For many professionals worldwide, the daily commute to the office is falling out of fashion. In 2019 almost 50% of employees globally now work remotely for over half of the week, and 68% spend at least one day per week working from outside the office. This trend is only predicted to increase as technology, internet access, and societal attitudes towards remote-working all improve.
However, the remote-working movement has not come without opposition. In 2017 IBM called thousands of its employees back to the office, arguing that teams need to be in the same place to be productive. Dell, on the other hand, hopes to get at least half of its employees working remotely by 2020, saying that this move will save them billions in real estate costs.
Despite the apprehension of some companies towards adopting remote-working, much of the research suggests that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. So, what are the benefits of remote-working policies from a company’s point of view?
It is well-documented that allowing employees to work remotely leads to an overall increase in their productivity. A 2-year Stanford study found that employees who were allowed to work from home experienced a boost in their work-rate, as well as taking shorter breaks, fewer sick days and less time-off.
Employees in the study reported finding their home environment a less distracting, more relaxing place to work in than the office. However, around half of the group expressed that they would not want to work from home 100% of the time, due to feeling too isolated from their team.
Being able to attract and retain the best possible employees can give businesses a huge edge over their competitors. 83% of business professionals reported that being able to work remotely for even some of the time would make an employment position more attractive to them. Offering a remote-working policy could mean the difference between a talented individual choosing to work for you over your competitors.
Replacing an employee can be a costly process, around 6-9 months’ of salary on average. Allowing employees to work remotely could give them the flexibility they need to stay with the company for longer, saving huge costs and building a stronger relationship with the company and their co-workers in the long run.
Speaking of minimising costs, 51% of Australian businesses have identified savings of operational costs as a key benefit of their employees working remotely, along with the many other benefits we've discussed.
Various costs which can be reduced or eliminated by remote-working policies include travel costs, renting more office space, equipment and supplies, cleaning services, as well as indirect costs such as the opportunity cost of time spent travelling, and the cost of carbon emissions from car and plane travelling. A report from the Global Workplace Analytics estimates businesses can save on average $11,000 per year per employee working remotely half of the time. The cost reduction benefits of remote-working are massive, and may be the real selling-point for many workplaces to go remote.
A key benefit of workplace flexibility is that it allows companies to hire outside of the normal commute distance, potentially finding better suited, more skilled professionals for their positions than they would find locally. For ad-hoc work, platforms like Upwork, Freelancer or Fiverr can be used to hire competent remote workers at competitive prices. When advertising for more permanent remote positions, the are many worldwide and region-specific job-posting websites which can be used to reach professionals far outside the local area of the company. Conferencing services like Express Virtual Meetings can be used to meet with applicants during the hiring process, and for regular meetings once they are on board.
It seems that remote working is here to stay, along with the great benefits it can have for businesses willing to take the plunge. While some may be reluctant to give up some control over their employees, the benefits for productivity, employee retention, cost reduction and hiring are becoming too significant to ignore.
Contact Express Virtual Meetings for a demo of our video conferencing solution, perfect for communicating and collaborating with remote employees anytime, anywhere.
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