Remote work is a huge trend in the workplace of today--and especially of tomorrow. Businesses and employees alike reap the benefits of working outside of a traditional office setting. This trend has proven to increase productivity and efficiency for a variety of reasons. Beyond kudos for having a progressive approach to work, innovative technology enhances remote working and can increase productivity, employee engagement, and overall happiness.
Technology for Connecting Colleagues
Surprised by the popularity of this trend? Don't be. There are numerous vehicles that enable a connection between employees and their teams without ever stepping foot in the office. Chatting functions available on Zoom, Slack, Google Hangout, GroupMe, and other platforms allow for instant dialogue between colleagues. For visual interaction, companies can utilize programs like Skype, Facetime, Zoom (again), Highfive, etc. In addition to communication vehicles, there are many engagement benefits associated with remote working that have not been considered in the past.
The Origins of Remote Work
Remote work started prior to the Industrial Revolution, and the pros and cons of this idea have been up for debate for many years. The workers of the late 17-1800’s worked from home with the focus on agricultural work. In many cases, people would create their workspace inside or attached to their living quarters. Once the Industrial Revolution came about, factories started to surface and people were forced to commute to the factories every day.In the 1970’s, companies started to consider remote work for employees again. There was a focus on what was called “live/work” initiated out of New York. During this timeframe, while many employees started to work from home again, it was not nearly as popular as it is now. Only certain companies across the globe made it part of their normal business practice. Then, in 2009 remote work as the norm began to come to life again. For example, the United States Office of Personnel Management reported that 100,000+ federal employees were working remotely. Fast forward to today and there are various industries across many states and countries that offer positions from a remote location. That trend is only increasing thanks to the plethora of benefits.
Benefits for Companies
Increase overall productivity:
- Fewer employee absences. It is much easier for an employee to work from the comfort of his or her own home when they are under the weather. This way, spreading germs to other co-workers happens far less often.
- Proven increase in employee productivity. This is possibly due to fewer distractions.
- The tendency for employees to work longer hours per day.
Retain your talented workers:
- Ability to provide flexibility and conform to a multitude of lifestyles and personal life demands.
- Increased rates of retention as a result of increased morale and engagement (people are happier when they can take care of what they need to!)
- Ability to keep the most tenured workers in the workforce longer.
Save your company money:
- Minimized overhead and real estate costs.
- Disengaged employees cost billions in lost productivity ($483 billion to $605 billion each year in the US) - Gallup Report.
Expand your applicant pool:
- Technology allows businesses a greater reach for candidates all over the world. Talent acquisition is much more reflective of the best talent available. There are no longer limits relative to commutable boundaries. A diverse, international workforce has become so much more possible.
- With the ability to have a stronger talent base across states and countries, companies can get real-time intel on other markets.
Happy Employees are Productive Employees
Save time in a few key areas. The minutes add up!
- No dress code: People no longer have to wake up earlier to look their best for work. Technically, employees can work in their pajamas.
- Less time spent in traffic, less fuel consumption, less wear and tear on a vehicle.
Comfortable = Invested
- Less time away from family. Remote work provides employees with the work/life integration that meets their individual needs.
- Flexibility for where employees work. From their home office to Starbucks to beachside, employees can work in the environment most comfortable for them.
- Increased flexibility to travel.
- Minimal to no unnecessary meetings
At the end of the day, remote working is something that creates conditions for employees to do great work rather than just a neat perk. This option not only saves companies money but improves talent experience while also reducing the overall cost of employment. Quite frankly, companies that don’t offer some degree of remote work will soon be sacrificing competitive edge and finding it hard to keep up.