In today’s work environment, the call for employers to be able to provide more flexible work hours and a choice of work environment outside of a company’s main location has gone from perk to pre-requisite. According to statistics provided by Global Workplace Analytics, between 2005 and 2017, there was a 159% increase in remote work, and from 2016 to 2017, remote work grew 7.9%. So what are some of the key benefits of allowing your employees to telecommute?
- It’s more efficient and cost-effective
- It provides a greater ability to attract and retain talent
- It increases job satisfaction and productivity
- Workers that telecommute are healthier
- It opens up exposure to new markets and talent pools
Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness
Depending on the type of business you have, by creating a virtual office and allowing employees to choose an environment outside of the company’s main location, you can either downsize or eliminate the need for traditional brick-and-mortar space. This would result in cost savings on rent, utilities, real estate taxes, furniture, and the traditional hardware needed to connect your business technology. Utilizing solutions, such as telephone VoIP service from providers like Vonage, can provide business-class quality and service without having to have a traditional setup. Many of these services come with hardware, virtual operators, and customization that would normally cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars at a fraction of the cost; all your employee needs is an internet connection to get up and running. Nonprofit organizations looking for more cost-effective solutions, whether creating a virtual office or not, can also take advantage of purchasing discounted software through techsoup.org.
Also, think about the time your employees spend commuting to and from the office each day. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average one-way commute time is 26.1 minutes, which adds up to 4.35 hours a week. In more metropolitan areas, that commute time can double or triple during a normal rush hour. Taking that into consideration, an employee could be spending a full 8 hour day worth of time just on their daily commute to and from a traditional office in a week. Now, add on psychological effects employees experience during a stressful commute and the added time it takes for an employee to get “into” work mode when arriving after a stressful commute; you have a lot of inefficiencies built into the model. Telecommuting gives that time back to your staff for increased sleep, exercising, meditation, or getting an early start to the workday. In addition, telecommuting has a huge positive impact on the environment, cutting down a significant level of CO2 emissions through reduced commuting.
Attracts and Retains Talent
Research has shown 80% of U.S. workers say they would turn down a job that did not offer flexible working. Of that, more than one-third would prefer flexibility over having a more prestigious role. So, what does this say from an attraction and retention of talent standpoint? Businesses who traditionally found it difficult to recruit top-talent may now be finding opportunities by moving to a more flexible working environment. Also, depending on the nature of your business, telecommuting can dramatically increase the talent pool available to your company. Work/life balance and flexibility have become exponentially more important in the core values of employees than ever before.
Increases Job Satisfaction and Productivity
Statistics are showing that remote workers are more likely than the average American worker to be satisfied with their job and have shown a decrease in job-related stress, with remote workers feeling “not stressed” or only “moderately stressed.” Additionally, businesses see greater productivity as employees feel empowered by their ability to control and manage their own workflow. Employees are less stressed from commuting, there is a reduction of “office politics,” they can dress casually and comfortably, and they can work in their own personalized work environment, all of which are significant factors in creating greater job satisfaction and productivity.
Workers Are Healthier
With the increase in job satisfaction due to the decrease in the traditional stressors, remote employers appear healthier. Remote workers are seen taking less sick days and absences from work. This is also likely due to less exposure to germs in a typical office setting and fewer stress factors.
Since employees are working from home and/or a location of their choosing, they are spending less time commuting, feel more inclined to eat nutritiously, and tend to participate in healthier activities such as daily exercise routines.
Opening Up New Doors
One of the most overlooked benefits of exploring the idea of telecommuting is that is it can open up new doors for your business. Perhaps you wanted to target a new market in an area previously unattainable and the company did not want to sink a bunch of money and time in a new location. Well now, telecommuting could make breaking into that area a bit easier, where you could focus the dollars you are saving on a brick-and-mortar location on targeted marketing strategies and offering more incentive-based salaries to candidates that already live within the geographical area and know the market your after. With technology, you can now go from a local company to a regional, national, or international business, easily expanding your efforts, and should you need office space, you can use shared office space offered by businesses such as WeWork.
Make The Move
Telecommuting may not be the best move for every business or business activity; it needs to be assessed and implemented correctly. However, as businesses move to empower their employees to retain and attract new talent, creating more flexible solutions on how your business operates can only add a new dimension for your employees’ job satisfaction. Employees are the lifeblood of a business and their level of effort and job satisfaction is a direct contributor to the success of any business. Now more than ever, businesses need to be forward-thinking in assessing how business is done, and telecommuting should be a major consideration in how you move your company forward.
Albert Borghese, CPA
Albert is a member of Cerini & Associates’ audit and consulting practice where he focuses on serving the firm’s special education and nonprofit clients. Albert is also involved in the marketing and development of the firm, and frequently participates in recruiting efforts, and research.