Remote work has been in the spotlight recently, and with good reason. Throughout 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced employers of all shapes and sizes to send their employees home to work remotely. And it taught both companies and their workers an important lesson: Roles of all sorts, from accounting jobs and team managers to IT professionals and administrative assistant jobs, could be adapted to remote work.
As distancing restrictions waned and lockdowns were lifted, a new question arose: Should employers continue to let their employees work remotely? What exactly are the advantages of allowing employees to stay remote?
Is your company currently debating bringing employees back into the office or keeping them remote? It turns out that there are many compelling reasons for you to let your employees continue working remotely. It’s good for your employees, team morale, and your company as a whole.
Should Working from Home Stay for Good?
Companies, employers, and staffing agencies are asking themselves an important question: Should working from home stay for good? There are many good arguments that yes, it should. There are benefits to the employer as well as the employees themselves. To put it simply, allowing employees to continue working remotely is a win-win for everyone.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the advantages of having employees continue to work from home, even as we move past the pandemic.
Something that became clear early on in the pandemic, especially as mass lockdowns went into effect, was the environmental impact. With millions of cars off the road and people off the streets, the impact on the world around us was immense. Waterways cleared up, wildlife thrived, pollution was lowered, and air quality improved.
According to statistics from FlexJobs, when people work even part-time from home, 7.8 billion vehicle miles aren’t traveled, 3 million tons of greenhouse gases aren’t emitted, and savings on oil costs top $980 million. Imagine the impact when employees work full-time from home for even longer periods of time.
Companies can reduce their overall carbon footprint and make a positive impact on climate change by reducing commuter travel. Pollution, congestion, and traffic levels all waned during the pandemic, and allowing remote work to continue will keep those benefits coming. Your company can feel good about the contribution it is making toward a lower environmental impact and a better planet.
One of the greatest advantages of remote work for your employees themselves is the ability to find a healthy work-life balance. This is very important for staff morale. When employees focus too much on work and don’t enjoy enough of life outside the office, things start to take a turn for the worse — fast.
Overworking and focusing on work even when one is not in the office can quickly lead to burnout. Burnout is a very real physical and mental condition marked by feelings of exhaustion, defeat, and detachment. An employee will lose interest in their work and their job performance will soon suffer.
Not only is this not good for the individual, it’s not good for your team. The thing about burnout is that if it’s happening to one employee, it may very likely be happening to more. If your team is being overworked as a whole, you might have multiple cases of burnout on your hands. And that will quickly send productivity and morale into a downward spiral.
Working remotely allows employees to better establish a healthy work-life balance. If an employee needs to step away from their computer for a few minutes, for example, they can. Once work is wrapped up for the day, they can go right from their home office to spending time with their family. Little things like this make a huge difference when it comes to avoiding burnout and achieving a proper work-life balance.
You might make the mistake of thinking that an employee who is working remotely, detached from the physical office, would be absent more often. This isn’t the case. Absenteeism tends to go down when employees work remotely, in fact.
Flexible scheduling and remote work allow team members to fit personal obligations — appointments, drop-offs, daycare, etc. — around their work schedule. This means that they don’t have to take a full or half-day off for those obligations. You’ll be surprised at the reduction in absenteeism and time-off requests when you allow your employees to work remotely.
Another good thing about remote work is that it tends to make for healthier employees. Evidence shows that remote workers often bounce back more quickly from illness, ultimately taking fewer days off than they might for an in-office role. That’s good for your employees and your company as a whole.
Some companies make the mistake of holding an outdated view of remote work and the productivity challenges it presents. It’s easy to assume that remote workers will slack off because there is no one looking over their shoulders. But that simply isn’t the case. It turns out that remote work can significantly increase your staff’s productivity levels.
A study from Stanford University found that remote workers are 13% more productive compared to their in-office counterparts. That’s a significant number. And it’s important to consider why this is the case. Remote workers are working, well… alone, which means they’re not getting distracted by other coworkers or the busy office environment. Plus, there are more hours in the day because your employees didn’t take the time to commute. Their day begins in a less stressful manner than it would at the office, which means they can get right down to business rather than taking time to settle in.
