The rise of remote workforces: How can it benefit your business?
EACH year, an increasing number of companies are choosing to leave the office life behind in favour of a more distributed work environment, with employees given the opportunity to work remotely from home.
According to a Gallup survey, 43 percent of employed Americans now spend at least some portion of their time working remotely every week.
Technology has enabled businesses to become more and more flexible in the way they work. The introduction of software tools such as Trello and Github, as well as video conferencing and email, create a virtual office space for workers, making the need for physical office environments less important.
Often people assume working from home is an excuse to take a much more relaxed approach to working.
However, recent research has found that remote workers are actually more productive than employees who work from an office every day.
So, could remote working benefit your business? Listed below are six potential benefits from fostering a remote working environment within your company.
1) Lower staff turnover
The opportunity for remote working is attractive for many employers. The State of Remote Work 2017 report by OWL Labs and TINYpulse reported businesses who provide employees with the opportunity of a remote work environment have a 25 percent lower employee turnover rate than those who do not.
And while this option is valued across all ages, it is found to be especially important to younger employees. A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), found 58 percent of human resource professionals cite flexibility as the most effective way to attract new talent.
2) Remote workers are more productive
A recent study found levels of production are higher in remote workers than regular employees.
The study co-author, Alan Felstead, said: “Our study shows that employers benefit from increased effort as workers strive to show that working remotely is not a slacker’s charter.”
3) Remote workers are happier
One study has found that those employees who work in a remote environment have higher levels of organizational commitment and job satisfaction, ultimately resulting in an overall increase in work-related wellbeing.
Employees get to work on their terms, often eliminating the hassle and expense of commuting which makes for happier employees.
4) Higher engagement
As well as increasing productivity, remote work is also found to boost employee engagement. Employees who work in a remote environment 60 to 80 percent of the time were found to have higher rates of engagement, compared with those who head to the office every day, according to the New York Times.
5) Cost-efficient for businesses
Perhaps an obvious point, but having remote workers can drastically reduce company overheads. American Express, a company that offers the opportunity for remote working, admitted to saving US$10 million to US$15 million per year in office space costs.
6) Cut down your company’s carbon footprint
Each year, the average commute time for employees steadily increases. If your business develops a distributed workforce, this will not only save time for employees, but will also significantly reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
In 2015, Dell launched a study looking at the commute patterns of employees and the sustainability-related effects of its remote work initiatives. Collectively, through remote work, Dell employees saved more than US$1,000,000 in fuel costs and avoided over 35,000 metric tons of CO2 per year.
Should businesses give their employees the option to work from home? Though remote work will not be for everyone, there are significant benefits for both the employees and employers. It is up to your business whether or not to take advantage of these benefits.