Working from home sounds like a great option to offer your employees. From a purely cost-benefit point of view, your business can save costs in several areas including utilities, office supplies, and equipment. Your employees can also benefit in several areas starting with transportation costs.
Sounds like a win-win. Deciding whether or not your business can benefit by converting or hiring remote workers can seem daunting. But consider this – some of your employees may already be working from
home. They most likely have had to work from home from time to time due to family needs, home services or deliveries.
While at home, they’ve managed their email, projects, calls, and conferences efficiently and have gotten the job done. Combine this with a conscientious and honest worker, and you have a strong case for a remote workforce.
Remote workforces are increasing every year and for a good reason. As of 2016, 3.7 million Americans work from home at least half of the time. According to recent studies, a high percentage of businesses with flexible work policies experienced high percentages of employee satisfaction, increased productivity and talent retention.
Technology’s Surprising Role in the Remote Work Explosion
It’s important to keep in mind that remote work doesn’t just benefit employees. According to the “2015 Workplace Flexibility Study”, conducted by Career Arc and WorkplaceTrends.com, 87% of HR leaders believe that workplace flexibility programs lead to employee satisfaction, while nearly 7 out of 10 HR leaders use workplace flexibility programs as a recruiting and retention tool.
What seems to be driving employers to address workplace flexibility? Answer: there appears to be some disconnect between employers and employees on work-life balance caused by technology.
Technology has expanded the 9-to- 5 workday into the 24/7 workday. This has made it very difficult for employees to have enough personal time. Businesses are being forced to react to this work-life problem
by creating flexibility programs or investing more in their existing programs. In the future, every company will have a flexibility program and those that don't will lose the battle for the top talent.
Consider the Backdoor Benefits of Remote Work
Aside from the more tangible benefits, remote work can potentially provide like reduced transportation costs, rent, utilities and equipment savings; there are also other perks that may not be so evident. With
remote work, your business has access to a worldwide talent pool. Where once you could only consider applicants located within your city or immediate area, you can now attract candidates country-wide or even internationally.
Your business will also benefit by experiencing greater employee retention. When employees are able to work from their home office on a flexible schedule, their stress levels are lower, and their productivity is
higher. If your business can build a good trust relationship with your employees to work autonomously from their home offices, you will be rewarded with loyalty, higher level production and happy employees.
Pause and Consider the Challenges
Reddit and Yahoo have repealed their remote work programs, which could be viewed as a dire warning against such policies. Both organizations reported that their decisions were not a disapproval of remote work. Instead, the arrangement didn’t fit their specific needs.
The lesson here is to assess the needs and requirements to determine if a remote work program is right for your business.
Some top challenges may include:
Difficulty in managing performance of remote employees. How do you measure productivity and communicate expectations?
Communication without face-to-face interaction can be tricky. Some people cannot collaborate remotely.
The feeling of staying connected to the company may become strained for some employees when they are not physically in the office.
These challenges that seem insurmountable can certainly be overcome with some creativity and ingenuity. It may just be as simple as tweaking your communication methods.
The point is that the perceived pitfalls of remote work like communication, productivity and performance measurement challenges can all be solved if you know your business can benefit and grow having a remote work program.
Explore the Options of a Remote Work Program
‘Try before you buy’ is a common phrase in the retail sales space. Why not in the remote work evaluation phase? It’s quite apparent that with the internet and technology, many jobs can be done remotely. Whether or not its right for your company is a matter of evaluation. Look at the options.
Take a look at how much remote work your company can allow. Evaluate the positions in your company and determine if specific jobs can be done remotely. Consider how much remote work your employees will do: 100 percent? 50 percent? One day a week? Figure out what type of schedule will work best and start a trial remote work program.
Put the necessary tools in place before starting the program. Consider how meetings will be held and how documents will be delivered and shared. Decide how projects will be tracked. Evaluate software that can help your remote workers perform efficiently.
After a preset period of time, make an evaluation of the program and determine if it works for your company. You can choose to expand it or tailor to certain areas and departments. Collect employee feedback and listen to what they say about the experience. They may feel they need more management communication or different communication or productivity tools.
The bottom line is to adjust and rework the program as you get more feedback. This will ensure your program becomes successful in the long term.
In conclusion, don’t pass up on the opportunity to expand your workplace into the remote domain. Yes, there are challenges, but they are certainly not insurmountable. With the right remote work program,
your business can attract a substantial talent pool and retain loyal and happy employees.