Remember when working remotely was seen as an excuse to get away from work? Well, things have changed quite a lot since then. The workplace has experienced a sharp culture shift over the last couple of decades. In that relatively short space of time, remote working has moved from a rare employee perk to a valuable productivity trend – and that trend is rising steadily.
Data released from the US Census found that 5.2% of workers, equivalent to 8 million people, worked at home in 2017. This number is up from 5% in 2016 and 3.3% in 2000.
Why are so many people working remotely?
It is partly thanks to massive developments in mobile technology and wireless internet connectivity. Although not every job can be performed remotely, it has quickly become apparent that employees and entrepreneurs need not travel to a central office environment in order to work productively; in many cases, work can now be completed in alternate locations such as the home, in coworking spaces or cafes, on the train, and many other locations.
As for the swift acceleration of this trend, its largely due to the overwhelming positive attributes of remote working. So with that, let’s get into the top 5 benefits.
#1: Staff Are More Productive
One of the key reasons entrepreneurs switch to remote work is to gain more productivity from their workforce. This fascinating two year study by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom and Chinese travel company Ctrip found a productivity boost among telecommuters equivalent to a full day’s work. Reason being, work from home employees worked a true full shift as opposed to arriving late to the office or leaving early.
#2: Remote Work Improves Morale and Happiness
Productivity is rooted in personal wellbeing. A happier, fulfilled person is more likely to put in additional effort for your company – but fulfillment is not always related to pay or promotion. Giving staff the opportunity to work flexibly equates to a better work/life balance, more time with the family, and less commuting, which saves your employees time and money.
#3: Its Cheaper
A remote work policy doesn’t just save on commuting costs, it also reduces business overheads. Fewer people in the workplace means less office space, which cuts the cost of the lease along with heating and cooling rates, lighting, and other expenditures. Thanks to remote work capabilities, some companies have now replaced their office rental with a virtual office agreement. This enables them to keep a commercial mailing address with access to meeting rooms and a day office rental, without the long term commitment or cost of a full time office.
#4: It enhances talent recruitment and retention
Millennials and up and coming Gen Z value flexibility in the workplace. Companies that embrace remote working are seen as in touch with their employees needs and are more likely to attract skilled workers from further afield, given the reduction in travel.
#5: Flexible Working Reduces Attrition
In addition to employee retention, flexible work is known to help reduce attrition in the workforce. In the Ctrip example mentioned above, there was a 50% decrease in employee attrition along with fewer sick days during the two year experiment.
Employees that are given the opportunity to work flexibly are often eager to prove the success of their remote working arrangement by working longer hours, delivering higher quality of work and being better citizens.