When you think about your employees working from home do you imagine them sitting around in pajamas watching day time talk shows and wasting away work hours? You’ll be surprised to know that allowing employees to work remotely (even just part time) makes them less likely to waste time during the day (sorry, Dr. Phil) and much more likely to be engaged, productive and satisfied. From reducing carbon emissions and productivity to saving your business beaucoup bucks, there are some compelling reasons that make a remote workforce (or even a part-time remote workforce) a necessity for businesses in 2019 and beyond.
The Remote Workforce Today
About 4 million employees, comprising of about three percent of the total workforce, work from home at least half of the time, recent studies show. This number is a solid 115% increase over what it was in 2005, when only 1.8 million workers were taking care of business at home. In addition to these increases in at home, full-time employees, freelance work is also on the rise. Studies show that more than a third (36%) of workers are now working freelance jobs (this amounts to about 57 million people in the workforce). Researchers estimate that about half of those actively engaged in the workforce will be freelancers by 2020.
Here are five ways your business, the environment and your overall team will benefit from allowing employees to work from home:
#1: Environmental impact
The first and most widespread benefit is one that will allow you to do your part to reduce your business carbon footprint. Offering remote work to employees is a great way to make a positive impact on the environment by conserving energy and reducing fuel consumption and pollution. After all, commuting contributes greatly to the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and company offices are part of the fourth-largest contributor. People working from home in the US right now avoid emitting 3.6 million tons of commuting-related greenhouse gasses annually.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, employees telecommuting just half-time could reduce carbon emissions by over 51 million metric tons a year.
#2: Increased Productivity
Your concerns about employees wasting time working from home? Let us ease those fears. A two year study of 500 employees done by Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom showed an astounding productivity boost among telecommuters. Work-from-home employees tend to work a true full-shift (or more) vs being late to the office or leaving early multiple times a week and found it easier to concentrate at home.
Other studies show that unscheduled absences cost employers $1,800/employee/year in lost work, but 78% of employees who take off work aren’t really sick. They are generally facing some sort of issue at home, are stressed, or have personal needs to take care of. Allowing employees to work from home can reduce this stress and give them the better work-life balance they are looking for. The Bloom study mentioned above showed that remote employees take shorter breaks, have fewer sick days and take less time off.
#3: Reduction in Business Costs
You’ve probably already heard that a remote workforce and reduce your costs and increase your bottom line. But are you aware by how much? Global Workplace Analytics has conducted a substantial amount of research on Agile work environments that allow employees to work where and when they want. This research has shown significant cost reductions for businesses who offer work from home.
- Office costs: fewer employees working in the same location/s reduces the need for more real estate, rent, utilities, office supplies, etc. One study showed a company saving almost $2,000 per employee on rent because they were able to reduce the amount of HQ office space.
- Salaries: A poll of 1,500 technology professionals revealed that 37% would take a pay cut of 10% if they could work from home, and 36% would choose working from home over a pay raise.
- Tenure: 14% of Americans have changed jobs to shorten the commute, and 46% of companies say that allowing telework has reduced attrition. It’s expensive to replace and train new employees, and businesses can keep their current employees around longer by adding working from home as a perk.
#4: Employee Quality and Satisfaction
Happier employees work harder and for longer hours, stay longer at their current place of employment and are more productive, and research has shown that over two-thirds would want to work from home. 80% of telecommuters report a higher morale, and 82% of telecommuters report lower stress levels. In his study, Bloom found that employers who offered a work from home option had employee turnover rates fall by over 50%. Plus, more highly educated workers are looking for flexibility and work from home opportunities.
#5: Addressing the IT Concerns
We can’t tell you if allowing employees to work from home is the right move for your business, but we can address a few IT concerns that business owners may have when considering it. Some of the top IT-related concerns businesses have with employees working from home include security and employee access to business applications.
When businesses allow their employees to work from home, the right IT infrastructure needs to be in place to allow employees to access their systems remotely. This can be a challenge for businesses that have individual licenses for multiple pieces of software, which is where virtual desktops and web application management present themselves as a viable solution. It can also be a challenge for smaller businesses who have a limited IT team.
Virtual desktops allow businesses to create stateless desktops that remote employees can easily and securely access. They host all necessary business applications within an on-premise or remote server that employees can access from their devices while at home or on the road.
Web application management makes it easy for internal IT teams to provide security and access to all mission-critical business applications. They can easily provision new accounts to full-time or temporary employees with just a few clicks. They can also set up a single-sign on that allows employees to easily access all apps they use for their day-to-day work.
When combined together, web application management and virtual desktops alleviate the IT concerns many businesses have when allowing employees to work remotely with scalability and security.
Want to learn more about how to equip your business to reap the rewards of a telecommuting workforce? Contact our team today.