We only need to look around the globe at the ferocity of storms and the increased levels of flooding to know that global climate change is already having a detrimental effect. One of the biggest factors in environmental warming is the amount of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere every year. When you consider that worldwide 13% of carbon dioxide comes from transport, changes need to be made.
One way that most of us contribute to this carbon dioxide figure is through our commute to work. Over the last few years the government has attempted to reduce emissions from commuting by encouraging people to use public transport; to car share; or to purchase a bicycle tax-free through the cycle to work scheme.
Whilst these measures have had some positive impact a better solution still is for people to telecommute for at least part of the week. In some industries this is very much the norm but in fact a wide range of business types can benefit by allowing staff to work from home regularly.
Benefits of Telecommuting
Reduced Costs: Naturally the staff will benefit from not having to pay to travel to work. However, businesses also reap the benefits of reduced costs in terms of not having to pay for office space and associated expenses. There will often be a need for a central place where some departments work regularly, such as sales staff, finance and human resources, but this can often be provided by leasing a smaller building and then hot-desking or opting for a serviced office which can grow as your business does.
Wider Pool of Staff: Because you don’t need staff to be within commuting distance of your office, businesses have a much wider pool from which to recruit. Employees can live anywhere within the country or even abroad. Working from home can also be of benefit to staff as they need not spend any time travelling to work and this often fits better with family commitments.
Resources Which Make Telecommuting Possible
Recent changes in communication methods have made working from home much easier. Being able to store data in the cloud means staff can access files from wherever they are based. Video conferencing, instant messaging and screen share enable colleagues to work together on projects remotely and even clients can be met with virtually.
Retaining Client Contact
Of course while clients can be met with via video conferencing this should not be a substitute for face-to-face meetings, especially at the pre-sales stage. Serviced offices offer a place to meet but you may also need to extend your reach with more outbound marketing activities. Trade shows can be a good place to start as they allow you to showcase your products and services; meet with a wide range of potential clients in a short time; and bring awareness of what you offer to a new audience.
It is important to ensure you make the most of these events so purchase a well-designed, impactful stand; create roller banners which you can position to attract visitors; and make sure you have adequate marketing materials, including brochures and business cards, available. When you run your business from home these types of events become your store window so they need to be effective. They are also worth the investment when you compare what they cost to what you could pay for office space if you didn’t work from home.
In our increasingly globalised world it is becoming normal for people to run businesses from their own homes. As long as clients can reach you easily via telephone and can find you via your window on the world, namely your website, they will not question your lack of a city centre office. With the need to reduce transport emissions around the world, the green approach you take to commuting can even be a strong marketing point.