With the current technology available consisting of laptops, internet, software
applications and mobile device, some employers are overlooking a key benefit to offer their employees. The cost of this benefit is actually not even a cost but a cost savings for the employer and the employee. The benefit is the flexibility to work REMOTELY. Granted as with any benefit employees need to realize that if you abuse a benefit, then at some point you will loose it. I am an expert on working remotely given that I have had some remote days for 75% of career. It has been one of the wonderful things that make putting many extra hours worth it, by having the flexibility of not having to go into the office every day. Over the course of my remote days I have noted the following benefits for employers and employees.PROS TO EMPLOYERS – HAVING REMOTE EMPLOYEES
1) More Time Working
Since employees aren’t spending time commuting, which in some cases can be significant, employers benefit because many times employees will give part of that time back to the company. If the employee is an exempt (non-hourly), then this will mean that the company gets extra benefit from having remote employees. Let’s say employees are paid $50,000/year, equating to around $24/hour. If employees gave back an hour of commute time and you have 100 employees, this is a benefit to the company of $1.5 Million to the company, that is a huge benefit for the company! Even only 15 minutes, for a benefit of $375,000 is no small drop in the bucket.
2) Higher Productivity
Because concentration is at its peak when you are alone, rather in a cube packed office, employees will be able to get a ton more done! If company is able to get 25% more out of an employee, without even paying them more.
3) Increase in Availability
Even though there can still be a ton of calls/ meetings to attend when working remotely, they don’t have to spend extra time running around the building getting to them. Also, Employees are able to be more available given that tend to stay on their computers longer, since they don’t have to pack up to go home.
4) Higher Morale – Better for business
With higher Morale employees are sick less often and stay in their jobs. Employers pay lots of money on healthcare, and some even offer incentives for their employees to stay healthy. With Employees sick less often, this is a large benefit to the employer. Employees that are happy WANT to be best at their job, which obviously helps the company. Also, being happy means that employees have a positive attitude, which makes working them better in general. Having an employee stay in a job for a longer period of time also means that there is lower turnover rate resulting in a higher cost savings for the employer.
PROS TO EMPLOYEES – WORKING REMOTELY
1) Can save time
By not having to wake up and get ready to into the office you are saving time getting ready in the morning. You are saving time when you would be commuting to and from work. Time is saved when you don’t have to prepare a lunch in advance. Even though you might not end working at the same time you did when you went into the office, you still have some time saved.
2) Way Less Distractions
It is so funny, because those that haven’t worked from home (or maybe they were abusers of the system) think that working from home has a lot of distractions; however, I have found this to be the complete opposite. At the office there is nothing more frustrating then trying to complete an urgent task where you really need to focus to get it done with people either stopping by your desk, walking by noisily, or talking nearby on the phone. The key to less distractions is for the employee to be the only at home when working. Having less distractions makes it much easier to focus to complete things faster and thereby having less stress on the employee.
3) Ability to Control Your Surroundings
In my desk drawer at the office I have a blanket. Yes, I keep an actual blanket in my drawer. I do it because it is normally so cold in the office. My hands would be freezing from typing, and I would keep my blanket around me. At home, I don’t need a blanket, because I am controlling the air. If you want to sit by the window then you can, if you decide that you would rather sit else (like over the heat register) then you can. Being able control your surroundings is a huge comfort that continues to increases\ morale.
4) No Cube Floor-plans
If you have a manager that is a super micro-manager, then most likely they often glance over your shoulder or head all the time when walking by, or maybe there is some creepy person at the office that likes to see what you are up to all the time (who board-line needs to be reported to HR). Either way, this can be uncomfortable. Businesses have gotten into the thinking that we all need to “be together” so that we can be “more collaborative, and more productive,” which has resulted in most businesses adopting the cube floor-plan. I would seriously love to challenge that this floor-plan of cubes is better over offices. Maybe it does depend on what your profession is, but for finance I think the cube floor -plan is horrible. I would much rather be in an office where I can concentrate analyzing financial statements. The great about being remote is that your entire house is your office. No cube like sitting structure. Just you, your computer, and your quiet house.
5) Ability to literally work remotely from anywhere
This past December was my sister’s birthday. Because she lives in a different state, I took a trip to visit her for birthday. I didn’t have enough vacation days to take more than just one day, so what I did is I flew to see her after work on a Thursday night, worked remotely from her apartment on Friday, and flew home on Monday. On Friday, my sister also had the flexibility to work remotely one day a week, so we both worked from her apartment, and we had “remote party” on Friday. However, it was nothing like a party as we were both glued to our computers and work. What was nice though was at 7:30pm when we both finished is that we got to go to dinner together. And yes I said 7:30pm on Friday night.
In 2013 Marissa Mayer banned working from home at Yahoo. She sites communication and collaboration will be important. This just gives working remotely a bad a name. While I do agree that there can be benefits from coming into an office, there are certainly benefits from working remotely as well that are often overlooked. If employees effectively use communication, and employers provide the proper tools for communication like video meeting software, instance messages, forums, websites, email, and phones then working remotely is still just as effective and better than going into the office every day and more cost effective for the company.
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