05 Oct Working Remotely: The “Workplace” Could Be Almost Anywhere
You may have heard your manager say “I need my employees here in the office! That’s where collaboration and teamwork flourish!” While in-person interaction is necessary for some organizations, for others it may have added costs and stressors that employers may not have considered. Working remotely cuts costs on several fronts, including real estate, utilities and travel subsidies.
Working Remotely Cuts Down on the Commute
In rural communities or congested cities, traveling to the office can be a thorn in commuters days. While some commutes can be 20 minutes, others can be an hour and 20 minutes depending on traffic and location from home. In conversation with a past client, he shared that his commute from his home in New Jersey to his office in Manhattan could be an hour an a half or more. He was dropped off at the train station, waited for the train, rode into the city and then walked from the station to the office. Then, he did it all over again in the reverse order to get home in the evening. All I could think of when he shared this was all the work he could be doing or all the things he was missing out on with his family since he left before his kids got on the bus and did not get home until dinner was over.
For those employers that allow workers to work from home or from co-working spaces that are more convenient, both productivity and efficiency can be increased. The time they would normally spend in transit is made available to clients or for tending to daily operations. Not having to fight rush hour daily can have positive benefits not only to employees but also to the organization as a whole.
Working Remotely Reduces Stress
Stress suppresses the immune system, which makes it easier to get sick and harder to fight off bugs. “When people are stressed, they get sick. Statistics about remote work show that 82 percent of telecommuters reported lower stress levels, according to one study. That is a good thing not only for remote workers, but for the companies that employ them. The study by PGI found that 80 percent of workers reported higher morale when working from home. In the same study, 69 percent reported lower absenteeism.” Having sick workers only costs the company, whether it is missing work, lack of focus or cost for health care.
Working Remotely Lowers Turnover
A HUGE cost to companies is the loss of talent. Offering remote work options reduced employee turnover, and “job attrition rates fell by over 50 percent,” according to a study published by Stanford University. There is the tangible cost of losing an employee, like the investment in training and skill building workshops, benefits, supplies, etc. that goes into cultivating an employee. However, the most costly loss to an organization is the knowledge that leaves when the employee goes elsewhere. While knowledge has no monetary value, it is easily the most costly loss. Working remotely or from home allows for better work-life balance. Permitting employees to pick where they work best or to choose from a few options increases morale and also shows that management and executives trust the employees to manage their work effectively. Happy employees stay put.
Working Remotely is the #FutureofWork
In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data show that 23 percent of employees reported doing some of their work remotely. This is up from 19 percent in 2003. Workers also have access to an array of tools that allow them to videoconference, collaborate on shared documents and manage complex workflows with colleagues around the world.
Collaboration and teamwork can flourish outside of a traditional office complex. Employees need to have a good sense of where they work best. Teams need to be on the same page as to how they work together cohesively. The technology to facilitate communication about work has to be tailored to teams’ needs.
To be successful while working remotely:
- Employees need to have a good sense of where they work best
- Teams need to be on the same page as to how they work best together
- The technology to facilitate communication about work has to be tailored to teams’ needs
- Trust between employee and employer must be established
Where do you work best?