Technology has the potential to change the entire way we do business. This isn’t a secret: for years, companies have been holding video-conferences instead of meeting in person or using online tools to improve productivity.
One thing that’s failed to keep up, however, is the workplace itself; despite 50% of US employees having a job that could be done at least partially remotely, telecommuters make up just over 3% of the workforce. Below, we’ll outline a few of the ways that remote working could help improve your business and address some of the concerns you might have about allowing your staff to telecommute.
It can reduce your overall costs.
How much does your business spend each month on rent, maintenance fees, and utilities? An entirely remote business simply doesn’t have these bills, since its employees all work from home. Of course, this arrangement isn’t practical for every company but even if only some of your staff work remotely, you might find that you now have more space than you need, allowing you to save money by moving to a smaller office.
The upfront costs associated with moving to a remote working setup are lower than you might think, too. Basic laptops (which are, other than an internet connection, all that’s required for most teleworking roles) can be bought wholesale for a few hundred dollars each. Even if you have to create an online platform for your workers to use, the cost will likely be offset quite quickly by your lower overall expenditure.
Remote working allows you to streamline your workflow.
Your workflow could even be improved by allowing employees to work from home since there are now entire platforms that specifically cater to remote teams. For instance, Slack replaces company-wide emails, Google Docs allows you to work collaboratively with other employees, and Trello lets you manage projects online. Even if your employees run into technical difficulties, most problems can be fixed using remote access tools like TeamViewer.
The best part is that all of the above services are free-to-use, with no annual licensing fees.
Telecommuting improves employee productivity.
One of the biggest concerns employers have about telecommuting is that their staff will be less productive. However, research indicates that actually, the opposite is true, with 77% of surveyed remote workers claiming they felt more productive when working from home. On reflection, it makes sense: after all, it’s easier to focus when you aren’t being distracted by the comings-and-goings of a busy office.
Interestingly, 52% of respondents said that they’d be less likely to take a sick day if telecommuting was an option. Given that absenteeism costs thousands of dollars per worker, per year, allowing staff to work from home could have a significant impact on your bottom line.
It’s easier to attract (and retain) talent from around the world.
When you’re open to employing staff from anywhere in the world, you can attract highly-skilled and talented people who otherwise would never have seen your job listing. This means that you’ll have access to a wider pool of talent, allowing you to hire the best person for the job, regardless of where they live.
Let’s be realistic: most people, having worked from home, won’t want to go back to a traditional office setting. This is excellent news for employers since it makes it far easier to retain valuable employees, which, in turn, means that you’ll spend less on recruitment and training.
Remote working prepares your business for the future.
Younger generations demand more from their employers, and it’s easy to see why: a degree is required for many industries, wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living, and it’s becoming more difficult to find work. As a result, remote working is very appealing to the next generation of workers.
Not only is remote working more flexible, it’s also more empowering; employees can work from anywhere, whenever suits them best, and are responsible for making sure everything gets done. This is a level of trust not often seen in traditional workplaces, but far from having a detrimental effect, it helps create versatile, adaptable, and self-sufficient staff.
Telecommuting might not be possible for every business, but more jobs can be performed remotely than you might think. When staff are allowed to work from home, they’re more likely to have increased job satisfaction, a better work/life balance, and higher productivity. Further, as we’ve illustrated above, this approach has the potential to dramatically cut the cost of running your business.