The past year has demonstrated that not only can business be conducted remotely, but that often, it leads to higher productivity than ever. Now, as we all start to take a hard look at whether or not to return to the office, remain remote, or figure out a hybrid solution, is the time to seriously consider the benefits (and potential downsides) of letting employees continue working from home.
Companies can become a more attractive and competitive employer by providing employees with the opportunity to work from home. Especially when you consider that many who wish to stay remote may leave the businesses that insist they return to the office full-time, with one in three surveyed saying they’d quit if remote work ends. But there are more benefits to offering remote jobs than just lowering churn.
1. Larger Pool of Qualified Candidates
When remote opportunities are not offered, companies have to find qualified individuals who are either currently living close to the office or are willing to relocate to the area. This could lead to difficulty finding employees with the necessary skills, especially if the office location is not in a desirable location. Working from home allows a company to draw from a larger pool of qualified candidates by expanding their search to a broader geographic area across the country. This can also bring more diversity into the hiring pool — which is always a good thing.
2. Saves on Costs
Moving to a work-from-home format can greatly reduce office and overhead costs. Owning or leasing an office building for a company workspace not only comes with the cost of the building but many additional expenses as well, like:
- Electricity, water, and other utilities
- Cleaning services
- Maintenance work
- Furniture, equipment, and supplies
- Food services
Reducing these costs by employing remote workers can save a company thousands, or even millions, of dollars each year, depending on the size of the business.
3. Increased Employee Productivity and Collaboration
Employees can actually be more productive and collaborative while working from home. Without having office distractions, they have the opportunity to get more work done. Office chat and background noise can be distracting to many in the office, especially if they are often talking with customers or are on the phone for a majority of their day. Virtual meetings generally stay more focused with less distractions and allow for more efficient communication.
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4. Fewer Employee Absences
In many instances of mild illness, employees choose to keep working from home instead of calling in sick. This allows them to continue getting their work done without having to commute and sit in an office all day while feeling under the weather. It also prevents the potential spread of illness to other coworkers. A flexible, remote schedule also allows employees to work around personal appointments without having to take paid time off. Providing a flexible work environment reduces employee absences, which can also be a cost-savings.
5. Improved Employee Job Satisfaction and Retention
Employees want a better work-life balance. Working from home provides employees with the flexibility and lifestyle benefits that they would not otherwise have working in a company office. Need to take the dogs for a quick walk? Go for it. No more commute? Thank goodness. Able to eat healthier, home-cooked meals? Great! And, as mentioned already, this same flexibility means they can fold their personal appointments, like a dental cleaning, into their work day without having to take PTO to do it. Making up missed time from home is far preferable to staying late at the office. Working from home allows employees to bring their work and personal lives together, rather than have them be always in conflict. This, in turn, can reduce stress levels and makes them more likely to stay in the job, saving the company money by not losing that employee.
Keeping employees happy can improve job retention and reduce turnover. Global Workplace Analytics found that losing an employee could cost a company between $10,000 to $30,000 and thousands more to recruit and train new employees. Allowing the employees who want to work from home to continue doing so ends up being a win-win for everyone involved.
Can Remote Employees Help Your Business?
This is not to say that there aren’t any difficulties that come along with employees working from home — there are. Getting new employees effectively and efficiently trained up can be harder, and so can cultivating an excellent company culture. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Using applications like Slack and Zoom to ensure quick and easy communication between employees goes a long way. Having training materials typed up and demonstration videos recorded using a tool like Loom can help immensely, as well.
You don’t have to miss out on “water cooler” talk, either. At Massive, we don’t limit our communications on Slack to just work concerns — we chat about our interests, joke around, use GIFs and emojis excessively, and sometimes share pictures of children and pets to collectively gush over. This ensures that not only are we transparently and easily communicating with each other, but we’re also building a fun, engaging company culture where we all feel open enough to discuss our work needs and personal lives together. This way, we’ve created a truly cohesive team, even as we’re all scattered across the country.
Interest in remote work will only continue to expand over time. Working from home is a huge perk for many employees and prospective job candidates, with some even willing to take a pay cut if they can have a remote job. Based on all the benefits described here, and the easy mitigations of the potential drawbacks, you can absolutely gain a competitive advantage and save money by offering your employees a flexible, work-from-home setup.