Workplace flexibility is a key topic in the future of work that the pandemic has only accelerated. However, there are multiple benefits of employees working remotely for organizations that go beyond pandemic prevention.
The future of work can’t be envisioned without flexibility. Companies across the world are asking employees to work from home. Hence, remote work has become the new normal for businesses and workers alike.
So the question is this — is the trend of remote work economically justified for companies, or is it just a natural result of an ever-evolving workforce that’s craving modern convenience?
Benefits of working remotely
In this article, we’ll break down some of the benefits of working remotely for companies. We will also offer some tips on how to implement a more flexible approach to existing working practices that could boost your company’s profits.
1. Significant increase in productivity
Multiple studies have shown that remote workers are 20% to 25% more productive than employees in an office. There are fewer distractions when you work from home. Moreover, there are multiple opportunities to take breaks exactly when needed.
Psychologists believe that being allowed to work in a flexible way helps with –
- Overall performance
- And, boosting the employee’s quality of life.
Even though many employers are concerned about the potential lack of productivity of remote workers, the majority of them actually find the contrary to be true.
Workers can set up a virtual office that is void of distractions and comfortable at the same time. A dedicated workstation at home makes sure they are more productive than working in a typical office.
For example, some jobs, particularly in the tech industry, require employees to work in blocks of time. It means that they need to focus for several hours at a time. A separate workspace where they can work without interactions is vital for productivity in such situations. And this is why remote work became so popular in this particular industry.
2. Communication becomes more efficient
Thanks to the advent of project management solutions, it’s very easy to get the entire team on the same page even when team members have never seen each other in real life.
By keeping all files, communication, and approvals in a single accessible place, companies can eliminate time lost sifting through email chains or going back and forth discussing the state of the project face-to-face.
Working from home wouldn’t be possible without the amazing improvements in technology we have today. From fast Wi-Fi connections to cloud computing and project management software, team members can communicate and collaborate instantaneously.
There are some who believe that a remote workforce is a disparate workforce. But fortunately, this is simply not the case thanks to the array of communication tools available today.
3. Improved employee retention
There are multiple benefits for allowing employees to work remotely when it comes to employee retention. You won’t lose any of your employees if they move or during pregnancy and early motherhood. In most cases, employees are more likely to continue to work during pregnancy. Sometimes, they reduce their work hours because they have the flexibility of working from home.
Having a job that allows for flexible hours is a big requirement for more and more candidates, particularly for millennials. This means that by allowing employees to work remotely, you can choose from a wide range of candidates instead of being limited to those who are able to commute to the office.
In fact, 77% of employees take into account flexible work arrangements as an important consideration when evaluating future job opportunities, according to research from Zenefits.
Overall, offering remote work makes companies more competitive because it improves their ability to attract and retain top talent. With 35% of employees being willing to change jobs if that meant the ability to work remotely full-time. Offering full or partial remote work to employees could make the difference for candidates selecting their next career move.
All of the factors above improve employee retention. This is especially important if you are a company that spends a lot of time training staff.
4. Lower business costs
Introducing remote work in your organization will also help you save money. The two key areas where you’ll see costs reduced are offices and salaries.
By allowing some of your workers to work remotely, you will need less office space. It is also possible that you may eliminate the need for an office altogether. Not only will you save money on office space rent, but you’ll also reduce or eliminate costs associated with office furniture, supplies and equipment. You’ll also don’t have to worry about huge utility bills.
When it comes to salaries, the savings might not be so obvious as in the case of office space. But in the long run, you can save money on salaries or employees who work from home. According to a Global Workplace Analytics study, 36% of employees would choose to telecommute over a pay raise.
5. Maximized engagement
Companies achieve employee engagement when their teams are invested and enthusiastic about their tasks and the work they do. In the absence of employee engagement, your business may suffer and deal with high turnover rates.
Personal life stress is one of the main culprits for a low day-to-day engagement at work. An employee may worry about their children at home and constantly check their phone to verify the kids are safe. Unfortunately, they may not be completely engaged at work.
However, if the same employee could work from home, that problem wouldn’t exist. Because of being around their kids, they would be able to know immediately if something went wrong. Thus they can focus on their work instead of spending precious time worrying.
