No matter what anybody thinks about remote workers, employers should understand the growing impact of flexible work arrangements. About 43 percent of survey takers said that they worked remotely at least sometimes, according to a Gallup poll reported upon by the New York Times.
What's more, the number of workers who said they spent any time working away from the office has increased by about four percent since 2012. Taken alone, this number doesn't appear that large.
Even more significantly, workers said they had been spending more time working away from their office in the past few years. The percentage of employees who said they spent 100 percent of their time working remotely increased from 24 to 31 percent during the past six years.
It's fair to assume that some jobs lend themselves to remote working more than others do. However, when workers can work from home, or another location, they've been allowed to do it more often recently.
Seven Big Business Benefits of Hiring Remote Workers
Certainly, employees may prefer having an option to work remotely for a variety of reasons, however, business owners and managers need to understand how allowing this practice will help them, too.
Consider these top business benefits of allowing remote work:
1. Improve Employee Productivity
If you're not familiar with remote workers, you might visualize unkempt people in shorts and bare feet. No matter what they wear, a study published in Inc. Magazine found that people who could choose to work away from the office, were also twice as likely to put in more than 40 hours per week, than employees who had to report to work every day. Whether remote workers wear PJs all day or not, employers have been pleased with their productivity.
2. Reduce Overhead
If employees work outside of the office, they don't take up office space. Shaving their office space from your rent can save you a lot of money. If your workers only work remotely part of the time, you might consider some desk- or office-sharing arrangements to save space. In any case, Agile combed through over 4,000 studies of remote employers and found that companies did save money in real estate costs and also reduced attrition and fewer unscheduled absences.
3. Help Make Workers Happier
In many cities, typical work commutes take over an hour each way. When companies give those hours back to their workers, employees have more time to sleep, enjoy their families, and in some cases, to work more. As smart bosses already know, employees work harder when they're happier.
4. Find Better Employees Without Increasing Salaries and Other Perks
One study of recent college graduates found that 68 percent would have more interest in a job offer that gave them the option to work remotely. Employers can use this option as a way to attract more qualified candidates without having to spend more money on higher pay or other kinds of perks.
5. Relieve Employees of Commuting Stress
In cities where commuters have to spend at least 90 minutes on a daily commute, there is higher stress levels, according to a Gallup survey of almost 175,000 American employees. These commuters are also more prone to back and neck problems. Reducing commutes can help alleviate physical and mental health issues, resulting in better health benefit premiums, healthier employees, and stronger companies.
6. Remote Working Can Help Businesses Weather Storms
In this evolving business climate, companies have to remain flexible; however, remote working might help organizations weather literal storms too. For instance, the federal government allowed workers to login and work from home during some recent snow days. This move saved an estimated $32 million in regained productivity and other costs.
7. Remote Working Can Help Save the Planet
Heroes don't always wear capes. By allowing workers to work from their home offices or other remote locations, companies can also keep them from burning fuel and polluting the air. Businesses can promote this as an eco-friendly move, and consumers usually prefer patronizing socially conscious companies.
Is Remote Working Right for Every Business or Every Worker?
Harvard Business Review published a study that found over half of remote workers felt left out at certain times from office politics and the company culture. On the other hand, the Harvard Business Review article also made suggestions that managers could implement to mitigate these problems. These include checking in with remote workers, supplying explicit instructions, using collaborative software to promote a team environment online, and making sure two-way lines of communication stay open.
Working remotely won't work for every employee or every business; however, allowing more flexible working arrangements can benefit both employees and their employers.