In 2017, according to Gallup, 40% of American workers were working from home at least part of the time. The number at the end of 2018 is certain to be higher. As people shift their focus to work-life balance, this is going to become an even more common request of employees. While it is easy to worry about things like productivity or output when you can’t physically see your employees during business hours, a transition to a remote working program can have a positive impact on retention and job satisfaction.
Lower Business Costs
It seems obvious, but there is money to be saved in a remote office set up. It can mean either totally ditching your shared office space or being able to downsize to a smaller space. Businesses often keep a central office where a few employees do need or prefer to be present daily or almost daily, and within that office space they have a few shared desk for when remote employees need to come into the office. This means less expenses for rent, desks, office equipment, office supplies, and more. While it is still important to provide home office equipment like laptops and printers for your remote employees, that cost is much less significant than those tied to an on site employee.
Higher Employee Retention
This is such a big one. The number one group that ends of retained: parents. As families face the decision to stay or exit the workforce when they have children, remote work provides a happy medium. It gives parents the opportunity to keep working and not need to worry about finding positions that work around school hours, daycare hours, kids’ sick days, and kids’ activities. It doesn’t mean parents plan to keep their kids home with them without help, but it does give them an opportunity to keep their jobs when it is often more economically feasible for one parent to stay home due to childcare costs.
It also gives people more flexibility to pursue interests outside of work. Whether that means a volunteer opportunities or just the ability to make doctor appointments and not have to rush back to work within an hour. The increased work-life balance benefits both the employee and the employer.
Employees Most Productive Hours
Not everyone is most productive from 9-5. In many positions it isn’t important that all of the work is done between those exact hours. While employees need to make themselves available for meetings, phone calls, and other commitments, remote working gives them the opportunity to work when it is best for them. Maybe you have someone who prefers to work from 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM, take a short break to shower, put kids on a school bus, and run a few errands. Then she checks back in from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, gets her kids off the bus, and runs them to their after school commitments. Then after her kids go to bed and she goes to the gym she likes to work again from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
When employees are given the ability to work within the times that work best for them, productivity will increase. Gallup reported that when employees spend 60% to 80% of their time away from the office their engagement is often higher.
Many large companies have moved to a remote model, and it is because it works. It not only provides the above benefits, but it also means more time for employees to attend networking events, gives you a wider range of perspective employees when you are recruiting, and your staff will probably be healthier overall.
A move to a remote set up can take some transition time. It means learning to change your management style to one that is more hands off and trusting from a traditional style where you are constantly overseeing your employees. Take the time to hear how the employees want to be managed. Do they want to provide a quick weekly email of their progress? Would they like to use a shared work platform like Trello? Instead of repeating phone calls and emails can everyone move to Skype?
These decisions will help make the transition smoother and set your business on the road to a remote set up. BizSwoop is a remote company, and we have employees from California to Georgia and back again. Working remotely has allowed us to expand our search pool for employees as well as give them the freedom they need to work in a way that is most productive for them. Our Business Operations division has the experience necessary to help you transition to a remote set up.