by Will Bridges, HR Consultant at Unum
Many office-based employers are granting their employees remote working privileges, allowing them to work from home for 1 or 2 days a week. Of course this is not a viable option for all jobs, but the majority of office jobs contain elements that allow workers to do their job from almost anywhere, as long as they have a computer and internet connection.
As an employer you may wonder ‘what’s in it for me?’, with many thinking working remotely means doing very little work. However, you’ll be surprised by just how much you and your employees are set to gain should you allow them to work remotely. The following 12 reasons are just some of the benefits of introducing remote working privileges:
1. Increased productivity.
It might seem unlikely, but working from home has been proven to increase productivity. The flexibility of remote working often means people work longer hours than they would in the office, in part due to removing the commute and generally having a more relaxing working environment where there is likely to be less interruptions.
Allowing your employees to work from home will save you money. The fewer people you have in the office the less you will spend on electricity, for example.
Remote working opens you up to the possibility of hiring people who are unable to relocate, thereby widening your pool of resources. For many reasons, such as family commitments or mortgages, some people are unable to relocate, no matter how perfect the job is. This option would enable you to hire the best people for the job, rather than the best person within a certain radius of your office.
4. Bad habits are removed.
When you’re in an office environment it is very easy to count the hours you are there as ‘working’, yet have little to show for it at the end of the day. However, when working remotely employees don’t have the same mind set. They no longer just have to turn up and be seen to be working; instead they need to have physical work to show for their time.
5. Environmental benefits.
You probably won’t have considered the environmental off-shoots of working remotely, but it’s pretty clear once you think about it. Not having to drive or take the bus to work means lower harmful emissions. Not driving to work for two weeks can reduce carbon emissions by about 726 kilograms a year.
6. Work-life balance.
Many people who are able to work from home find that they have a more even work-life balance. Removing the commute can allow individuals to do things such as taking their children to school, or look after older relatives. It also allows people the flexibility to have maintenance work done on their home – all things that are unable to happen in the office.
Working from home removes many of the elements of work that people find stressful, particularly the commute. As such, many people find that their stress levels reduce, resulting in a reduced blood pressure and heart rate levels.
In most cases, professionals regard working remotely as a huge job perk. As such, the option of working from home can boost morale. It shows a degree of trust between management and employees and helps to cultivate a degree of loyalty.
9. Reduced absenteeism.
The amount of time taken off sick is significantly reduced amongst those who work remotely. The lifestyle of working from home means people are less stressed and as such less prone to some illnesses. Also, a large number of people are likely to work through the illness at home as they are already surrounded by their home comforts and can log on and off as they require.
10. Increased retention.
Remote working often means an increase in job satisfaction and as such can help you retain your workforce. The happier your employees are, the less likely they are to want to leave. When Yahoo revoked remote working privileges there was a sudden outpouring of staff leaving the company.
11. Improved communication.
Individuals who work from home must communicate effectively in order to relay and receive relevant information. Each individual is therefore responsible for keeping the lines of communication open, rather than relying on others or gossip to keep in the loop. As such, you’ll have an informed and informative workforce.
12. Avoid seasonal disruptions.
During the autumn and winter months, commuters can endure hellish travel conditions, which regularly delay journeys into work. Whereas, during the summer months your employees might be more likely to call in sick to enjoy the sunshine. The option of remote working removes many seasonal issues and helps increase productivity, as it reduces time lost to commuting problems. It also allows employees to make the most of the summer sunshine during their lunch breaks or work different hours to finish earlier.
As you can see, allowing your employees to work remotely can reap many rewards, such as increased productivity, better communication skills and financial gains. It also increases morale, develops more employee-employer trust and improves work-life balance. While it might not be right for your business on a regular basis, the option of working from home from time to time could have serious benefits for you and your workforce.
Will Bridges is an HR Consultant at Unum, one of the UK’s leading financial protection insurers. Unum specialise in providing Income Protection through the workplace, and are committed to helping the UK’s workforce get a back-up plan. Visit them online at: http://unum.co.uk.