Remote work will be the way forward for many companies. A recent Gallup poll found that 37% of all workers telecommute at least two days per month. While it may be difficult to give up this much control, there are good reasons to allow employees to work from home. Of course, in some industries this won’t be possible, but technological advances have created the tools for work to be done remotely at least some of the time.
If you’re trying to improve retention, you want to make your employees happier — and providing flexibility with when and where work is done is a win. Even if it’s only a couple of times a month, working from home offers clear benefits for both sides.
1. An instant raise
Want to give your employees a pay bump but not spend any money? Allow them to work from home. They’ll pocket the money they would’ve spent on gas or public transit. They could also save money by eating at home instead of going out for lunch and making their own coffee rather than popping over to Starbucks whenever they need a boost.
Not to mention the time they’ll save. According to a Reuters report, 10.8 million Americans travel at least an hour per way to work. That’s about two hours a day that employees are involved in work without being paid. Reducing the commute greatly benefits your employees.
2. Higher productivity
Often, people assume that working from home means employees do less work. That is not so, according to a Microsoft study. Think about it: Employees can work when they want, meaning they’ll choose the times of day they’re most productive rather than set office hours. They also have fewer distractions, like colleagues asking them questions and meetings that could have been emails.
Workers are also less likely to call in sick for minor ailments — they can stay home and take care of themselves while getting their work done. An Inc. magazine study found that remote workers are actually up to 20% more productive in terms of creative work.
3. Better communication
This might appear counterintuitive — employees communicate better when they’re around each other all the time, right? But employees working remotely make contact more intentionally, leading to more effective communication. Remote employees are also more likely to set up meetings for a specific purpose. If they need to collaborate on a project, they can set a time for a video chat rather than talking about the subject at random throughout the day.
4. Demonstrating trust
The bottom line is that permitting employees to work remotely shows that you trust them to be independent. No one likes the idea of a boss looking over their shoulder, and working from home eliminates that. Employees can take breaks when it suits them rather than trying to “look good.”
Giving the OK on telecommuting demonstrates that you want your employees to have a stronger work-life balance. If you can’t trust your employees to get things done when you’re not around, maybe you should consider bringing in different people.
Do your employees work from home? Share your thoughts in the comments section.