With more and more people expecting and demanding flexible working, lots of small business owners are stuck with where to turn and determine if remote working is right for their business.

Many business owners today came from an era where work meant going to a single place of work. Line of sight leadership meant you could see what workers were doing or not doing or so they thought.

The idea that if you cannot be seen you cannot be working was and probably still is most business owners default standing.

So now in 2015 we are right at that turning point, most workers want some form of remote working capability and most businesses are not set-up technically or more so not ready from a trust standpoint.

The reality

The reality is really quite different, and getting the right leadership and the right culture means remote working can enable some amazing things to happen.

If you would speak to those that do run complete virtual companies with no or little office space you will find a big problem is actually stopping some from working.  What normally happens when people start to work from home or a 3rd space such as a coffee shop they over compensate as they feel they are being judged. They send more emails and get more done so everyone knows they are on-line and more importantly working.

You find the quality of work is better as people are more relaxed and with less distractions. There are less last minute meetings that go over and on for hours. There is less idle chat and tea making.

People will end up putting more hours in. With no commute that time often ends up being productive time instead.

Recruitment could mean you can employ people from anywhere in the world if the time can be worked out. If not global at least nationally. This gives you a much bigger pool of talent to choose from.

The down sides

There are of course down sides to enabling remote working. There is a cost of course to have the right technology in place. This could be enabling your line of business applications to be available from a remote location or it could be collaboration software and communications to enable staff to talk and share information.

There is also the energy that come by being in the same place. There is no doubt great ideas can spark by being together and conversations that would never of normally happened.

You also need a change to your employee handbook to cover remote working and potentially to your health and safety policy as well to ensure that all bases are covered.

Is it worth it?

When the right culture is in place and remote working becomes an option and a choice for employees then it can really reap the rewards. The technology is available and affordable and in most cases already in place. Getting the basics in place and more importantly your head around a culture of measurement by output and less about presenteeism. I can understand that this is a major change from traditional ways of working but the world has changed and is going to continue to change. If having remote working adds a positive angle and potentially competitive edge then I encourage you to explore it further and consider trialling it with a department where it makes the most sense.