Over the past year or so, working from home, or remote working, has become a prominent thing in the UK and many other countries. For this reason, agile consulting firm Fractal Systems wanted to look into how remote working can benefit business agility and success. Although we mentioned working from home, a common feature of many peoples lives at the moment, we are going to be looking at remote working on a broader scale, in which teams of people can work from where they please.
What is remote working?
Remote working is a style of work that allows employees to engage in their jobs outside of the classic office environment. This means that as opposed to commuting to the office to work for the day, employees can do work on the move, from home or in many different walks of life, dependent on what technology and devices are needed to complete work. The benefits of this are allowing people to structure their work around their personal life too, to keep employee morale up. In the modern day, remote working is easier than ever, with the versatility of smartphones and other wireless devices that allow us to complete tasks in a way that was never previously possible.
What is business agility?
The key factor to a business with an agile culture is to act quickly when a problem arises. Companies that operate in this way will leverage the skills and capabilities of individuals to react to market changes and harness technology to help them do so. Some of they key features of business agility are:
- Companies often work in a flatter structure, as opposed to hierarchical, with a strong leader(s)
- The company vision is common knowledge, shared by the whole team
- Technology is largely embraced
- There is a lot of information sharing and learning that allows teams to respond quickly to changes
Why does remote working help business agility?
1. You can choose your workforce from a wider range of people
When you allow employees to work remotely, there is no worries about where the office is located and how much it will cost to commute to work. This means that you can employee people that would not normally choose to go for that particular job. Therefore, you are able to hand pick your talent from a wider range of people and tailor your team to fit the exact needs and skills that you require. Due to this, you are able to have the perfect team that meets your agile needs, without worrying about where they are located.
Alongside this, teams are often more refreshed and happy when they are not travelling to and from an office every day, so they are likely to work quickly and respond to change well, which is a vital component of agile.
2. Easy access to work
Whilst working remotely, employees generally have easy access to work, which once again, makes reacting quickly to change much easier. This is due to the fact that these people will have laptops, mobile phones and tablets and often be able to work on the move. This is another reasy why technology is a key part to remote working and agile, the two work hand in hand.
3. Frees up money
In cases where the company does not own an office at all, they are saving a lot of money on overheads, which is of course a great benefit for any business. This is relevant to agile because it allows businesses to take more risks with the spare money that they have, and put money into projects that need to be undertaken quickly, which as we know, are important things to agile.
4. Discussions can be quicker
We have mentioned time and again how reacting quickly to market changes and problems in the business is the most vital step in business agility, and remote working makes this very easy. Rather than waiting for a meeting to be set up and everybody arriving, remote teams can use instant messaging, phone calls and video calls to host meetings very quickly, allowing decisions to be made very quickly in turn.