There were calls for remote working before COVID-19

Due to COVID-19 plenty of employees may find themselves working from home, however, it is worth remembering that this is something people were calling for since before the pandemic broke out as people believe it can increase wellbeing.

Daniele Fiandaca, co-founder at culture change business Utopia explains why his company operated a remote working system prior to the lockdown.

Mr Fiandaca said:

Utopia has operated remotely since its inception in 2017, simply because it felt like the right thing to do.

We wanted to ensure that the business was as agile (not having to pay rent during this period has certainly proven to be a perk) and inclusive as possible. This meant recognising that while physical offices fast-track belonging and team-building for many, they can be extremely exclusive for others. The idea of a fixed working day at a single physical location can provide real challenges for so many: parents, carers, those who are neurodivergent, and those who have disabilities.

We had to work hard from the outset to provide a real sense of psychological safety across the team and ensure that trust was at the core of our business; we trust all of our team and check in with a genuine interest. This has allowed us to confidently operate our business without physically seeing the day-to-day operations, and has helped us build a real sense of belonging – something that is fundamental for remote teams to thrive.

In February, Glide Business, an utilities and communication company, in its report “Remote working: a practical safety guide for businesses”, it states that between 2008 to 2018, remote working increased by 74 per cent.

With 68 per cent saying they would like to work flexibly but it is not “currently available”.

Remote working has been connected to increased wellbeing of employees as well as helping with recruitment and supporting the business. Also, above three-quarters (77 per cent) of employees say that flexibility is important to them.

James Warner, managing director of Glide Business said:

Where people once expected to travel to a place of work, clock in and stay there until eight hours later, employees are demanding more freedom. One of the biggest influencing factors has been the emergence of the digital economy.

Traditionally, companies needed a physical presence to do business, but this is no longer a prerequisite, and many now exist solely to provide online services, or make their money from intangible assets, like software.

These changes are making it less essential for employees to be physically present at their place of work in order for their task to be completed, but evolving your business to provide this facility for employees isn’t without its challenges.

It’s crucial that businesses embed a culture that is applicable inside and outside of the physical office, while a secure server, VPN access and a reliable superfast broadband connection are also essential for remote working facilitation.