5 Compelling Benefits of Remote Work
Some love it. Some hate it. But it’s not going away any time soon. Many employees and employers have come to embrace the many advantages of working from home and the benefits of teleworking.
The definition of “home” has changed as well. Some workers have fled cities, adopted the van life or become digital nomads, and others are regulars at local coffee shops and co-working spaces. However home is defined, working from home versus office has a wide range of benefits for both employers and employees. Here are just X of them!
Both employers and employees are discovering that remote work can save thousands, if not millions of dollars.
Live from anywhere, which has both lifestyle and financial benefits. Younger generations who might have been struggling to pay off student loans or find affordable real estate now have virtually unlimited options. Commuting costs come way down, not to mention meals. Those latte breaks and take-out salads can add up over time. Childcare, elder care, and even pet care expenses may be less when someone’s office is right down the hall from their family. Up to 23 million people plan to relocate! Moving truck?
Save a small fortune on rent and equipment. And, when employees are happier, turnover goes down and your costs of recruiting may, in the long run, be much less. Employers are humans too, so all the benefits listed above (commuting and family care cost reductions and housing options) apply to company owners and management.
Business leaders are discovering too that some roles can be filled by independent contractors on an as-needed basis, rather than full-time employees. Saving on benefits, equipment, and other employee expenses means more money to invest in innovation and growth. Because workers can live anywhere, you have a virtually unlimited talent source. But more about that later in Benefit #2! When hiring executives, larger companies no longer have to pay for relocation. And those executives may be happy they don’t need to uproot their families and leave their friends behind.
Let’s not forget clothing and dry cleaning/laundry expenses! Sweats and Crocs have become popular uniforms for all management levels.
Despite concerns that at-home or on-the-road workers would spend their time cruising Netflix or napping, the opposite has proven to be true. 77% of workers say they are more productive working remotely. 99% don’t want to go back to offices.
Structure their lives and time around the work hours where they are most creative, productive, and engaged. Without extra time spent commuting or hanging around the lunch area, people can really focus on the tasks at hand. Controlling work/life integration leads to job satisfaction which, in turn, can lead to better work. Destructive office gossip may be less likely to occur among remote workers. After all, you can’t have water cooler chatter if you have no water coolers.
Spend more time being strategic rather than transactional. Hours for thinking and planning are precious and may be easier to control when you are managing your own work hours and interactions with others. That’s not to say that time isn’t sometimes wasted among remote work forces. Factors like wifi connections, confusions about meeting times, and interruptions by family or delivery people can be distractions and time-sucks. But that’s where Benefit #X comes in!
Remote work is not without its challenges. Mental and physical health issues are among the concerns of both employees and employers. Stress and weight gain are just two factors noted by employees who work remotely. Great, compassionate leaders should always be in tune with the needs of their employees. Remote work can make “checking in” tougher, which is why leaders need to set up systems and technologies that enable humans to express their needs and surface issues.
Employees and Employers Can:
Help save our planet (or at least their own corner of it). The Green Business Bureau outlines the many ways that remote work reduces our carbon footprint. Eliminating commutes and saving energy that was previously used by big commercial facilities are the most obvious benefits that result from our new way of working. Sustainability today extends beyond green efforts. It often refers to the long-term health of our communities.
That leads to…
Community and Talent Benefits
Choose from a wider range of companies and locations. Whereas people used to pick jobs that were convenient to their homes or families, they can now look for employers located anywhere that fit with their professional and personal needs, as well as their belief systems. Did you know 86% of millennials want a job that aligns with their social values?
Build truly diverse work teams, hiring employees from all over the world. (That could have a productivity advantage as well, giving companies coverage in multiple time zones and even many languages.)
Remote work is also compelling leaders to ask themselves, “Does this role have to be filled by a full-time employee?” Independent contractors can offer a wide range of short- and long-term skills and many companies are discovering that a mix of staff and contractors is a cost-efficient way to run a business, also contributing to new ways of thinking, best practices from other companies, and faster turnaround during crunch times.
The jig is up...wait...we mean the Gig work is up 33%.
Automation and Efficiency Benefits
Use systems, at all hours of the day or night, from wherever they are, to stay connected to the people, tools, and information they need to do the best job. One might argue that this is both a blessing and a curse, because it encourages a 24/7/365 lifestyle. But having access to critical data and resources without searching for it and learning multiple systems will result in long-term job satisfaction and hours, if not days, spent searching.
Technology is only dehumanizing if we allow it to be. Employees who lack self-confidence may find speaking to co-workers remotely to be much easier than dealing with them face-to-face, which will lead to greater participation and collaboration. We’ve all discovered that online meetings enable us to “see” and “talk to” people in different roles in different cities and even different countries, expanding our circles of influence and support.
Ensure teams are all receiving the same information, at the same time, which builds company culture and productivity. Although investments in technology may be viewed as a burden, they’ll pay off long-term on many levels:
- Access to information
- Facilitation of training
- Speed of dissemination of critical updates
- Cost savings from managing multiple systems (and elimination of paper-based communications)
What’s Stopping You From Going Remote?
We think that the 5 Benefits we’ve outlined are pretty compelling. Yet, some businesses are hesitant to make the move to remote work. Some types of industries (warehousing, certain types of medical care, etc) are simply not suited to remote or hybrid structures. But others are fearful of the change and lack of control that might ensue from a workforce that’s not all sitting together at the same time. This list is growing by the day. Many companies, large and small, are seeing the huge impact of having a remote workforce.
As you plan the future of your business, ask yourself:
- Why am I resistant to making bold moves (or even testing baby steps)?
- What can I learn from companies that have gone remote or hybrid?
- What are the risks of NOT offering remote options? Will I lose my top talent? Find recruiting more difficult? Incur costs that I might not otherwise have?
- What systems will I need to put in place to ensure better collaboration and communication in a remote environment?
You may find that the obstacles to remote work are based more on your beliefs than on the realities.
The Importance of Building the Right Systems for Remote Work
Whether you’re already leading or working for a remote or hybrid organization or contemplating a shift, your day-to-day habits AND your technology are critically important to making it work.
On a human level, you need to:
- Make sure you have the right talent in the right jobs (which has always been important). Adapt your hiring and recruiting systems. Make sure the people you bring into your organization are self-motivated, independent when they need to be, and collaborative.
- Know and support the needs of your employers and respect work/life boundaries
- Have regular meeting and discussion times to ensure people feel included and engaged.
And your technology decisions are more important than ever before!
Because the growth in remote work happened quickly as a result of the pandemic, many companies patched together communications, information management, and collaboration systems that don’t integrate well or talk to each other. Dealing with a screaming baby, barking dog, and ringing doorbell can be tough enough without having to scroll through multiple applications, searching for that important meeting or document.
All-in-one collaboration and work management solutions are starting to emerge and, as you look at your future-forward technology needs, integration and ease will be the keywords of 2022. That’s why we hope you’ll consider a new solution that’s designed specifically for remote and hybrid work teams and emerged directly from the challenges we’ve seen organizations grapple with as they navigate this remote new world!
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For more about how to lead remote workers and the trends that are shaping the future of work, subscribe to our blog too! We cover everything from generational differences in the workplace to empowering creative teams to facilitating more collaboration within your company.
Want to learn more about how SmartSuite is built for remote work? Check it out HERE.
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