It has been predicted that 50% of UK workforce will work remotely by 2020. The PR industry is highly suited to remote working because employees are used to spending lots of time remotely speaking to clients and journalists already.
For the employee
1. Little or no commuting
When you work remotely, chances are you’re working from home or in a local shared office space. Anyone who’s experienced London in rush hour knows that commuting can be long and stressful – putting you in a bad mood before you even reach the office.
2. It doesn’t matter where you live
Live in the middle of nowhere? Touring around the world? As long as you have a decent WiFi connection and a laptop (or even a phone) you can stay connected with colleagues and clients from anywhere.
3. Fit work around your home life
Remote working provides better flexibility. It often allows you to work during the hours that are better suited to you, giving better work-life balance.
4. Less distracted workspace
When you work remotely you have more opportunity to focus on your tasks without the potential interruptions from your colleagues.
5. Meet with purpose
When the team does need a face-to-face meeting, or when you have a conference call, it’s more likely to be organised, focused and beneficial because it takes more to get everyone in the same place at once.
For the company
6. Lower overheads
By ditching the swanky city office you can focus more money on campaigns, clients and employees.
7. Can pass on the savings to clients
You can offer better deals to your clients because you don’t need to cover the cost of your offices.
8. Increased productivity
Many studies have shown (and remote workers will tell you) that by working in a dedicated space at a time that suits them, they are able to be much more productive than in an office environment.
9. Happier and more motivated employees
Your employees are able to have a good work-life balance and spend more time on the things outside of work that matter to them.
For the planet
10. Reduced carbon
Without the long commute and extra power needed to run a full office, remote working is the environmentally friendly choice.
I asked four remote workers why they prefer it:
Ben Cole, Campaign Manager, Babel PR
“For me, remote working was an obvious choice. I’d moved out of London (the location of Babel’s HQ) to Cardiff, and had the support from my bosses and team, so swapped the long commute for a far richer lifestyle. I’ve cut down a twice-daily hour-and-a-half door-to-door slog to a stroll of about 20 seconds (30 on a slow day), and I have far more time to pursue other hobbies, whether that’s writing, cycling (slowly), cooking, or tending to my bonsai tree. From a professional perspective, I find I can concentrate more on longer-lead activities, and have learnt to be more organised with myself and with communicating with members of my teams. It’s also far easier than before to switch off from work, which helps with the quality of work I produce, as I’m a lot more rested. It’s the best choice I’ve made.”
Jennifer Macdonald-Nethercott, Marketing Manager, Meatsnacks group
“I work remotely for the Meatsnacks Group who make Wild West Beef `Jerky and Cruga Biltong as their part time marketing manager. With the head office in Milton Keynes, remote working has allowed me to remain based in the Highlands of Scotland with my family. Giving me the quality of life that I want to lead by being close to the mountains, along with working for a company that is selling its products internationally.
Remote working means I can be at home for my children but also close to an airport to be able to travel worldwide for meetings and events. It is the best of all worlds.”
Louisa Magnussen, Content and Social Media Manager, Onyx
“At Onyx Media and Communications, we can all work both flexibly and remotely. If it wasn’t for this fact I probably wouldn’t be working at all. I sometimes suffer from severe anxiety and it can stop me leaving the house. In the past, I have had to leave jobs because I couldn’t cope with the typical office environment. I prefer to work on my own and can feel self-conscious working in front of other people. Working from home means that I don’t have to cope with this and am ultimately far more productive.
At Onyx, I can work when it suits me from where it suits me. If I’m having a difficult day I can change my timetable and as long as I get my work done, to a high standard, my boss Anne Cantelo is happy. Working remotely and flexibly has improved my confidence, reduced my anxiety and proven to me that I am well enough to work.”
Charlotte Dunworth, HR and Legal Director, E-Cigarette Direct
“January, 2012. The chill wind drove right through my coat as I stood waiting for a train, a gruelling commute ahead. Others day I would spend three hours at a time in the car, in the dark and pouring rain, staring glumly at huge queues of red lights! I wanted more. I wanted time with my partner, I wanted to have children, and I wanted to enjoy having children.
Fast forward 6 years and things are very different. I took the plunge, and now work from home most days of the week. I have two gorgeous children – and, more than that, I actually have time to spend with them. I’ve also removed hours of commuting.
I do still travel, and usually meet up with my team for in-person meetings and one to ones at least once a month. I find this is vital for team spirit – some things are just not communicated as well via the phone and digital meetings! But that’s two days away from home instead of an extra four hours a day.
Not everything is perfect, of course. Remote working can lead to feelings of, well, remoteness. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
Do you work remotely and have anything to add? Let us know in the comments section below.