The 6 Benefits of Employees Working from Home
| By Vivien Hudson
Organisations may still be sitting on the fence when it comes to allowing their workers to work remotely. Issues of trust and know how about how to manage these remote people is at the forefront of their concerns. It can be worth knowing some of the organisational benefits to help spur motivation to making changes toward remote work. With cloud based storage and electronic communication as the foundation of many businesses, there is a huge opportunity to take this leap or at the very least adapt a blended approach.
So, what are some of the benefits?
1. Hire the best
With access to the internet and mobile technology, our workspaces can be based anywhere. This means an organisation is no longer tied to finding people in their own backyard or having to coerce people to move across the country to join their team.
I occasionally travel and when I do, I am meeting more people who have been able to move to the location of their dreams and keep their dream job as well. When I first moved to the United States four years ago, I met a lady who commented that the main challenge in the workforce was that people had the right job but didn’t like their location or had a great location but didn’t like their job.
Remote work is allowing workers to both love where they live and have a job they love.
Vouchercloud conducted a survey, based in the UK, that determined the average worker was productive for just 2 hour 53 minutes in their normal office based work day. Other activities that workers admitted to doing included: checking social media, reading news websites, socializing, eating and looking for new jobs. For organisations concerned with how their remote workers are behaving outside of their direct supervision, maybe they need to assess what is happening in the office first! If a remote worker is productive for 3 hours per day, then they are already ahead of the average in office worker.
Additionally, workers benefits from more time. Time saved on the daily commute and spending time getting ready to leave the house. They also lose the distraction of working in a busy cubicle environment or where coworkers drop by their office unannounced. This in turn gives the worker more available hours in their day to work, as well as the ability to be flexible how they use those hours.
If a remote worker is happier and less distracted, they will be more productive!
3. Employee satisfaction
Gensler’s 2016 U.S. Workplace Survey indicated that the workers who split their time between remote and in office work were the happiest and most innovative.
If you speak to remote workers, most of them are unwilling to give up their home-based office lifestyle to return to a corporate office. The benefits to workers are many and motivating. Some of the key factors that engage workers relate to how they are managed.
Daniel Pink states that human drive comes from autonomy, mastery and purpose. Remote workers can be highly autonomous. Organisations must provide opportunity for that worker to be constantly challenged enough to succeed and to feel that their work matters. If we add to that, a sense of belonging, workers will thrive. It is up to management to support those remote conditions.
Once workers reach a certain pay threshold, autonomy, mastery and purpose are more important than financial incentives. And, saying that, the financial incentives for workers include reduced transportation costs, grooming and wardrobe needs, even without a payrise.
4. Reduced travel costs
Developing interpersonal work relationships is valuable and this can still happen when working virtually. Understanding the business need first and foremost will determine when meetings best occur. Being intentional around what, how and why meetings happen, keeps people most productive, engenders trust and builds collaboration.
Organisations can save thousands of dollars on reduced travel costs through use of virtual meetings. When planned effectively, virtual meetings can provide better value than face to face meetings. To make the meetings effective, preparation and expectations are key. This includes the need to give those attending the meeting, the skills and inclusion to effectively participate. Many organisations have begun with poor to no planning for their meetings. This has therefore set an ugly precedent for team expectations surrounding virtual meetings and their willingness to participate.
5. Reduced Office Space and Overheads
The second biggest cost factor for organisations is office space. This is a major reason for organisations to condense the space they have, with up to 40% of desks empty at any one time. This is a major reason for the evolution of cubicle style work spaces and ‘hot desks’.
Workers in noisy cubicle arranged offices have reduced productivity as shown in a study by The University of Sydney in 2013. The study determined that partitionless offices and cubicles had the worst effect on productivity. Further studies have shown that shared desks (otherwise known as ‘hot desks’), a relatively new concept, is also undermining employee morale by reducing their sense of belonging within the workspace.
When workers can work remotely, the need for office space is even less and they will feel like they have a place where they do belong.
6. Increased Reach
With the globalisation of work forces, so comes the globalisation of business. The internet has opened the gateway to countries and organisations, both big and small. We are no longer limited to our own backyard as a place to work, or as a place to do business. Organisations can not only access talent globally, they can penetrate new markets.
Without a vast and virtual workforce, businesses could potentially lose out if they do not embrace the need to do business more effectively, through technology. The latest generation entering the workforce are already used to conducting most of their relationships online. Technology based dating apps are proving to be a classic example at being more effective in finding better lifelong partners than we can ourselves down at the local gym or bar.
If the push to do more things remotely is not yet happening in your organisation – you could soon be missing out. The benefits of remote work at an organizational and personal level are too many to ignore. The biggest challenge that companies face, is to upskill their managers and teams as to how to effectively connect, engage and empower their people. With the right skillset and mindset, organisations can capture the hearts and minds of their workers and reap the benefits.
Author: Vivien Hudson
Vivien fell into the virtual world around the time she moved from Australia to the US in 2013. She has a diverse past from working in healthcare as a pharmacist and business owner to sales, coaching and brain fitness. She has led a national remote team and now works with Virtual Gurus developing virtual mastery and presence.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family of 3 kids, nature where she can unplug, cooking and reading anything that relates to EQ, connection and self-leadership.