This year, businesses across the country were forced to shutter their doors and move their employees into remote positions — but this might not have been a bad thing. As much as the sudden shift to remote work may have thrown companies for a loop, the transition also had a number of benefits that may make you question whether you need to return to the office at all.
If you’re looking for ways that a permanent remote work policy can benefit your business, be sure to consider the following:
Improved Customer Connectivity
It might seem like sending workers out of the office would diminish the contact center experience, but it can often have the opposite effect: cloud-based call centers are highly efficient, easy to implement, and allow your employees to work from wherever they please. Customer service is a stressful job, and the freedom that remote work offers can help employees perform their roles effectively without getting bogged down.
Another counterintuitive fact about remote work is that those who work from home are significantly more productive than their office-bound counterparts — some studies have shown that remote workers do a whole extra day of work over the course of a week compared with office workers. The office can seem like it promotes a strong work ethic, but it’s also teeming with distractions and diversions that can make it hard to get into a genuine groove. At home, workers can optimize their space in order to ensure that they have just the environment they need to stay focused.
Many of remote work’s biggest benefits fall into the hands of employees, but employers stand to gain quite a bit as well. Transitioning a full-time worker to a remote position can save a business over $22,000 in reduced costs. These numbers get even larger when you start making permanent, company wide remote transitions — think about how much money you would save if you no longer had to pay for rent, heating, electricity, insurance, office snacks, team lunches and so much more for your office. While a whole-team transition might not be in the cards for every company, the savings are hard to ignore.
The numbers here don’t lie: remote workers are 22% more likely to say that they are happy in the role than office workers are. As great and dynamic as your office may be, it’s still an office. The commute to and from work combined with the drudgery of getting out of bed on a Monday morning can wear down even the cheeriest workers, but letting your employees work where and how they choose can skirt around this issue entirely. Employee happiness goes a long way for productivity, so make sure you’re staying aware of what boosts your employee morale even while working remotely.
Larger Talent Pool
It doesn’t matter if your business is in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, or the middle of nowhere: if you allow your positions to be filled remotely, you’re opening up a massive new pool of applicants. As large as your city or region may be, there’s no getting around the fact that there are scores of talented people who live outside of it. Advertising your remote positions will attract attention from top talent the world over, ensuring that you’re always making the best possible hire for your business.
One of the implicit tyrannies of office life is the strict set of business hours that comes with it: even the most lenient of employers would generally their workers not to arrive too late in the morning or depart too early in the evening. Remote work allows companies to fully embrace flexible scheduling, letting employees decide for themselves when their hours are going to be. There’s nothing wrong with mandating certain times everyone be present and available, but not every person works most efficiently during business hours, so let your employees make that choice.
More Worker Independence
Without a boss to watch over their every move, employees are naturally going to start being more inventive and original with the kind of work they do. Research has shown that a lenient, humble management inspires high levels of worker creativity, and a remote workplace can help you implement that kind of management style at your company. No one is going to be satisfied in a restrictive role, so be sure to order your remote work with a side of employee freedom.
Greater Meeting Efficiency
Face it: no one likes virtual meetings. Extended Zoom calls are exhausting and difficult to focus on. While this may seem like a drawback to remote work, it’s actually a serious benefit: this incentivizes meeting organizers to maximize meeting efficiency wherever possible, ensuring that no one contracts a serious case of Zoom fatigue. This allows workers to spend more of their time on critical tasks instead of wasting away in endless conference calls.
It pays to go green, and ditching the office is just about the greenest thing a business can do these days. No matter how you look at it, remote work boosts your company’s sustainability: when Sun Microsystems transitioned 24,000 employees to remote roles, their company slashed their production of CO2 by over 32,000 tons. Every company needs to be doing their part when it comes to the environment, and remote work is an easy way to help out.
Higher Employee Retention
You likely know from experience that employee attrition is one of the single biggest avoidable costs a business can face: replacing a mid-level employee can incur a price tag of up to 125% of their salary for your business. It’s no coincidence that 46% of remote companies reported a boost in worker retention after leaving the office — why leave a role that gives you all of the occupational independence you could ever want?
Switching to remote work may not have been optional, but going back to the office is very much a choice that business leaders will be asked to make. As you weigh your options, keep this list in mind — your decision could affect your company’s balance sheet for years to come.
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