Why Train strikes promote a move to telecommuting

UK Train strikes should promote a move to even more telecommuting and encourage people to work remotely from home.

As the latest strike by Southern train drivers is under way. These are part of six day-long stoppages planned in January 2017. Businesses are looking again at remote working or telecommuting and allowing people to work from home.

Telecommuting has several benefits. In my experience these are the top 5.

  1. Companies save money
  2. It saves staff money
  3. It improves the work life blend
  4. It reduces carbon emission and other environmental benefits
  5. It allows for more reliable “attendance” at work

I do understand that it is not all positives as every situation needs various assessments. I want to focus for now on the positives and the reasons why lots of business see telecommuting as part of the mix for the working environment. So lets quickly look at these 5 benefits.

  1. Telecommuting saves company money
    Here are 5 key ways that companies save money
    – Increased productivity – Provided distractions can be kept low telecommuters can be more productive
    – Lower overhead – By using hot desking in the office employers can make massive savings even if they only allow work from home 50% of the time. Reduction in all office costs are available.
    – Higher staff retention – Hiring staff is expensive and due to lower stress and better work life blend staff are more loyal if the can work from home for at least some of the time.
    – Fewer sick days – Staff are less likely to go sick through stress and personal issues and when they do they will return to work as soon as the issue or sickness is resolved.
    – Decreased travel costs – Fairly obvious one this, less travel equals lower costs.
  2. Saves staff money
    For people paying their own travel costs the saving can be significant, and without the travel time to factor in childcare costs can also be reduced.
  3. Improved work life blend
    Small personal chores can be worked into tea and lunch breaks meaning people feel that their home. This  and work life become more of a blend. Also other personal priorities such as taking exercise is easier in your home environment.
  4. Reduces emissions and other environmental benefits
    Less travel means fewer emissions and fewer vehicles on the roads, less crowded trains, trams and buses. Yes there is more energy being used at home and this is offset by less energy used in the office. Overall the effect is positive.
  5. It allows for more reliable “attendance” at work
    Sickness is not the only reason why staff don’t attend. The rail strikes, other industrial action, poor weather, accidents and congestion all contribute to absents and lateness. The commute down the stairs is much more reliable.

So these are just some of the reasons why companies should look again at allowing people to telecommute, work remotely from their homes or satellite offices.

Modern IT facilities this easily through the use of reliable and secure cloud technologies such as Microsoft Office 365. Now that fibre broadband is available across more of the country many of our homes can be seamlessly connected to the office network. Phones systems which once had to live in an office can now live in the cloud and businesses can use systems such as 3CX to connect its employees with telecoms as well as data.

If we take this to its ultimate conclusion, then many companies of the future will cease to have offices at all and exist globally distributed to where suits its employees and employers.

Company Staff do need to meet from time to time to keep the business relationships alive. The company can and should use some of the saving to create quality time for employees to interact and grow together.

Modern companies will be employee focused and stop doing things one way because “that’s the way we have always done it”.

It is time for a change.

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