Years ago, working remotely seemed to be more of a perk to the employee than the employer. But today, many employers have embraced this paradigm shift and are realizing that the benefits are mutual. Some companies have gone so far as to be “remote only.”
Increased Productivity Levels
One of the reasons that employers are reluctant to allow employees to work remotely is due to the fear of productivity levels dropping. In a recent gallup poll, 58% of Americans, including those employed and unemployed, hold the belief that people who work remotely are just as productive as those who work in a business office.
The increase in productivity could be due to a number of reasons, such as fewer distractions, less stress, avoidance of office politics, or the fact that they are less likely to call in sick. Often times when people call in sick, they really aren’t. They do so for other personal needs that can be managed with a more flexible work environment.
What about the lack of personal interaction and face-to-face communication? How does that affect productivity?
With all of the available tools out there, remote workers are easily able to stay in close contact with other team members. This ensures cohesion so that all are on the same page. Online tools such as Skype, GoTo Meeting, and Join.me have been huge assets for remote workers.
According to Global WorkPlace Analytics, companies can significantly reduce the amount of money spent. The average savings per full-time telecommuter is $10,000/employee/year. Working remotely can also offer inexpensive compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for disabled workers.
Here are some other interesting cost-saving facts:
- Sun Microsystems saves $68 million per year in real estate costs.
- IBM slashed real estate costs by $50 million.
- Nearly six out of ten employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit to telecommuting.
Better for the Environment
Greenhouse gas emissions are comprised of harmful toxins, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and other man-made gases. These pollutants continue to destroy the environment.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. consumed an average of 19.4 million barrels of oil per day in 2015. Some major corporations, such as Dell, Xerox, and Aetna, have taken steps to reduce energy consumption. Dell was able to save $12 million in fuel costs and reduced gas emissions by 6,700 metric tons in 2013.
In addition to the environmental benefits, traffic infrastructure is less likely to be impeded, which makes for a smoother travel during rush hour for those that do commute to work.
Expanded Talent Pool
The talent pool is significantly expanded when lifting geographic constraints for job openings. This is not to suggest that jobs necessarily need to be off-shored, but could be if the employer so chooses. By reducing location restrictions, employers can afford to increase the requirements and level of expertise required for jobs needing to be filled.
This topic can also open up discussion for whether or not a full-time employee is actually necessary for a particular opening. Is this likely to be a short-term project that could be outsourced instead?
An additional perk with expanding the talent pool is that it offers for much more diversity that might not otherwise be possible.