Specific jobs will always require staff on hand to get the job done. The construction crew can't get much done at home, and your Starbucks coffee isn't going to brew itself. Yet in today's work world, many employees don't need to be present at the office to fulfill their duties. Read on for the top 3 reasons to consider remote work for your small business employees.
Sometimes, the office makes it harder for employees to get their work done. Strange, right? It’s not that crazy when you think about it.
Think about your work environment right now. Are you in an office? Do you have your earphones in to cancel out the latest gossip about what Miley Cyrus wore last night or how terrible the Broncos are this year? Have you been interrupted at least once today by someone with a “quick question”? Did you have to sit in traffic on the way to work? Will you have to sit in it again on the way home?
It’s not hard to imagine why remote work would be appealing.
The 2019 workforce is very different than it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Recent data shows that remote work has grown more than 90% in the last 10 years and 159% over the previous 12 years. The 2019 State of Remote Work report suggests remote work is here to stay—99% of remote worker respondents said they planned to work from home “at least some of the time” for the remainder of their careers.
Everyone else is doing it, but is that reason enough to introduce a work-from-home policy at your business? See for yourself. Here are a few of the fantastic benefits companies are experiencing thanks to remote work.
1. Boost Productivity
While it might be fun (or terrifying) to entertain the stereotype that remote workers sit around all day playing video games and binge-watching The Walking Dead, the results tell a different story.
A 2-year Stanford study found that remote workers experienced “an astounding productivity boost…equivalent to a full day’s work” every week. Remote employees spend less time commuting, in meetings, or getting distracted at the office.
2. Decrease Costs
Fewer employees in the office means less real estate, fewer desks, and overall decreased operating expenses.
Dell reported that they save roughly $12 million a year in real estate costs due to their flexible remote work policies. And American Express claims to save between $10 to $15 million annually in real estate costs.
If you want a quick way to save thousands of dollars annually for each of your employees, consider trading office space for more remote flexibility.
3. Increase Employee Retention
The before-referenced Stanford study showed that employee retention increased by 50% when employees had the option to work from home.
“Not only do the employees benefit [from remote work], but the managers benefit because they can spend less of their time painfully advertising, recruiting, training, and promoting,” said researcher Nicholas Bloom.
This benefit is really a double-whammy because retention has financial value—and it’s no small sum. The average cost to replace an employee is $4,425, and it takes around 36 days to fill the position.
4. Reduce Employee Stress
Employee stress levels are worth stressing about. Here are a few sobering statistics to consider:
- 83% of Americans are stressed by one or more things at work
- Workplace stress costs employers $300 billion every year
- 1 million Americans skip work each day due to stress
Considering these statistics, there’s a good chance your employees are stressed—and it’s costing your business.
Fortunately, there’s a quick, free solution: remote work.
A 2019 study shows the top reasons remote workers choose to work from home: to reduce stress (78%), avoid the commute (78%), and improve their work-life balance (91%). Another study showed that 86% of respondents think flexible work-from-home options help them reduce stress.
How to Try Out Remote Work for Your Small Business Employees
Should you let your employees work from home? Notwithstanding the benefits, there’s no clear-cut right answer. You’ll have to make the best decision for your business based on your industry, location, market, employees, and other factors.
As a business owner, you have the power and creativity to create a unique work-from-home policy for your company. Maybe instead of opening the floodgates to remote work, you introduce the concept gradually. Experiment with work-from-home on Wednesdays and see how things go. Or let your employees choose one day every other week to stay at home.
Don’t fear remote work—embrace it, and find ways to make it serve your business and employees. More companies than ever are empowering their employees to work in a way that makes sense for their circumstances. Give it a try and open up doors to fantastic new opportunities for your business.
Looking for other ways to improve employee morale? Check out “How to Offer Affordable Employee Benefits.”