Before the flexible workspace revolution took root, here is what an average workday entailed for me: Commuting to hour (snaking through tight traffic jams, amid honking and much under-the-breath-swearing) -1 hour! Find a suitable parking at an optimal distance from my building – 10 minutes. Running into (obnoxious) Kathy almost always in the hallway and listening to her prattle on and on about who was secretly dating whom, what she did the night before, and how the office needed a new coffee maker – 15-20 minutes. Settling in my workspace-10 minutes.
Oh, time for that team meeting- half hour. Oh shoot, its almost lunch hour.
I just remembered the piles of work accumulating on my desk! Who said I had an 8-hour shift to do all that? I barely had 4 hours left! Another late sitting, another day I am going to miss prime time TV!
Did I just paint a nightmare? Well, all this was way before my organization allowed work for home for employees!
As the lyrics of “work from home” by fifth Harmony puts it,
“You don’t gotta go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work”
Since then, I have found that I am not only able to accomplish more. Even a Stanford study backs me up. It says that remote employees are 13 percent more productive compared with their in-office counterparts. In fact, it is projected that 30 percent of the workforce will either be remote, outsourced, or freelancers who spend much of their time working from home, by 2020.
I personally believe that working remotes eliminates a lot of workplace distractions- 9% sitting in a cubicle, 20% office gossip in open office culture, 24 percent team meeting, 27 percent coworkers walking by, stopping for a quick word, 39 percent office gossip!
Just as I convinced my organization to allow remote working, I find that there are a lot of reasons why it’s good for organizations to encourage employees to control when to work and where to work from. Just look at the San Francisco-based startup, GitLab: All of its 350 employees across 45 countries work from home, and yet, it made it to Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America. Here are some of the best reasons I’ve found for letting your employees work from home:
1. Less Commute time = Happier Employees
Americans spend 19 full workdays a year stuck in traffic on their commute in 2019! Did that give you goosebumps! If not, Americans who commute to and from work average 77 late workdays a year. Now who wants that! Reducing the time spent on an unpleasant and stressful commute is not only good for the sanity of your employees, it can do wonders for your business.
Want to minimize absenteeism and improve the productivity of employees, make sure you care about their health and wellbeing. Be it an hour rattling on the train or the half hour snaking through rush hour traffic, it is time that could have been well-spent elsewhere.
When working from home, employees arrive invigorated to their workstations, maybe after catching up an extra hour of snooze that would otherwise have been wasted in commute!
Think of all the travelling expenses they are saving, which means your employees can spend more money on the things they love. The result = a healthier, happier, and more motivated workforce with greater productivity. Don’t lose employees over a bad commute!
Look at Persona; Around 95 % of the company’s whopping 150 team members, spread across 29 countries and 21 states, work remotely. They believe this culture goes hand in hand with a happier team and the advancement of technology. Right on Point! Persona increase business profits by 96% after they promoted work from home!
2. Work-Life Balance
If I recount the number of times I would come home late, only to find my daughter asleep on the couch waiting for me with her tea party set up, I cringe inside. I am a strong proponent of how a healthy work-life balance saves employees from chronic stress and saves them from having to sacrifice certain aspects of their personal lives.
According to Gallup’s report, 53% of employees would switch to a job that promotes work-life balance importance.
Telecommuting helps you catch up on things you miss out when you are out of your home for the better part of the day, such as for me, I am better able to work around doctor’s appointments, fire up mu treadmill during lunch, watch my kid, receive deliveries, get a house chore or two done. Not to mention, my company lets me veer off the traditional 9-5 schedule. Flexible scheduling further helps employees manage their personal lives while completing all their tasks.
Promoting work-life balance shows employees you value them. Knowing that you respect their personal lives increases employee morale. Being able to manage their personal lives more effectively lets them work free of worry, leading to higher engagement.
According to Heather Lemke, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at United Health Group, says,
“Our internal data has shown that telecommuters have high quality performance, a low turnover rate and increased employee satisfaction.”
3. Improved Retention Rate
The average cost-per-hire is $4,425. And, it takes roughly 36 days to refill a position after it has been vacated. The high cost of replacing employees has businesses laser-focused on retention.
For employee retention, there’s no place sweeter than home! Here’s the silver lining on the cloud: in addition to enhanced work-life balance and increased job satisfaction, your home-based employee saves $2,000 to $7,000 on average annually on the costs of commuting, tax benefits of a home office, a work wardrobe, etc. They could use all this money to fund an annual vacation.
Especially, if you are the owner of an SMB, here is your vantage point from where you can compete with the bigger fish in the sea. While outdated workplace practices and incessant staff meetings might keep employees in larger organizations glued to their desks, the entrepreneurial spirit and agility afforded by many small businesses that promote work from home, gives them just the freedom they crave.
Not to mention, parents with childcare responsibilities need all the flexibility they can get, while other workers can benefit from an enhanced work-life balance. Who would want to switch a job that gives them an extensive peace of mind!
4. Reduced Overheads
They more you expand, the bigger an office space you will need. With property prices on the rise, you could do with a lot less office space. Even if you don’t want to go all remote, the more employees work from home, the smaller an office space you will need.
Not to mention, consider those monthly bulk orders you have to put up for office supplies. By having employees work from home, a lot if these useless expenditures can be cut down. IBM has saved over $100 million/year since it experimented with its remote-work program.
5. Less Absenteeism
A snowstorm shuts off most roads. One employee wakes up finding their child down with a fever. Another’s car broke down right when he tried to start it in the morning. A third has to attend their child’s PTA right in the middle of the day! Another staffer sprains their ankle and calls in sick.
More employees calling in sick puts a damper on deadlines and results in lost productivity for the company. work from home jobs though allow employees to navigate through these work-life balance issues and still meet deadlines. This is because it better enables them to cater to the demands of their day without costing their employer anything.