Working Remotely Might Be Perk Your Company Missing

Authored By: Karla Jo Helms | Publish Date: November 30, 2018

As business owners and HR reps, we’re always concerned with keeping employees happy. A happy workforce usually means a successful business ‒ and the people most responsible for that success are more likely to stick around. With the record number of job openings currently open, that’s becoming more important; turnover was at post-recession highs this year, too, as job-hunters had their pick of attractive gigs.

And while the perks and benefits companies are offering their best employees in order to retain them are many, one of the most effective is one a lot of people aren’t considering: letting their employees work from home.

Working Remotely

Millennials are particularly drawn to the idea of working remotely – 68 per cent of them say it interests them – but they’re not the only ones. In fact, telecommuting is a favourite among employees of all kinds; a recent PGi survey of employees in various industries discovered that 80 per cent of them had the option of working from home at least part-time, and that roughly half of them did so at least once or twice a week.

Telecommuting isn’t solely about convenience and it certainly isn’t one of those unusual perks that companies are using to entice millennials to stop job-hopping (such as having an unlimited snack bar, though that does sound nice). It’s about improving their quality of life. It’s also about freeing up time and energy that might normally be spent on commuting and other office-related tasks and spending it where it really matters – whether that’s at work or at home.

The average commute time in the U.S. might be only 26 minutes, but many people are driving a lot more than that; several of my staff members, for example, several of our employees had commutes of 90 minutes each morning before we made the switch to working remotely.

Ditching that commute frees up more than three hours a day – a good chunk of time better spent doing any number of productive things or even just relaxing. It also means not dealing with things like traffic and bad weather.

That benefits here might seem vague, but, according to that same PGi poll, when companies allowed their employees to start working remotely, productivity and morale skyrocketed; 80 per cent of employees claimed higher morale and 82 per cent said their stress levels dropped significantly, all from eliminating the daily commute. 69 per cent even reported missing work less often, as working from home allowed them to keep being productive when other factors wouldn’t allow them to go into the office.

No Secret

It’s also no secret that a better work-life balance attracts better employees and keeps them around; if your employees are happier and more productive, they’ll be less likely to job-hop. According to one study, 76 per cent of telecommuters feel more loyal to their company and are willing to work more overtime thanks to their flexibility. Turnover can be a massive waste of company time and resources, but telecommuting can help keep it under control.

This all aligns with my own personal experience and those of my staff. When we made the transition to a remote workforce, we discovered that our quality of life went way up. My staff has continually remarked how much more relaxed they are working remotely and how much more productive they are. We’re a lot more focused, spending our mornings thinking about the day ahead and how to solve problems, as opposed to beating traffic.

Also, our productivity has gone way up. After a short, initial dip while we figured things out and adjusted to our newfound ‘freedom,’ our productivity has more than doubled based on our own metrics (revenue divided by staff). Whether that comes from eliminating that tedious commute or something else, shifting to a remote workforce has been great for the company, too.

There were a few growing pains, of course. One of the reasons for our very minor drop in productivity was not having a ‘home base’ to report to every day, a dedicated workplace without the distractions that working from home can present. We even lost a few employees who couldn’t handle the shift to a job without a physical structure. But the productivity and growth we gained back since made the hurdles worth it and our remaining staff was tighter-knit and much happier.

Company Culture

In fact, being able to home in on our company culture has been another major perk of telecommuting. No longer being constrained by geography opens up our pool of candidates considerably. It also allows us to focus on choosing the best people for the job – people dedicated to making the company the best it can be, and who fit in with our very tight-knit group. We’ve even continued to grow our workforce since making the switch.

So, if you’re looking for ways to boost morale and keep work something your employees look forward to and not a drag, look into giving remote work a shot. You’ll likely hit a few snags as you come up with a new method of communicating and reporting on work. But when all is said and done, you might find that the newfound flexibility and lack of stress far outweigh the initial challenges.

Your employees will probably agree.

Karla Jo Helms is the CEO and visionary behind JoTo PR.

 

 


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