The Hidden Perks of The Remote Workplace
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 51 seconds
As the workplace continues to become more progressive, more companies are allowing their employees to work remotely. Recent studies suggest that regular work-at-home has grown by 103% since 2005, and almost 40% of American workers telecommute on some level today.
And it’s no wonder why; not only do companies save an average of $11,000 per person, but employees find better work-life balance, making them happier and more productive. These are some of the reasons why companies such as Automattic, creator of WordPress, give employees a $2000 high-tech home office and travel budget, and why Westjet now has 85% of its call center staff fielding calls remotely.
These businesses also recognize that beyond the cost reductions and upsides to employee morale, offering employees the opportunity to work remotely is a business strategy with many other perks. Below are a few to consider:
1. Attracting Top Talent
“It’s a weapon in a company’s arsenal to attract great employees,” said Robert Campbell, president of trade association ContactNB in an article titled ‘More employees working from home in shift to ‘telecommuting’. And, he’s right.
Competition for top talent is fierce, so business owners are implementing incentives other than hefty salaries that attract and retain amazing employees. Giving employees an opportunity to work from home or anywhere in the world is one of them. From working parents to travel-hungry millennials and almost-retired management, the varying demographics in a workforce appreciate the more balanced work-life situation. Because of this, employees get more personal satisfaction from their job, and are more likely to become invested in a business’ success.
2. Shifting Focus to Results, Not Location
While business owners might have concerns about lowered productivity when moving to a work-from-home option, many companies including Ctrip, China’s largest travel agent, have proven that results show quite the opposite. In a 9-month trial, the performance of at-home-workers increased by 13%. While these results may not be indicative of every business’s experience, what teleworking does do is shift the company’s focus to measuring performance and results of its employees, instead of attendance at the office. When an organization is driven by results, it becomes easier to identify productivity gaps and opportunities that can help teams, departments and the whole company better align to meet corporate objectives.
3. Building a Culture of Trust
The very nature of remote working encourages a sense of trust between employers and employees. However, that’s not always enough to make remote working policies a success. Without face-to-face time, management will need to find ways to promote active communication and foster engagement. Examples of this could include planning more team get-togethers, implementing more collaborative tools, and scheduling informal one-on-one calls. In turn, what begins to develop within the organization is a modern company culture whereby managers become mentors. Traditional hierarchies are broken down, and intrinsic motivation is enhanced among employees. This inevitably leads to happier, and more productive teams.
Moving Ahead with Remote Work
Remote workplaces may not work for every company. However, as technology continues to play a larger role in connecting people all over the world, more businesses will consider giving employees the opportunity to handle responsibilities without physically being in an office. While cost reductions might seem like the most attractive benefit to employers, remote work trials and studies continue to show that there are far more benefits to the work-anywhere movement– that is, attracting hard-to-reach talent, generating better results and establishing a company culture built on trust.