Removing the Taboo of Remote Work
The future of remote working is here, and it is getting more flexible to accommodate to employees looking to stay out of the office and work on their own terms.
But it’s no where near where it needs to be.
I believe a remote workforce is the future workforce, and the more that companies try to restrict this progressive movement, employee retention will be decreased, any new global talent will not be an option, and the overall growth and profit of a business will be negatively impacted.
No one wakes up in the morning and goes, “I am SO excited to commute to work and head into the office today.”
But what if your commute to the office was a few steps from your bed? Or at your favorite place to have coffee? Or at a quiet park overlooking a beautiful lake? Or even on a cruise ship headed towards a country you’ve always wanted to visit?
Companies committed to remote work share two common traits:
1. Happy employees
2. Efficient teams
Those aren’t claims based on anecdotal evidence. Numerous scientifically-rigorous, survey-backed empirical findings show how companies offering the flexibility to work from home (or coffee shops or co-working spaces) tend to be more profitable and productive than businesses that support on-site work only.
The Advantages of Remote Working:
· Less distractions
- Lack of break rooms and other workplace distractions means people can reach goals faster too. In one experiment that let Chinese call center employees work from home, people got through 13% more calls than the in-office staff did. The company not only saved money on office space and furniture, but gained the equivalent of an extra workday a week from each employee.
· Eliminates long, sometimes frustrating, commutes
- Commuters are more likely than telecommuters to feel dissatisfied with daily activities, regardless of how much they’re paid — a fact supported by a recent U.K. Office for National Statistics finding.
· Saves you money (on gas while avoiding those routine commutes, that lunch with your co-workers, that extra coffee)
· Higher levels of productivity
· Decreases stress levels, happier employees
- When you provide employees the flexibility to control where and when they work, they gain an extra hour of sleep a week to become more attentive and alert.
- Simple fact that people tend to work harder when they’re happy, 12% harder, according to one economic experiment.
· Increases quality time with others
- Being able to spend more time with your spouse and kids increases overall happiness and well-being in the whole family and decreases divorce rates.
· Able to meet any sudden commitments or emergencies
- Having a sick child, a sick family member, or a sudden emergency can already be stressful, but being able to make these commitments immediately can mean everything.
· Healthier employees
- It is widespread that non-remote employees wait until there is something actually wrong in order to seek medical attention. Rather than put in requests and wait for approvals or waste their allotted and restricted time off pay. Remote employees allow for better timing of preventative care appointments, thus a higher quality life.
- A variety of justifications lead about two-in-five workers (37%) to conclude it is not “easy” to take the time off they have earned. Top reasons workers say they leave vacation unused are fear of returning to a mountain of work (40%) and the belief that nobody else can do their job (35%). The effects of a tough economy still linger: one-third (33%) of employees say they cannot afford to use their time off and nearly a quarter (22%) of workers say that they do not want to be seen as replaceable.
- Sometimes due to restricted lunch times and breaks, employees can sometimes skip meals or rush through eating in order to get back to work, causing detrimental health repercussions to both the employee and employer.
· Flexibility in work schedule, work on a schedule that best fits you
- Sometimes employees do their best work at different hours of the day. You have morning people, afternoon people, and night people. Instead of forcing a specific time to work, allow the employee to work at a time that’s most productive to them. This increases the quality of work provided.
· Work at your own pace
· Longer engaged workers
The Disadvantages of Remote Working:
· Can get a bit lonely unless you ensure you set aside time for social activities or use a co-working space
· Tough at first to separate home life and work life, i.e. a physical boundary required
· Distractions of home or even your local cafe that take your focus away from your work
· If you’re routine, than your day-to-day may get difficult
· Complete dependence on technology, so make sure you have great internet and maintained equipment.
The Advantages of a Company w/ Remote Workers:
· Saves company money, sometimes A LOT of money, as overhead is greatly decreased
- A typical business can save $11,000 per person per year simply by letting them work from home 50% of the time, according to a recent analysis by Global Workplace Analytics.
- Two examples from big companies, according to a Forbes magazine report: Aetna (where some 14,500 of 35,000 employees don’t have an “in-office” desk) shed 2.7 million square feet of office space, saving $78 million. American Express reported annual savings of $10 million to $15 million thanks to its remote worker options.
