2020 saw a significant shift in the employment industry. For the first time, remote working became a necessity for millions, rather than an optional tool for the flexibility offered by a select few employers. Figures for work-from-home teams skyrocketed for small businesses and remote employment became the new normality. Yet as the dust settles, and people start to return to traditional office space, will we return to the way things were — or is this an opportunity for your business to grow? Remote working has many promising advantages, but perhaps most attractive of all is the ability to cut small business costs.
The cultural shift to remote working in 2020 was born out of necessity, but that does not mean it won't have a huge impact.
In 2019, only around 30% of the UK work population worked from home. The report, documented by government-back ONS (Office of National Statistics) suggests many of these weren't full-time remote workers either. To be counted in the total percentage of workforce included in the data, they only had to have worked from home once.
For most, working from home once was not an option — it was something many small business enterprises had not considered or didn't think was viable. However, as a business owner, you may now be witnessing the ways remote work can benefit your business first hand.
With remote working a necessity, instead of looking to ways of surviving until traditional environments reopened, 2020 became the year when an opportunity for small business setups arose to experience the advantages of remote work.
By being forced to adapt, many have had their eyes opened.
Working from home has frequently been reported as a powerful way to reduce costs for any small business. These reports aren't new - some date back over a decade, to a time where systems like cloud technologies had only just become viable. The cost savings for small business enterprises aren't just short-term; they exist for the long run and can provide almost every business operating today a chance to cut costs without compromising on quality or service. But how can your business save money through remote work?
With the cost benefits of remote working clear as day, business owners will want to look at ways to develop long-term remote working practices that offer sustained reductions in costs. So how do you make sure you keep enjoying the advantages of remote work? When it comes to ways to reduce expenses, the simple act of working from home enables money to be saved. However, for home-office work to be viable, you need to create a business infrastructure that supports it.
The answer is very simple, and we've already touched upon it in this article:
Cloud technology is an innovation of the 21st-century that slowly but surely changed the business landscape forever, and has become the most influential technology to spread across the entire commercial landscape since the advent of the computer. The usefulness of cloud technology for remote work is all in the way it is fundamentally designed to operate.
At the start of the new millennium, we were introduced to the digital revolution. Amazing new software and hardware came into existence that turbo-charged the way we completed tasks. From project management to monitoring finances, we could dramatically improve work efficiency by using technology. The problem with this way of working was all the technology was in-house. It was stored on business computers and maintained by onsite servers. If you wanted to achieve the amazing things technology offered from home, you needed to bring all that technology home with you, which was expensive, took up loads of space, and just wasn’t possible — certainly not for all employees.
But cloud technology makes it possible.
Cloud technology is all the advanced systems you use but stored on somebody else's server. Instead of storing systems locally, you use the internet to access them. The data-speeds of the web are now so fast there is no discernible difference in functionality and performance between accessing a piece of software on your server and accessing software housed on a server thousands of miles away.
For a long time, the cloud was not viable outside of data backups and storage. However, as technology has aged and become more accessible to program developers, and the demand for the platform has increased, more and more solutions have become available. You can now find all software solutions provided through the cloud. From eFax cloud faxing, which lets you remove fax machines and send fax online, to cloud accounting software that lets you manage business finances over the web, the opportunities to integrate cloud systems are endless.
We no longer need local software to perform essential business tasks. Instead, we can move to the cloud, which also offers the benefits of added security, backups and scalability.
What this means for remote work is it has become almost universally viable. In the digital age — where we are reliant on computer software to complete work — there are very few areas of task management where you cannot find a cloud system to support your goals. Individuals don't need to come into the office to complete their work for a business. They can access the systems they need through personal computers from their home office instead.
Cloud software is key to any business that wants to take advantage of the remote-working revolution and cut costs. Make sure you build a full awareness of the cloud solutions available to you, and you'll soon find ways to reduce business costs through remote work.
With cloud systems as a base of work competition, you can develop systems to support your work — including communications platforms and apps that monitor work completed. For more information on supportive technology, be sure to read our blog on the best home-office tech in 2020 for remote work.
Some industries require a physical presence.
From retail and hospitality to manufacturing and production, sometimes it is impossible to take a small business completely remote. But, if you're seeking to reduce business costs by working from home, you can still apply the advice highlighted above to sections of your operation.
Management strategies and administrative tasks don't need to be run from the warehouse where they are implemented, for example. One way to save costs in industries that require a traditional style of work is to adapt processes that can be carried out from home without compromising those that can't.
The cloud technologies mentioned in this article allow business owners to not only connect with third-parties but also their staff. Other examples include ideas like using eFax to send internal documents from your home office to a storage facility or collaborating on supply order forms remotely with those in a warehouse checking stock via cloud-based accounting tools.
Change the way you think about remote work. Take advantage of the tools available to help you, and you can save large sums of money by being a business that works from home. eFax works to help you achieve this goal. Offering cloud-based technology that includes document management systems, e-signatures and, of course, business-to-business faxing functionality, eFax is a vital tool for your work-from-home business. Sign up today!