COVID-19 has changed many things in our life, not least the way we work. A trend toward remote work was already in motion, but the pandemic accelerated it to an unprecedented scale.
Now, with vaccination rollouts and a general desire for normalcy, companies find themselves at a crossroads, questioning whether to go back to the pre-pandemic norm or to embrace this new era of remote employment.
As an employer, understanding why more companies are continuing down the remote work path could be key to building a resilient and thriving business.
Here’s how remote work can benefit not only employees but employers as well.
1. Boost Employee Engagement and Productivity
Early skepticism around remote work often centered on the fear that employee productivity might suffer. However, the opposite has proven true for many organizations.
Take for example, tech giant Microsoft, which reported a 40% boost in productivity after allowing for more flexible work setups in its Japan division. When employees work remotely, they often have the autonomy to create a personalized and distraction-free workspace.
Consequently, they can better manage their time and deliver quality work, leading to enhanced engagement and overall performance.
2. Employee Will Have Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a major driver for employment decisions. Remote work, as seen with companies like Slack, can improve employees’ health and happiness by giving back hours that would have been lost commuting.
This extra time empowers employees to focus on personal growth, family, and health. Potential benefits include reduced burnout and a more holistic approach to employee well-being, yielding a more content and productive workforce.
3. Employee Will Have Less Stress
Remote work mitigates numerous stressors typically associated with an office environment. Intuit, for example, has witnessed a decline in employee stress levels after implementing flexible work options.
Long commutes, often a major contributor to daily stress, are eliminated, allowing for more restful mornings and evenings. Also, the ability to create a comfortable work environment free from office noise and interruptions can dramatically improve focus and reduce the anxiety that comes with constant office stimuli.
4. Increase Employee Retention
When you offer remote work, you’re speaking directly to the desires of today’s workforce. Employees are more likely to stay with a company that supports their personal needs and professional growth without necessitating a sacrifice in the other areas of their lives.
In a hyper-competitive market for skilled talent, remote work can be a deal-breaker. Offering flexible, remote options reflects a commitment to employees’ quality of life and can significantly increase their loyalty. Loyal employees mean reduced turnover and reduced costs associated with hiring and training new staff.
5. Help Employer Save Money
The cost savings on office real estate, utilities, and supplies can be significant. IBM reported annual savings of $50 million in real estate costs alone after implementing remote work policies.
With fewer people in the office, you no longer need to maintain large physical spaces or pay for the associated overhead. These savings can then be redirected toward business development, employee training, and other growth initiatives.
6. Help Employer Attract Talent
In a competitive marketplace, offering remote work can be the ace up your sleeve for attracting top talent.
Companies like InVision have capitalized on this, positioning themselves as 100% remote and thereby attracting extraordinary talent from all over the world, unrestricted by geographical limitations. Becoming a remote-friendly company potentially allows you to hire the best, no matter where they live.
7. Promote Greater Inclusivity and Diversity
A remote work model also levels the playing field for professionals who may face barriers in conventional work settings. For individuals with disabilities, caregivers, or those living in remote areas, the ability to work from home means access to opportunities previously beyond their reach.
At Microsoft, the “satellite work hubs” concept not only supports current employees with a more flexible setting but also opens doors to talented individuals who might not otherwise have the opportunity to work for a large corporation.
8. Foster a Culture of Trust and Independence
Remote work inherently requires a shift towards more trust and independence for employees. Dropbox, for instance, has embraced this by positioning remote work as a means to empower their teams.
This empowerment leads to a healthier work environment where employees are trusted to manage their own time and deliver results without being micromanaged. Such a culture can breed innovation and initiative-taking, where the performance is judged by output and results rather than hours clocked in at an office desk.
9. Future-Proof the Business
Adopting remote work ensures that your business is more adaptable to future disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. With a structure already in place to accommodate remote operations, companies like Twitter were able to transition smoothly to a fully remote model when necessary. This agility is essential for business continuity in an increasingly unpredictable world.
Offering remote work isn’t just about keeping up with trends; it’s a conscious decision to modernize your business practices for the long-term health of your company and the well-being of your employees.
Given these compelling reasons, it’s clear why an increasing number of companies are moving towards a more flexible, remote-friendly work environment.
As an employer, it’s an opportune moment to reflect on how you can integrate remote work into your business strategy.