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5 Benefits of Allowing Your Employees to Work Remotely

Business.com / Last Modified: May 23, 2017
Photo credit: Alex Brylov/Shutterstock

Technology makes it easier than ever for your employees to be productive while working from home or anywhere else in the world. While remote work may initially sound like something that only benefits your employees, there are several ways it can help your business.

The traditional workplace is becoming a thing of the past. In prior generations, just a small percentage of Americans worked remotely, but the number has been steadily increasing and reached a new high of 43 percent in 2016.

Technology makes it easier than ever for your employees to be productive while working from home or anywhere else in the world. While remote work may initially sound like something that only benefits your employees, there are several ways it can help your business.

1. Greater Productivity

A common worry among employers is that remote employees won’t work as hard, but numerous studies have proven that untrue. More than two-thirds of employers found that productivity was higher with their remote workers for multiple reasons.

Remote employees have fewer workplace distractions than employees at the office. They don’t need to commute, so they can start their workday more relaxed than if they’d just spent an hour in traffic, and many use the time they save on commuting to work more.

The standard 9-to-5 workday isn’t ideal from a productivity standpoint, either. It often results in periods of high productivity mixed with periods where employees are less focused, such as the typical mid-afternoon lull after lunch. When you give remote employees flexibility in regards to their schedule, they can structure their days so they’re working when they feel most productive.

2. More Satisfied Employees

Employees consider working from home a significant perk, and that’s particularly true among millennials, who value their work-life balance more than any previous generation. People want jobs that allow them to keep control of their lives and have plenty of chances to travel.

When your business offers the opportunity to work remotely, it will have an easier time attracting and retaining talent. This makes a flexible work arrangement an excellent incentive to offer employees and job candidates in lieu of a higher salary. You save money and your employees get something they value out of the arrangement.

Higher employee satisfaction also results in less turnover. The cost of replacing an employee can run well over $10,000, making employee retention crucial to the longevity of your business.

3. Reduced Overhead Costs

Your business spends far less money on its overhead when you hire remote employees. The most obvious savings is your rent, as you can use a smaller office when you have fewer employees, and you’ll cut your utilities bills. 

Every remote employee you hire is one less workstation you need, and since a computer is a standard piece of equipment in many industries, you could save hundreds or thousands of dollars per workstation. You won’t need to stock as much of those common office supplies, including paper, printer ink and snacks for the break room.

4. Fewer Absences

Absences cost your business money, and there’s an even greater impact for small businesses that rely on a limited number of employees. Remote employees don’t call in sick as often, as people are more likely to work through minor illnesses when they don’t need to leave the house. You also avoid a situation where one sick employee comes to work and infects other people at the office.

Illnesses obviously aren’t the only reason employees take days off, as many do so for errands, family issues, and other commitments that they can’t reschedule. With a flexible working arrangement, employees can handle other tasks during the day and then work when they get home.

5. A Larger Talent Pool

When you have a position to fill, you can expand your search to talent around the nation or even the world if you’re open to remote employees. It’s not always possible to find the ideal candidate for a position locally, especially if your business isn’t near a major metro area or the position requires an employee with a unique skillset.

Thanks to modern technology, the hiring process for remote employees is simple. Job boards and professional social networks, such as LinkedIn, can help you find qualified candidates from all over. You can conduct interviews by phone or using a video calling service.

Setting up flexible working arrangements can seem risky when you haven’t done it before, but it shows your employees that you trust them, and it will end up being a mutually beneficial arrangement. Keep in mind that you can always start small by letting employees work remotely for one or two days per week, or hiring your first remote employee to handle a few small projects. Evaluate the results to see if it’s viable for your business.

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