When asked about the benefits of working from home, most employees can immediately list them without hesitation. But what about benefits for employers? What are the concrete, bottom-line-improving reasons they should consider remote work?
And what about the less tangible benefits—the ones that might not be as directly tied to the bottom line, but are just as important and valuable to their employees, and ultimately, to the employers, too?
Many benefits for employers can positively impact employees as well, but there are also some remote work benefits that more directly benefit employers.
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These financial advantages will make any employer seriously consider offering telework options on a more regular or widespread basis. Here are seven benefits of working from home for employers:
1. Lower costs
Let’s start with the bottom line. Allowing employees to work from home will save employers money—not only on the more obvious overhead expenses of office space but also on the additional costs of supplies and energy.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, the average amount of money per year that an employer can save on real estate costs with just one employee working from home full time is $10,000 per year.
Companies like Aetna are taking advantage of these real cost savings and expanding remote work programs to improve bottom lines—and the results are impressive. Aetna’s policies have impacted 47% of its workforce and have saved the company $78 million per year in real estate, utilities, mail service, document shredding, and housekeeping.
When it comes to the real and measurable benefits of annual savings, there is clear evidence that working from home can impact businesses just as positively as it does for telecommuters. These savings can be immediate and ongoing if a company is willing to commit to improving its bottom line.
Another ongoing telecommuting cost-savings could be found in employee healthcare costs, according to a CoSo Cloud “Remote Collaborative Worker Survey.” The survey revealed that 42% of remote workers are eating healthier and 45% are getting more sleep, which can lead to healthier employees and lower healthcare insurance costs paid by employers.
2. Bigger applicant pool
This is another benefit that makes logical sense but isn’t always taken into account when an organization weighs flexible work arrangements like telecommuting.
When companies search for the best and the brightest, it only makes sense to cast a wide net.
The wider the net, the bigger the pool of qualified candidates—and that’s where telecommuting emerges as a benefit.
When hiring within a certain geographic area, recruiters and hiring managers are limited to the candidates within a commutable distance to the business. But when they extend that search to consider nationwide—or even global—candidates, companies have a much greater likelihood of finding the exact combination of skills and experience needed in a new hire.
However, there are important considerations employers need to be aware of that are associated with having employees in multiple states. Once those factors have been addressed, doors can open to a talent pool that is exponentially larger than the one in the company’s immediate surrounding area.
3. Improved employee retention
“Employees who enjoy their physical work environments are more engaged, productive and happy.” —Gartner, Inc., “Crafting Workspaces that Enhance the Employee Experience”
Keeping your best employees happy, engaged, and invested is always important for successful employers and their bottom lines.
And one way to accomplish these goals is to offer flexible work models including remote work. In Gartner’s research report, “Crafting Workspaces that Enhance the Employee Experience,” the organization found that remote work improves employee retention by 10%.
Reducing employee turnover is yet another way companies can save money by employing telecommuters. The estimates of the cost of employee turnover range anywhere from 1.5 to 2 times an employee’s annual salary, therefore, improving employee retention by 10% could add up to substantial savings for any organization.
4. More autonomous employees
Many employees like the idea of working from home because it allows them the independence to do their jobs in a way that works best for them. Depending on the company and the telecommuting structure in place, employees can work a schedule that suits them and in a place that is most conducive to their personal productivity.
Employers also benefit from remote work by gaining more autonomous employees who self-motivate and self-manage. Just like the employee who doesn’t like to be micromanaged, supervisors don’t want to hold their employees’ hands through every step of their projects.
Having remote workers encourages employees and managers alike to create a trusting relationship based on work results, while still allowing for communication and guidance when needed.
Employees who are trusted to do their jobs in a way that works best for them are happier employees—and happier employees are easier to retain.
5. Increased productivity
The greater productivity of remote workers has been documented increasingly over the years, but there still seems to be the lingering stereotype of employees in their pajamas who only want to work from home for a little downtime. However, as telecommuting becomes more accepted as a daily practice and part of our modern work culture, statistics disprove the stereotype.
In a two-year Stanford study, professor Nicholas Bloom designed a test that divided employees at one company into two groups: one group volunteered to work from home and one group acted as the control group and remained working in the office.
While Bloom admitted that he assumed the positive and negatives of working from home would offset each other, he found instead that the employees who worked from home showed a boost in productivity equivalent to almost a full day’s work.
The same study showed employee attrition fall by 50%, a reduction in employee sick days, and rent savings of almost $2,000 per employee by reducing the size of their office space.
Anecdotally, most remote workers could share similar stories about their increased productivity, but having such definitive evidence from a formal study should lend more credibility to what employers have been hearing from their employees.
In their own environment, remote workers can focus without distraction and accomplish more.
When they are allowed to work in a manner that best suits their work style, and without the interruptions that come with a traditional office setting, remote workers from companies like JD Edwards and American Express are showing increases in productivity of 20% to 43% over their office-based co-workers.
Related: Best Ergonomic Home Office Setup
These days, it’s common to hear someone say they need to work at home for a day “just to get things done,” and it’s clear that employee productivity is definitely improved when they telecommute.
In addition to the lack of disruptions, employees could be showing more productivity because they have more time—not having to spend time driving to and from work.
Remote workers are also more in control of their own schedule. If they work better at a certain time of day, they can structure their days to take advantage of peak productivity times. Setting their own schedules can give employees the control they want and, in turn, lead them to want to be more productive for their employers.
6. Improved employee morale
As mentioned earlier, employees who feel valued by their employers and trusted to do their jobs in the way that best suits them are happier employees. Happier employees not only have an impact on the bottom line of the company due to productivity and decreased employee turnover costs but also affect other employees.
Employee morale is something that can turn quickly in either direction, based solely on water cooler chats (even if it’s a virtual water cooler). Employees who are disgruntled because they don’t feel trusted, or don’t feel like they’re being treated as professionals, will share their negative opinion with their co-workers—and anyone else who will listen.
Likewise, employees who are happy will share that excitement, and it will reverberate throughout the rest of the team.
Giving employees the option to work in a style that is best for them can boost morale in a way that few other employer benefits can.
In fact, employees who are not motivated by money might be interested in an offer of full-time remote work instead of a pay raise.
It’s important to know what motivates employees, and if offering them remote work can make them happier, it might be worth the boost in morale alone—not to mention the bottom line.
7. The chance to save our planet
In this age of climate crisis, one of the benefits of working from home that employers can experience is the chance to be more eco-friendly and reduce their carbon footprint.
The reduction in commute time is definitely one of the biggest reasons to consider remote work as an option for employees.
Cutting back or even eliminating daily employee commutes reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Employees who work from home also use less gas since they aren’t driving to and from the office every day.
A remote workforce also reduces the employers’ use of electricity.
Many offices have conference rooms or common areas that have electricity on all day, even if the rooms aren’t actively being used.
Remote workers also use less paper since they are digitally based—and less plastic since there are fewer coffee shop runs and to-go lunches packaged in takeout containers.
Instead of getting a takeaway lunch from a nearby restaurant, remote workers can make themselves something to eat in their own kitchens, utilizing with reusable plates, utensils, and cups.
Employers can realize just as many telecommuting benefits as their employees would in being able to work from home. From reducing overhead costs to increasing productivity to saving the planet, the benefits of remote work can positively impact all of an organization’s workforce as well as the world around them.