· Employees productivity increases
- Research has been revealing for years that the overall job satisfaction and productivity gains of remote work translate into significant (as in $277 million a year ) savings.
· It’s more eco-friendly — as in no energy consuming office equipment, supplies, paper…etc
- Employers who have embraced telecommuting have helped reduce their carbon footprint, studies show. In 2013, annual fuel consumption decreased by 680 million gallons, about 0.5 percent of the nation’s gas consumption, one study found.
· Employees become more loyal and turnover decreases
- Offering remote work options reduced employee turnover, and “job attrition rates fell by over 50 percent,” according to a study published by Stanford University. The report, based on stats about remote work from a China-based firm listed on NASDAQ with 16,000 employees, described the WFH, or work-from-home, arrangement as “highly profitable” for the company.
· Increases employee overall morale
· Companies have access to more and better talent, faster
- For example, research by online freelance marketplace Upwork suggests that finding and on-boarding talent in the brick-and-mortar world takes an average of 43 days, compared with 3 days in the virtual world.
- A robust 68 percent of job seekers who are millennials said an option to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in specific employers, according to a survey by AfterCollege, a career network for college students and recent grads. “Policies that cultivate a flexible, fun, and casual work environment have a positive impact” on young people’s interest in specific employers, the survey found.
The Disadvantages of a Company w/ Remote Workers:
Many of the disadvantages of remote teams are blessings in disguise.
· Company culture takes a hit unless you ensure you are exposing team members to each other more often than not
- But, teams must form bonds on deeper shared values as there is no “ping pong table” to superficially unite people.
- Of course, it is still a priority that your team meets face-to-face at some sort of regular intervals. Get to know your team beyond the work they perform.
· Communication gets a little difficult
- Since communication can’t be done in person, remote workers learn to communicate more deliberately, and with more clarity, since they cannot simply tap a co-worker on the shoulder.
· Sometimes there’s a trial period of remote employees not being able to adjust, therefore, not working out
- Companies have understood this, and have proposed a small office for workers who like to physically be in an office, or have remote work be on specific days.
· Not being able to see employees’ physically and be able to keep tabs.
· Good! Micromanaging is a thing of the past, and employees do not need to be chained to a desk for the majority of their day in order to prove their performance. Their performance should be determined by their work, and this should be valued over their physical presence and what they are doing every second of the day.
· Hire people you can trust, and conversely, trust the people you hire.
But don’t just take it from me, look at these other statistics:
Global Workplace Analytics’ research finds that:
- 50% of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and approximately 20–25% of the workforce teleworks at some frequency
- 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time. Two to three days a week seems to be the sweet spot that allows for a balance of concentrative work (at home) and collaborative work (at the office).
- Fortune 1000 companies around the globe are entirely revamping their space around the fact that employees are already mobile. Studies repeatedly show they are not at their desk 50–60% of the time.
Summary of Trends:
- Regular work-at-home, among the non-self-employed population, has grown by 103% since 2005.
- 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time.
- The employee population as a whole grew by 1.9% from 2013 to 2014, while employees who telecommuter population grew 5.6%.
- Worldwide, more than 50% of people who telecommute part-time said they wanted to increase their remote hours. Additionally, 79 percent of knowledge workers in a global survey by PGI said they work from home, and 60 percent of remote workers in the survey said that if they could, they would leave their current job for a full-time remote position at the same pay rate.
Credit and Resources
Learnings from a Remote Team — Groove HQ
Another is engaged to a nurse whose schedule changes every week. Their lives are made a lot easier by the fact that he’s able to work the same hours as her (sometimes, that means early mornings, evenings or weekends) and get time off when she does (usually weekdays).
Personally, I love living next to the ocean. On more than one occasion, I’ve stopped what I was doing, grabbed my board and headed out for some mid-day surfing.
Large organizations today are under greater threat of disruption, requiring early adoption and a heightened awareness of the surrounding business environment.
P.S. Thanks for reading all the way up to this point! If you found value in this, or if you agree, I’d really appreciate it if you recommend this post (by clicking the ❤ button) so other people can see it and we can get the word out! Thanks!