If you run your own business, you’ll appreciate the need to save money and cut costs wherever possible – but have you ever considered flexible working as a way to cut overheads?
Maybe you were forced into remote working during the numerous lockdowns of the last couple of years and found it saved your business some much needed cash when things were tight?
Employees may even have found a better work/life balance and bank balance through working from home.
If none of this sounds familiar, then it might be time to reconsider your thoughts on remote working. Not only do the UK’s flexible working laws mean more and more workers can benefit from working from home, offering the option could be the difference between hiring and retaining the best people and having a high turnover of staff.
And before you get into a blind panic about employees not pulling their weight while at home, consider that research from the London School of Economics found those who are offered flexible working are actually happier and more productive workers. Then consider the savings you could make…
Do you need business premises?
Renting floor space is one of the biggest outlays faced by small businesses. If employees are working from home you might be able to completely cut this overhead from your balance sheet.
Obviously, some businesses need a physical premises to operate from, but if your work is office-based then it might not be worth taking on a new lease at the next renewal. Even if you switch to hybrid working – whereby some days are done at home and others in the office – then you might be able to save money by moving to a smaller office. This could also help you save money on utility bills.
Working remotely means you’re not geographically restricted when hiring employees. This means you might be able to attract the best talent from across the country, and it could save you money if your business is London-based and you don’t need to pay capital weighted wages.
The location of your workplace will also affect how much you pay in rent, so you could save money by relocating the business. A study from Bionic, the business comparison experts, has found that Northampton and Leicester offer some of the cheapest office space in the UK at £70 per m2. This rises to £114 in Portsmouth and up to £125 in Edinburgh.
The study concludes that Southampton is the best city for independent businesses in the UK – you can find out why at The Indie Economy Index.
How much could a flexible workforce save you?
Data from Global Workplace Analytics – a company conducting independent research and consults on workplace issues and opportunities – shows how companies can save an average of $11,000 (6,810) per year for every employee who spends half of their time working remotely.
- Around $3,000 (£1,857) is saved per telecommuter in reduced office sizes and utility bills
- $5,750 (£3,560) is saved per telecommuter by increasing productivity
- $750 (£464) per telecommuter by decreasing turnover through increased flexibility and happiness
- And $1,100 (£681) per telecommuter due to the fact that remote workers are less likely to take sick days
These numbers don’t include estimated health care savings – people who work from home are able to take better care of themselves due to a better work/life balance.
And although the research is US based, there’s no reason why the figures won’t stack up on this side of the Atlantic.
However, to reap the benefits, you must make a sure employees stick to some strict work from home rules.
The work from home rules
Get dressed for work each morning – even though you might be sat at home all day getting dressed for work will help you get in the working mindset. Sitting around in your joggers all day can have a negative affect on productivity.
Separate business and pleasure – although you may be tempted to sit in the living room, working from your laptop with the telly on, this is a sure fire way to waste time. So set up a separate workspace away from all the distractions of home.
Keep in touch with your team – you need to be able to conduct your business from home exactly as you would while in the office, so keep in touch with colleagues over email and conference call.
And for more top tips, read our guide How to work from home.