According to the U.S. Department of Labor, around 24% of employees in the U.S. have had a remote position at least once. The numbers are higher in the professional services industry (35%) and the business and finance sector (38%). These numbers don’t even include the 53 million freelancers working in the U.S. alone.
It’s clear that remote working has gained prominence, with no sign of stopping any time soon. Between 80% to 90% of respondents in a recent Global Workspace Association survey said they would like to work remotely at least 2-3 days a week. And who wouldn’t? Working from home means not having to deal with traffic and being able to work in your pajamas.
The benefits of remote work for employees are obvious, but did you know that business owners and managers can also benefit from remote employees? In this article, we show you 3 ways remote employees add to your company.
Related Topic: What’s the Difference Between Remote Work and Telecommuting?
It is widely thought that working from home reduces productivity because of possible distractions, such as TV, kids, errands etc. However, let’s not forget that distractions exist in the workplace as well. Workplace politics, water cooler gossip, and conflicts with other employees can get in the way of work. Yes, your employee might be sitting at their desk, staring at their computer screen, but are they really hard at work?
By working remotely, your employees can create an environment conducive to working, according to their preferences. One employee might find it easier to brainstorm while running. Another might be more productive at night. A recent survey shows that remote workers actually tend to work more than 40 hours per week, and according to another study, 86% of employees surveyed said they “hit maximum productivity” when working from home.
Plus, because they are allowed to work in an environment that they’ve created for themselves, their stress levels tend to be lower. You end up with happier employees who are more likely to stay loyal to your company. In fact, remote workers are 50% less likely to quit their jobs, compared to in-house workers.
As mentioned earlier, remote employees can create an environment that is most conducive to their style of working. For in-house employees, this responsibility falls on the employer’s shoulders. You have to make sure that your employees are comfortable in the workplace so they can be more efficient. This you will have to pay for air conditioning and heating, a sufficient supply of water and coffee, comfortable office chairs, and working computers. Not to mention the cost of renting the work space itself.
All of these items eat up a company’s budget. Did you know that just by allowing your employees to work from home 2-3 days a week, you can save as much as $1,000 per month for each employee? Full-time remote employees could save you twice the amount. Having remote employees means you don’t have to provide them with work desks or maintain and repair their computers.
The telecommuters themselves also save on items such as laundry, food and traveling expenses, which can cost them around $800-$1,000 per month. From a business owner’s perspective, this means you gain employees who are less likely to complain about their pay. With fewer work-related expenses, remote workers have more leftover income. While this may seem small, it can go a long way in terms of job satisfaction, retention, and employee productivity.
Let’s say the perfect person for your open job position responds to your posting. He has impeccable work experience, great references and connections with others in the industry. The only problem is, he lives in a different state and isn’t willing to relocate.
With remote employees, you don’t have to bypass skilled candidates like this anymore. You’ll have more candidates to choose from and can truly pick the best of the best to be a part of your company. In fact, more and more companies are using online job boards to search for remote workers.
Remote working does have its downsides, but then again, so does in-house employment. Some say that remote workers are the future of the workplace. I say that while it isn’t perfect, it is definitely a setup that can benefit many companies. With fewer geographic restraints, you gain skilled and talented employees who will increase your company’s productivity, and decrease your operational expenses.
Related Topic: 10 Ways to Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance
This blog was originally published on May 10, 2017. It has been updated to reflect more recent data, and surveys.