Even though remote working is a good way to boost engagement, telecommuting every day may also limit it, too. Some remote employees get lonely without the office environment and the face-to-face interactions with their coworkers, which may result in lower engagement.
Many companies find that a mix of the two is best for maximizing engagement. By allowing employees to work remotely while also requiring attendance in the office some days of the week, it’s easy to achieve the perfect balance that offers you most of the benefits of working remotely while also keeping your staff engaged.
6. Reduced absenteeism
Companies that allow employees to work remotely typically notice that fewer employees call out. Many office employees don’t necessarily want to take time off work when they’re sick. They do so anyway because they’re afraid they might infect their coworkers. If they have the option to work from home, they can work safely from the comfort of their home office or even from their bed.
Busy schedules are another cause of absenteeism. Employees sometimes need time off to take care of emergencies or doctor’s appointments. Employees who work from home can organize their day better, as they can easily schedule their chores and appointments around work.
Commuting to work results in absences sometimes, simply because employees may have car trouble, or they missed the train. Not having to commute eliminates all these problems, so you won’t have to deal with absences for unexpected reasons.
The lack of commuting also has a positive impact on the morale of the employees. So by eliminating the need of getting up in the morning to drive to work, your company will benefit in multiple ways.
7. Accommodate special needs
Remote working has made it possible for employees with mental health concerns and physical disabilities to drastically improve their lives. By not having to deal with the stress and constrictions of the office, employees can provide themselves with adequate self-care.
Moreover, in the case of employees with physical disabilities, their homes can be fully equipped to help them be comfortable and productive when they work. These conditions may be difficult to replicate in a regular office. So companies that allow employees to work remotely can tap into a deeper pool of workers who would otherwise not consider the position.
8. Have flexible hours
Not all employees have the same energy levels and personal schedules, which means that the nine to five working model is not a realistic one for most employees. Most workers point out that the main benefit of working from home is the ability to set their own hours.
Having the flexibility to meet personal obligations, family needs, and other life responsibilities allows employees to work when they feel fresh and rested to accomplish most. In a traditional work environment, workers are forced to be morning persons and perform at their best during a specific set of hours.
With a high percentage of the population being night owl who perform better outside the typical business hours, companies that allow employees to work remotely can benefit from a significant boost in productivity across their teams.
9. Building company culture and loyalty
Many organizations spend years building the perfect teams of dedicated and talented employees. They also want to be able to hold on to those teams for as long as possible.
Building company culture is a very difficult thing to do, and if employees come and go, it destabilizes the teams. Hence organizations need to spend extra time not just recruiting, but also making sure they do all they can to integrate new employees into the existing teams.
By allowing employees to work remotely, you don’t have to worry that you’ll lose any of your talent when they decide to move to another city or even another country. They can continue to work just as they did before, so you won’t have to give up on them and start fresh with another team member.
Moreover, making it easy for employees to balance their professional and personal life often means they are grateful and happy. This recognition typically translates into loyalty to the company and high productivity. Employees who feel appreciated have no issues with working overtime to finish an urgent project. On the other hand, discontent employees are far less productive and less willing to go above and beyond.
10. Work gets done around the clock
Another benefit of allowing employees to work remotely is the fact that work can be done around the clock. With location-based teams, all work gets done during office hours on site. But with a remote or distributed team, someone will always be around to answer questions and solve any problems.
Getting work done around the clock is particularly important for companies with a large customer service base that needs to be online non-stop. Productivity also gets a boost with this type of arrangement, as a second team can pick up right where the first team left off.
With no gaps in work and coordinated communication, companies can boost their productivity and output in ways that are simply no possible just during office hours at the location where your team is based.
The concept of being able to work anywhere at any time is more than just a turn-of-the-century workplace trend. It is in fact the future state of work and with technology becoming more advanced, work can be just as effective even though teams are no longer physically in the same room.
It’s time for employers and employees alike to consider the benefits of working remotely and embrace the new normal in the workplace.
About the Author
Christian Carella is the co-founder of Search Remotely. Search Remotely is a marketplace where existing and aspiring remote workers can find new employment opportunities, up-skill, and book co-living and co-working spaces globally.