As we all know by now, the last few months have been very challenging for individuals and businesses, for a variety of different reasons. The Coronavirus pandemic has changed many things in our world, including the way we travel, meet people and work. And unfortunately, this virus has led to tens of thousands of deaths worldwide, including an estimated 65,000 here in the United Kingdom.
The virus began to take hold in the UK at the beginning of March. A few days before the national lockdown began, LLA’s Managing Director Adrian Leigh decided that we would suspend our operations at our office based in Coalville, Leicestershire and switch to Remote Working, with all staff members working from home for the foreseeable future. As a company, we have a number of tutors who work remotely and have done for a number of years due to our presence in Europe and Africa. Several members of our core management team have also worked remotely from home a couple of days a week for many years, so we already had experience in Remote Working.
In the six months since the decision was taken, our team has continued to work from home for the duration of lockdown and since measures were relaxed. The switch to Remote Working has been successful, with no ill-effect to our day-to-day running of the company and no decline in support to our students, graduates and those enquiring about the courses we offer.
As a result of this, LLA has taken the decision to switch to a full Virtual Office, with all of our staff working remotely from wherever they are whether that be inside or outside the UK.
Following the initial six-month period of working from home, we found that there were three main benefits of switching to Remote Working; economic, environmental and staff wellbeing.
In economic terms, as with most companies, the costs of running an office are a considerable outlay and one of the main overheads, with money being spent on rent, electricity, phones and internet usage. With the money saved from the reduction in operational costs, we have invested in new technologies such as VoIP communications and video conferencing, remote support tools which support all of our staff members with technology based issues and software that allows LLA to remotely support students. We believe that the improvements we are making will help LLA to secure its position as the premier provider of Commercial and Humanitarian Logistics Qualifications.
The second benefit is environmental. Like most companies, LLA takes its commitment to reducing carbon emissions seriously. It is important that everyone considers their carbon footprint and how we can all try to reduce it wherever possible. Remote Working cuts out the need for expensive, carbon heavy commuting. At LLA, we have staff members from Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and Lincoln, as well as across the county of Leicestershire. We estimate that the total monthly distance travelled for all of our team members was around 3,800 miles and over 100 hours on the road! By switching to a Virtual Office, we will be reducing not only LLA’s carbon footprint, but all of our staff members’ too.
Finally, there is the wellbeing and morale of our staff. Whilst short and long distance commuting is bad for the environment, it can also be bad for those who sit behind the wheel. We calculated that the average time commuting was around 90 minutes per staff member per day – that’s 90 minutes sat on the road and in traffic. Speaking as a bus user, I know that public transport can be expensive, unreliable and, sometimes, uncomfortable so not having to worry about getting to a bus stop in time or worrying about how late I will get to the office or back home is a huge weight off my mind. It also helps to address the work-life balance which many people feel is often too one-sided towards work and getting to and from work. But there’s also big benefits in terms of productivity – a recent survey for Forbes found that productivity increased by a massive 47%! This means that companies who entrust in their staff and empower them to work remotely can also benefit from a big increase in what they do, and how much they do.
To our students, graduates and partners, we would like to stress that our switch to Remote Working will have no negative effect on our service to you – indeed, for many of the reasons stated, we actually anticipate that this change will improve our overall quality of service. We would like to thank you all for your support during this transition and we look forward to continuing to work with you all in the years to come.
We know that a Virtual Office won’t be suitable or appropriate for every business, or indeed for every worker. There are certainly plenty of challenges that a business must overcome in order to make Remote Working a reality. But our experience thus far has been very positive and we are all looking forward to this new and exciting progression as we build upon our new era.
As a result of us switching to a Virtual Office, our phone number has changed. Our new number is +44 (0) 330 133 3050 (local rates apply). We also have a new postal address: Logistics Learning Alliance Ltd, 62-64 Market Street, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, LE65 1AN, United Kingdom.