In PGi’s recent Global Telework Survey, we gathered responses from around the globe about the state of teleworking. Approximately 79 percent of those surveyed stated they worked remotely at least one day per week.
The survey also found that more than ever before, companies are embracing flexible working, with 66 percent of respondents saying telecommuting is more positively viewed in their organization.
With more accepting attitudes toward telecommuting, there’s no doubt that this form of work is becoming more popular than ever, and for good reason. Check out these ten ways why remote workers are great for business:
Saves Money on Real Estate & Utilities
Nearly six out of ten employers identify cost savings as a significant benefit to having telecommuting programs, according to the Telework Research Network’s survey, Cost and Benefits: Advantages of Telecommuting for Companies. Real estate costs alone can make up a majority of a business’s overhead costs annually. The average real estate savings with full-time teleworkers is $10,000 per employee per year.
Add in reduction of utility costs, and the average business could save up to $11,000 per employee per year, or $700 billion per year in the U.S. if employees telecommuted just part-time. By participating in a remote work program, companies can reduce office space, energy use and real estate costs—all while decreasing their carbon footprint.
Decreases Carbon Footprint
A no-brainer that helps not only employees and businesses is the reduction in their carbon footprint, and the money saved by as a result. The fewer people on the roads commuting means less traffic, which leads to less emissions and greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere. How does this save some cash?
Well, for employees, telecommuting reduces the U.S. total vehicle miles traveled by 35 billion annually. For employers? You’ll cut down on paper supplies, and won’t have to duplicate office furniture and supplies that would otherwise eventually end up in a landfill. A win-win for both parties.
Employees are more Engaged
According to a blog post written by Scott Edinger for Harvard Business Review, remote employees are in fact more engaged than those working within an office. According to Edinger, it’s the absence from the office and colleagues that encourages employees to be more engaged.
Think about the saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but it’s true that when we lack in-person communication, we often try harder to connect.
Whether they’re connecting through email, video conferencing or telephone, remote workers are more likely to work harder to stay engaged with their counterparts.
Remote workers have a flexibility that in-office workers don’t. Because they can practically choose their hours of work, remote workers can not only squeeze in a gym session in the middle of the day, but they can also avoid the temptation of breakroom treats or going out to lunch with co-workers. According to a study done by Staples, 73 percent of employees surveyed said they eat healthier when working from home. It’s much easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle with flexible work hours.
And because workers have the ability to create a healthier work/life balance, they’re actually less stressed. According to the same Staples study, employees who worked from home experienced 25 percent less stress, which makes for a much happier and more productive workday.
That’s right, happier employees are more productive. This shouldn’t come as surprise, but when employees experience less stress in their job, they will be more likely to work harder and longer hours. Latest Telecommuting Statistics, by Telework Research Network, found that 86 percent of telecommuters say they are more productive in their home office. Remote workers also produce 43 percent more business volume than their in-office counterparts, according to another survey conducted by Staples.
Another element that helps remote workers stay productive? Lack of workplace distractions. Every year, businesses lose $600 billion to workplace distractions! A remote employee doesn’t have to deal with the typical workplace distractions like casual conversations or unscheduled meetings which, in turn, helps them think better and work more efficiently.
More Creative Cycles
Those unwelcomed interruptions during the workday can really distract some workers. The adult attention span is 8.25 seconds—less than that of a goldfish. And when that attention is interrupted by noisy co-workers or impromptu meetings, an employee’s in-depth concentration, creativity and time management can be thwarted. According to PGi’s eBook, The Yin and Yang of Telecommuting, “telecommuting at least two days a week naturally increases a larger cycle of productivity, as workers recognize and compartmentalize various tasks.”
High Retention Rates
Because remote work has all of the above benefits for employees, businesses can expect to see higher retention rates within the company. According to Telework America National Telework Survey, conducted by Matrix Resources, 72 percent of employers say telework has a high impact on employee retention rate.
The desirability of telecommuting is high, especially among millennials, the generation of employees that will make up majority of the workplace in 2020. When this generation was asked the most important factors when deciding between two equal jobs, 78 percent said the ability to work from home and 96 percent said flexible work hours.
Hire from a Bigger Talent Pool
Not only does desirability play a factor in a larger talent pool to hire from, but so do the logistics of remote work. Equip remote workers with the right tools to stay engaged with their colleagues, and you’ll be able to hire employees both locally and globally.
And because of that extended reach, remote work gives businesses the opportuntity to offer geographic, socioeconomic and cultural diversity to their employees that would otherwise not be possible. Finding candidates for a job doesn’t have to just be localized to your city. With remote work, the ability to find that perfect fit increases dramatically.
A final perk for businesses to consider when hiring remote workers? Not only will they be more productive and engaged, but they’ll also be less likely to call in for unscheduled absences. Seventy-eight percent of employees who call in sick, are actually calling in to take care of personal or family issues.
These unscheduled absences cost $1,800 per employee per year, and companies with a telework program report 63 percent fewer unscheduled absences. With flexible hours, teleworkers will feel more comfortable running personal errands and schedule important appointments without losing a full day of work.
From cost-savings to happier employees, there is no doubt that remote work programs can reap huge benefits for employers. Want to learn more about teleworking trends and perspectives globally? Check out PGi’s Global Telework Survey or download our free eBook, The Yin and Yang of Telecommuting.