The COVID-19 outbreak has forced companies to transition to a remote work model, and for many companies, they’ve seen that work can be done just as productively from home as from the office. In fact, a recent survey from Gartner found that remote work may become a permanent possibility for many employees — 74% of CFOs surveyed said that at least 5% of their employees will become permanent remote workers once the pandemic ends, and 10% said at least 25% of their workforce will transition to remote work after the pandemic.
If your company is fully remote these days, you might be wondering what the future holds for your office once the COVID-19 outbreak subsides. A remote work model has several benefits beyond infection control. Let’s look at why continuing a remote work model might be beneficial for your company.
One big reason the CFOs in the Gartner survey want to continue with remote work? It saves money. Real estate is expensive, say survey respondents, and having a remote workforce — even just a portion — helps control those costs.
And cost savings isn’t just beneficial to employers: employees benefit from it, too. Employees who work from home part-time can save between $2,500 and $4,000 per year thanks to reduced costs of parking, travel and food. They also benefit from time savings, saving about 11 workdays per year on time that would have been spent commuting.
A Harvard Business School study showed that employees who worked from home were about 4.4% more productive than those who worked in an office. Less time spent commuting can lead to more productivity. Experts have even speculated that more free time and more money saved on gas and vehicle maintenance can result in happier employees, which can lead to increased productivity. Another benefit of working remotely is the possibility of less distractions from coworkers, and depending on the working environment, you may even find that working from home results in noise reduction, which can lead to increased productivity.
Losing a valued employee can cost your organization between $10,000 and $30,000. Consider these statistics from Global Workplace Analytics:
Allowing employees to work remotely even just a few days a week can help reduce turnover, which can help create another benefit: happier employees.
While saving money on food, gas and other commuting expenses can make remote working employees happier, there’s another big benefit working from home provides: a better work-life balance. The time saved on a commute helps employees achieve a better work-life balance. The flexibility to work remotely also allowed employees to be able to attend appointments, pick up kids from school and tend to other things that working a set schedule in an office would otherwise prohibit.
With the removal of the commute, lunch rush and time spent away from family and friends that remote work provides, employees may benefit from better health and wellness — reduced stress and not being in contact with sick coworkers who come into the office.
Offering a remote work option can make your business more competitive and give you access to a larger pool of talent. In fact, 35% of employees said they’d change jobs if it meant they could work remotely full time. A work-from-home benefit might just be the thing that sets your company apart for the next great candidate.
It’s clear that remote work offers an array of benefits for employees and companies. But jumping into a remote work model isn’t going to work for every business model. If you’re considering making remote work a permanent part of your company, keep these things in mind:
Technology: Does your company have access to the appropriate technology for successful remote work? This can include things like VPN, messaging and video conferencing tools. Does the employee have the necessary things like a stable internet connection and computer or any other equipment they need to work remotely?
Expectations: Do you expect your employees to keep a strict 9 to 5 schedule? Or can they have flexibility? Should remote employees use Slack or other messaging services to keep in contact with other employees? Will your company pay for a coworking space for remote employees? Or a better internet connection at home?
Independence: How independent is each position that would be working from home? Research has found that the more independent a position is — it can be done with little to no interaction with other employees — the more likely it is remote work will be successful and productivity will increase.
Working from home or remotely is no longer just a trend, thanks to COVID-19. The outbreak has shown that many jobs can be done successfully outside of a typical office environment. While we are waiting for the economy to fully open, consider whether a permanent remote working model might be beneficial for your company.