Work from home options are becoming more and more popular with employees, but are these flexible arrangements any good for employers?
A study from TinyPulse revealed 91% of telecommuters felt more productive working remotely than in the office. With numbers like that, it’s hard not to want to take this idea and run with it.
But there are some things you’ll want to consider before jumping in.
The benefits of flexibility
Recruitment - Today’s employees love being able to make choices about when, where, and how they work. Offering remote work options could give you a serious advantage when it comes to recruiting.
Being able to accommodate remote employees can also open up your hiring pool significantly. Find a great candidate who isn’t interested in a long commute, relocation, or sticking to a rigid schedule? These things are no longer automatic deal breakers.
Retention - In addition to feeling more productive, remote workers also reported feeling more valued, having higher levels of job satisfaction, and being more likely to stay with their current employer than their office-working counterparts.
Productivity - Work from home options allow your employees to be productive without physically being in the office. Major snow storm? Bundle up and work from home. Systems down in the office? Grab your laptop and head to a cafe. Feeling a little under the weather? Employees can log a few hours from home— without sharing germs with the rest of the team.
Employers with telecommuting programs in place have reported lower levels of absenteeism, fewer employee sick days, increased hiring flexibility, lower turnover, and reduced overhead costs. Sounds like a winning scenario, right?
When it’s done right
Before you decide to kick everyone out of the office tomorrow, it’s important to note that survey responses were different when remote workers were broken out by those who chose to work at home vs. those who were forced to work at home.
Not surprisingly, employees who chose to telecommute were happier, felt more valued, and were more likely to see themselves staying with the company than those who were mandated to work remotely.
The lesson here? Today’s job seekers value choice and flexibility, and are taking these things consideration when making career moves and decisions. But choice without structure can be bad for everyone, especially when the rules seem unclear. Or unfair.
Consistency is key
If you do plan to offer telecommuting benefits, you’ll want to standardize your program as much as possible. If only a few select groups or individuals are offered work at home benefits, it can quickly cause friction and resentment on the team.
Which brings up another thing to consider. The TinyPulse research also found that remote employees scored lower than their in-office mates when it came to rating the overall quality of their relationships at work.
So while it can be difficult for remote teams to feel and stay connected, that doesn’t mean you need to toss your work from home policy plans out the window. Instead, you can look at this challenge as an opportunity to design a healthy, productive workplace environment that address these issues from the inside out. Organizations with high levels of communication, connection, and trust will be well-suited for implementing creative and flexible new policies.
If you’ve already cultivated a healthy, positive company culture, go ahead! Take that next step forward. And reap the rewards of going remote.
At Raffa, we work with businesses in the greater Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC area to implement strategic employee benefits plans designed to position them as coveted employers of choice. Whether you’re looking to build a healthy team, lower employee turnover, or recruit and reward executive talent, we can help.
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