Five Benefits of Allowing Your Employees to Work from Home
Have you considered making the switch from a traditional office atmosphere to allowing your employees to work from home? Or perhaps you’ve thought about offering flex days where employees have the option to work from home? If you’re still on the fence about allowing your employees to work from home here are some benefits for you and your employees that might make your decision a little easier.
According to a study from Staples Advantage (the business-to-business division of Staples, Inc.) 86 percent of telecommuters report being more productive. Typically at home, telecommuters have a quieter work atmosphere. They don’t have Jim, Sally and Bob popping in unexpectedly to chat about their weekend plans or to discuss what happened on last night’s popular sitcom. They also avoid the usual chatter of the office, the whir of the printer next to their cubicle, etc.
There is also a decrease in workday disruptions. Instead of discussing problems with co-workers in an impromptu meeting, those problems can be addressed via email and on a timetable that fits better within your working day. Working from home also decreases work absences, including sick days. Those who telecommute take two to four fewer sick days on an annual basis than their traditional office counterparts. That’s 16-32 more working hours per employee.
Several companies have reported increased productivity in their telecommuting employees, such as Aetna, the State of California and American Express.
Happier and Healthier Employees
In addition to increased productivity, dozens of studies evaluated by scholars at Penn State showed that telecommuting also increases job satisfaction and life satisfaction. The Staples study mentioned above also reported telecommuters experienced reduced stress levels and 73% reported eating healthier when working from home.
There are likely many contributing factors to this benefit including more family time, eliminating a long commute (which takes time and uses money in gas), and helping to establish a better work/home balance.
No Restrictions on Location
One strong benefit for the employer of full-time telecommuting is that it removes the location requirement. You can then expand your recruiting efforts. It’s no longer an issue when the best resume for the position comes from a candidate across the country. You get a talented employee and they don’t have to uproot themselves from their current living situation.
Boost for Recruitment/Aids Employee Retention
Flexible working situations also tend to attract top talent. If you can’t afford to pay top dollar, consider allowing your employees to work from home part of the week. Add this as a benefit to compete with other employers. Or if you are competitive with salary, this perk may help you persuade a candidate to select your company over another.
Telecommuting has also proved valuable in retaining current employees. Aetna reported a 2-3% turnover rate among their telecommuters versus an 8% turnover rate company-wide. Also, a recent statistic from Global Workplace Analytics reported that 95% of employers think that telecommuting has a high impact on employee retention.
Real estate and other related office costs for a business can be enormous. However, allowing your employees to work from home part time or full time can translate to cost savings. For American Express, their BlueWork program has saved the company between $10 to $15 million every year in real estate expenses.
Employers also save money through some previously mentioned benefits. For example, unscheduled absences (i.e. sick days) can cost employers around $1,800 per employee per year. When you eliminate some of those sick days, you eliminate the associated costs. And, every time you have to replace an employee who has left the company there are associated costs. Higher retention rates equal more money saved for the company.
There are many more benefits than those listed above (like being more environmentally friendly). For many, the benefits outweigh the risks. The current workplace trends show telecommuting is likely to increase.
Whether to incorporate remote employees part time or full time is something to consider. Your best set up will depend on your organization and its needs. One thing is for sure – exploring your options is sure to be well worth it.