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Growing a successful business means keeping a constant eye on productivity. People are an expensive resource, particularly in the current climate where many businesses are finding it difficult to recruit.

Remote working has become even more important since the pandemic where people have realised the work/life balance benefits of not having to travel to a specific location to work each day. The ability to offer remote working is more important than ever to businesses that need to attract talent.

We are often approached by business owners who know they could be making better use of technology to allow remote working without loss of productivity, but they’re not sure where to start.

In this blog, we provide some information on how to approach a shift to remote working for the long-term, and give some examples of how technology can be used to help your people work productively when not on-site.

  1. Building the business case

Introducing any new technology means a change to working practices and a temporary disruption to productivity. For growing businesses there is always a trade-off between short term pain and long-term gain.

With careful consideration of the type of technology that would help your teams to work remotely, the pay-off can be immense:

  • Attract the best talent to your roles, particularly at a time when many candidates are looking for remote or hybrid working models.
  • Retain competitive advantage by ensuring you don’t lose good employees to other companies simply because they can offer remote working.

Our approach is to get under the skin of a business to identify the opportunities and risks with remote working before you decide on company policy. After all, it’s difficult to revoke a benefit once it’s in place.

It’s imperative to build the systems and processes that enable your teams to access information and communicate with colleagues just as effectively as if they were face-to-face in the office. But it’s equally important to build the systems and processes that enable you to monitor productivity without having to micro-manage or feel ill at ease with remote working arrangements.

2. Don’t rule out off-the-shelf software

It’s important that you do not compromise on your bespoke software solution – technology should support your business needs; your business processes should not be designed around technology.

However, with so many remote working apps now available, it makes sense to review what’s out there and what might work for your business.

Many of our clients combine off-the-shelf apps like Zoom and Teams (are there any others which might be more appropriate to mention please?) with bespoke remote working software designed around their specific business needs. This is a cost-effective and timely way to ensure your business is using technology to be more productive.

Our teams can help identify any off-the-shelf software solutions that may be useful to your business.

3. Consider broader opportunities

Introducing remote working means there may be opportunities to give your clients a better service.

For example, you may be able to offer extended opening hours because staff are not reliant on being in the office to access systems and processes. The fact they can work from anywhere means you could open earlier and/or close later if you wish, adding more value to your clients.

Additionally, depending on the nature of your work, you may be able to offer new services such as on-demand site visits because you’ve got a flexible workforce in the field.

4. Consider safety

Knowing where your staff are is critical to risk management. Your remote working software needs to allow remote workers to check-in, either when they’re working from home, from customer premises or from your work sites.

If they use company vehicles, mobile phones or laptops then you could also consider proactive tracking devices so you can see their location at any given moment.

Location visibility is just one piece of the jigsaw of course. If team members are not where you expect them to be, you need a system in place to ensure this is flagged in a timely manner so you can seek to make contact. This ensures you and your teams have the right safeguarding practices in place.

5. Digitise resource and asset management

As well as getting the best out of your people, your remote software solution could incorporate aspects of asset management.

For example, if staff need access to equipment, vehicles or PPE, your technology can make it easier for teams to book what they need and for everyone to see when the equipment will next be available.

You can also build in regular maintenance so the tools and equipment your teams need to do their jobs is always in good working order. Not only does this support productivity but it also solves a safety headache.

What to do next

The opportunities for managing productivity with remote staff are endless. In this article we’ve simply given a flavour of what might be possible – the right approach will very much depend on the specific needs of your business and your future plans.

If you would like to discuss how a bespoke software solution could benefit your business, please book a meeting with a member of our team.

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