbon footprint as well. Plus, with people working from home, you (the employer) do not have to heat or air condition your offices. As your employees are now responsible for the cost of their own energy output, they have more of an incentive to tamper it down!
- Decent work and economic growth. There is a proven increase in worker engagement when staff are allowed to work from home. Perhaps this is because they feel more independent, more in control. Perhaps it’s because there are less distractions, or it could be as simple as, the more efficiently they work, the quicker they reach their targets, and the more time off they get. It doesn’t matter. When engagement goes up, so does productivity. By contrast, sick days, human error, and health and safety incidences decrease, all of which lead to higher profits for you in the long run.
- Sustainable cities and communities. When hiring remotely, your candidate pool is no longer limited by geography. This has the effect of both allowing younger jobseekers to get a foot on the property ladder without having to sacrifice their job prospects, but also means that those bringing more money in no longer have to live in the big cities either. If they work from home their office can be anywhere in the world, and they could choose to take that money and put it into a smaller economy in a little town or countryside village.
- Climate action. Again, the very nature of remote working will lead to a significant decrease in dangerous emissions if adopted on a wide enough scale. However, with the damage we have already done to the planet, some effects of climate change may now be irreversible. Remote teams mean that businesses can weather the extremes of snowstorms, flooding, and heatwaves, because they will no longer have to battle the elements in an attempt to make it into the office. The global economy will therefore grow stronger, as it will no longer grind to a such halt in the face of natural disasters.
- Responsible consumption and production. Companies can save big money when their employees work from home. For example, IBM reduced the size of their office space by 78 million square feet and saved approximately $100 million dollars every year in the US alone as a result of their remote working policy.
Since the advent of COVID-19, the lockdowns and confinements and “circuit breakers” which we are now seeing a resurgence of across the continent, companies big and small have had to adapt to remote working.
Salesforce, the award-winning CRM provider who have been voted in the top five of the World’s Best Workplaces 2020, can also be counted among those responding with enthusiasm. After recognising that remote working widens the company’s access to talent, promotes an increase in productivity, reduces overheads, and encourages employee satisfaction and longevity, they have guaranteed that their workforce will be able to work from home until at least summer 2021.
And others, like Twitter and Square, have taken this a step further. In May 2020, their CEO, Jack Dorsey, announced that his employees will be able to work from home “forever” if they would prefer to do so.
The biggest turnaround, however, came from Zillow, the US-based real estate database. Zillow had previously rejected the idea of remote working, but recently, they went public will their commitment to being a “flexible employer”. This means that their employees will be able to choose whether they want to work on site or from home, even after the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
And don’t worry, this flexible approach to working is not exclusive to America by any means; all kinds of companies across the EU have followed suit over the last few months.
DEON is a visual collaboration platform based in Berlin, Germany. At the forefront of technological innovation (because who hasn’t needed to collaborate, during this pandemic, with their colleagues? And who wouldn’t have found that easier to do if they had a tool like this one?), they are currently recruiting on a remote working basis.
It is reassuring for their customers to know that they believe in their product so much that they are not only selling it, but actually using it to do so! And it’s a fantastic model to work from if you are considering setting up a remote team yourself.
Embracing the New Normal
The benefits of remote working are very well documented, we have even written a blog post about this ourselves, which you can check out here, but it is important to remember that you are very unlikely to see significant change (like a boom in productivity, or a massive increase in profits due to reduced spending) overnight.
Like every other overhaul, the different environment and the different ways of communicating will all take a little bit of getting used to.
Think of it like you’re just moving offices—there’s bound to be more than a few hitches along the way; maybe the computers won’t be set up right, the lights keep going off, and people are coming in late because their commute is longer and this route has more traffic—but eventually, you will all settle down into a new rhythm.
You will have a new normal.
And so it is with remote working. Only you’re not just moving to one new office—potentially, you’re moving into hundreds. You expect there to be hiccups at the start, but you must persevere, because the benefits will greatly outweigh these tiny inconveniences in the long run.
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