Are you heading to the office today? By 2020, three out of four workers will say, “What office?” Working remotely will become the default option for most U.S. workers within the next few years, according to a recent report by the IDC. Already more than 96.2 workers spend at least part of their time working remotely. This practice will become SOP (standard operating procedure) for 72.3 percent of the U.S. workforce by 2020.
Why is the traditional office structure fading away? Reason number one is competition. The IDC found that over two-thirds of companies (69.1 percent) lowered their Opex and Capex by switching to remote work.
The second key driver rests with productivity improvements from new technologies like the cloud, wearables, voice-activated devices, near-field communications (NFC), virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). That’s how innovative companies are taking their businesses in new directions.
Here are five ideas on how remote working options can help you drop expenses, streamline operations and expand into new markets.
1. The Home Office
The typical business saves $11,000 per person per year by allowing employees to work from home at least 50 percent of the time. Companies attract better talent by offering flexible schedules, and their workers tend to be far more productive. There are many studies that show a more engaged workforce is positively correlated with higher profitability. Recent advances in mobile applications, distributed IT infrastructures and Wi-Fi have converged to become a win-win for enterprises and their employees.
2. Coworking Spaces
Setting up an office has always been considered a costly but necessarily barrier to entry for startups, while also being a symbol of success. These factors are fading away as the sharing economy makes coworking spaces more practical; the popularity of these spaces has lead to a major expansion of coworking spaces in 2016. In addition to lowering costs and strengthening local business networks, these spaces offer benefits that normal real estate can’t offer, like business concierge services, free event space and group discounts to local retailers.
3. Virtual Offices
The best way to boost revenues is to go where the customers are. What’s new is that business travel no longer has to slow down operations. Cloud-based applications and secure access to the company intranet put essential business data on the screen of any mobile device. Documents, presentations and even ERP data can be just a mobile screen away for instant decision support.
4. Opening Up Your Business to the Customer
What if your customers did some of your work for you? Customers today want solution portals that help them resolve issues independently, and if they have to contact someone, 90 percent say speed is their top concern. For 86 percent of callers and 55 percent of customers on social media, they expect their problems to be resolved in less than four hours. To meet those expectations, companies are transitioning to cloud-based infrastructures that grant customer access to essential business applications, such as scheduling or inventory databases. This transition also requires more intricate security safeguards, but the rewards are stronger customer loyalty, less resources spent on problem resolution and healthier profits.
5. International Collaboration
One of the biggest technological advances in the past few years doesn’t get a lot of press: intelligent logistics. However, the impact on business has been vast, making it possible to reliably work with longer supply chains, smarter sourcing and mass personalization. Collaboration tech can now put a virtual presence nearly anywhere on the planet without the expensive travel costs.
Working Remotely: Dreams Made Real
These ideas are not just dreams for large enterprises. They are technologies making life easier right now for enterprises of all sizes. Let IT Authorities help you nvestigate which factors are limiting your business, and you’ll see how remote working options can take away your limitations.