There’s a lot to be said for letting your employees work remotely. At first glance it shows that your company is embracing the future of work, and it also implies that you care about your workers' wellbeing. While it's been proven that more flexible work schedules have resulted in more employee satisfaction across the board, it’s understandable that some employers still feel hesitant about letting their staff work out of the office.
Whether you’re a business owner considering a remote working policy, or an employee thinking about taking on a more flexible position, here are five reasons that will give you the confidence to embrace remote work.
1. It creates a better work/life balance
For companies that are new to remote work, letting employees work from home can be nerve-racking. Understandably employers may worry that their workers will just binge-watch Netflix all day in their pyjamas, with work being the last thing on their mind. Luckily that hasn’t been the case. Various studies have proven that allowing employees to work from home fosters a better work/life balance. Creating space for workers to take breaks when needed, while also allowing them to manage their own work schedules has had little to no adverse effects on company-wide culture when it comes to maintaining a professional atmosphere.
2. It prepares you for the future
Today even the biggest companies are letting their employees work remotely, indicating that the nine to five work day might become obsolete in the not-too-distant future. For companies to stay relevant it’s imperative that they meet the changing needs of contemporary employees. By 2020 50% of the workforce will be comprised of Millennials, the majority of whom expect more flexible schedules. Companies that allow employees to work remotely are pushed to familiarise themselves with the latest communication software and have an easier time accommodating the needs of future generations of employees.
3. It builds trust and increases productivity
There’s a lot to be said for having a good relationship with your employees. It’s been shown that even if someone loves their job, having to report to the same location day in and day out doesn’t exactly boost morale. There are various factors that contribute to a decrease in job satisfaction while working in an office, such as potential distractions, having to accommodate co-workers and a lack of stimulating workplace environment. Allowing people the option to choose at what time, and in which environment they work, has led to an increase in general productivity and more efficiency, as remote workers tend to take less sick days.
4. It saves your company money
Not having to go into the office at 9am every day leaves room for workers to balance their personal lives, whether that means taking children to school or getting to the gym. But this also saves your company money because increased satisfaction often results in higher retention. With lower turnover rates businesses save money on recruiting and training costs. In addition a business can save on overheads such as rent and utilities by taking on a more flexible lease.
5. It attracts new talent
Allowing your employees to telecommute opens up new opportunities when it comes to attracting talent. Companies that have an entirely remote workforce have shown that business is no longer limited by location when it comes to finding the best and brightest talent. While your business might not be ready to take on a fully remote workforce, enlisting freelancers will automatically expand your talent pool, leading to a more diversified professional network.
Embracing remote work doesn’t mean telling the whole office to come in whenever they want. Rather employers should communicate with employees, finding out what steps they can take to make their work experience better and more productive.
Ellie Martin is co-founder of Startup Change. She currently splits her time between her home office in New York and Israel