Another great thing about remote work is that it gives your business the chance to eliminate unnecessary meetings. And the meetings that you do hold will be easier to organize. Rather than getting multiple people together physically across multiple departments, it’s as simple as setting up a video call. That’s a significant cost and time savings for everyone, and it boosts productivity across the board.
Staffing agencies and management recruiters are well aware that finding and hiring qualified employees is one of the biggest challenges for companies, even successful ones. And keeping those qualified employees around is another challenge entirely.
The good news is that allowing your employees to continue working remotely is a great retention tool. Many employees expect it — they simply won’t stick around if a job is required to be performed on-site. If they can find a remote position with another company, they will.
Allowing employees to work from home boosts retention because it promises a healthy work-life balance for the employees. It also offers the flexibility that some employees need, whether they’re working parents or have a part-time job outside of the office.
Well-Balanced Work and Home Life
The connection between work and home life goes beyond achieving a work-life balance as described above. For some employees, having a well-balanced work and home life is critical for obligations outside of the office.
Some employees need time to drop their children off at school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon. Some care for elderly parents or loved ones. Some have health concerns and need to go to appointments on a regular basis. Your employees shouldn’t be penalized for these things — they should be able to take care of their obligations outside of work and also get their job done by maintaining a proper balance between the two.
Remote work allows for a proper balance between work obligations and home obligations. This way neither has to be sacrificed for the other. That’s a good thing for everyone.
Avoiding Commute Stress and Gas Expenses
Who wants to spend all that time on the road, commuting to and from work every day, if they don’t have to? It’s annoying, and it’s expensive.
Employees tend to be much happier when they can avoid the stress of morning and evening rush hour. Coming into the office and starting work immediately after a stressful situation is not an ideal work environment, and it doesn’t make your employees any more productive. When they can start work in the comfort of their own home, that stress is gone.
Additionally, the cost savings on gas is significant when you allow employees to work remotely. That means more money in your employees’ pockets, increasing their job satisfaction and work performance. And because there is no commuting and stopping at the gas station, your employees have more time in the day to get work done.
Cost Savings on Office-Related Expenses
Consider this: When your employees aren’t in the office full-time, you don’t need to spend as much on certain office-related expenses. Toilet paper for the restrooms, printer ink and paper, standard office supplies like pens and staples, snacks and coffee for the break room… the list goes on. And the savings go beyond the little things that your employees use every day.
Here are just a few of the office-related expenses that your company will be able to save on by keeping employees remote:
Office Space (Rent/Utilities)
How much do you spend per year renting out your facility or office space? What’s the heating bill look like in the wintertime? How about air conditioning in the summer? Having your workforce stay remote even a portion of the time can mean huge savings when it comes to rent and utility costs.
When your employees aren’t facing customers like they might in the office, they don’t need to wear a specific uniform. Imagine how much your company could save by reducing uniform costs. Rather than spending money on making sure each employee has a specific outfit, you can save it and allow your employees to wear standard office-appropriate clothing at home.
You probably pay a hefty fee to a cleaning service at least once per year to make sure the office stays tidy. Maybe you have a service come through every month to shampoo the carpets and wax the floors. This is another area where you can enjoy great cost savings if you allow your workforce to remain remote. The office simply won’t get as dirty, because there aren’t people coming in and out constantly.
Consider These Remote Advantages Before Bringing the Team Back to the Office
Remote work has all sorts of advantages, both for the employee and the employer. Employees will enjoy a better work-life balance, cost-savings on things like gas and car maintenance, and less stress. Employers will reduce their environmental impact, see improved productivity and retention, and save money on things like office expenses, utilities, and cleaning services. Plus, employing a remote workforce is a powerful recruiting tool as well — you’re going to attract top candidates who want the flexibility and freedom of remote work.
Are you an employer in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque, NM area looking to fill administrative assistant jobs, HR jobs, accounting jobs, or anything in between? Turn to your trusted resource for help. The Hire Firm is the area’s leading staffing agency and can help you find the talent you need. Partnering with us means you never have to settle — contact us today.