AJS South Africa


Last week I wrote on how we experienced the fortunate outcome of our remote work software development making us, and our clients, part of the green revolution against climate change.

This week I discuss another valuable consequence of remote work software being cost savings. In some cases, substantial cost savings.

So I started reading up about this and virtually all articles on the topic are reactive to the Covid pandemic. This, you’ll be pleased to know, is not about that.  We have all had a bit too much of that already. I want to talk about something that is important to all of us. It’s about having smart, work from anywhere software and saving costs at the same time. 

The financial cost savings associated with remote work are numerous. Some obvious and others less so but more interesting. I encourage you to do your own research as each firm will experience different cost savings and percentage reductions. 

 Seemingly obvious savings.

  1. Travel (a) – employees can save between R 30,000 and R 75,000 per annum according to estimates done in the USA in 2018. While this may not directly save the company money it can be introduced as a perk or in lieu of a raise. Stats show 56% of workers are able to work from home and 80% want to work from home at least some of the time.
  2. Travel (b) – employers can save on numerous and various travel expenses. Just think of virtual multi branch meetings instead of huge flight, hotel and venue hire costs. Then think about fuel, parking,  wear and tear, depreciation and so on.
  3. Travel (c) –  lost hours – think about the hours lost commuting and stuck in traffic not to mention the frustration.
  4. Office rental and maintenance – a pretty obvious one – and easier to calculate knowing your own particular circumstances. Law firms should be able to reduce their office space by at least 20% to 30%. Then, of course there are the ancillary costs such as cleaning, office furniture, décor etc. that would all be reduced with a lesser square meterage.
  5. Food, beverage and refreshment requirements will be less.

Some of the less obvious and more interesting benefits and savings:

  1. Hiring from areas where salaries are lower. Salary expectations differ from town to town so you could hire people from a geographical area with less personal costs and a reduced salary expectation. This extends into opening a branch office very economically as well. 
  2. You can also choose a more economical place to live. There is a trend towards “semigration” where business people are choosing the remote, small town lifestyle and still earning the big city package – as long as the broadband is good.
  3. Increased productivity. A Stanford study indicates a 13% increase in productivity for remote workers over office bound ones.
  4. Clothing – You will not require as many expensive office suits as before.
  5. Reduced attrition due to a happier and healthier workforce.
  6. You don’t have to worry about workers bringing their colds and flu to the office and infecting everyone else.
  7. You can be a whole lot more flexible with your appointments and schedules.

How do I know if my systems can be accessed remotely?

So all round it is a bit of a no brainer that you should consider the remote work model for some, if not the majority of your workforce. In most cases this would have to be phased in incrementally to ensure continuity and to give notice to landlords and so forth. You would also have to ensure that your remote work systems are in place and robust. At AJS and Xpressdox, we are in an ideal a position to provide you with advice the system side of things and there is no obligation. 

If you are on AJS already then you are one step closer to being able to enjoy the cost savings of remote work. If you are not on AJS then you need to make sure that your systems can be accessed remotely before you start telling staff it’s OK to work from home. Your software must be fully web based to make this practically and economically viable. The first port of call will be to ask your IT service provider for an independent assessment on your systems. You could also approach your software vendor for a written assessment and proposal. Be careful though. Some vendors call their systems “web” or “cloud” and get around this by installing additional access software systems such as remote desktop/terminal services etc. This is clumsy, slow and backward and not at all recommended for optimum remote work accessibility. Remember – if you cannot access your system from an internet browser (e.g. Google chrome) in much the same way as you access your on line banking app then it is NOT truly “web based “or “cloud” and you will experience accessibility and performance problems. But call us, we will be happy to help out.

Contributed by: Digby Vickers – Director at AJS

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