8 benefits of working from home for businesses
We are in the midst of a global health crisis, with widespread states of alarm due to the expansion of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Today more employees than ever are working from home, and it is expected that the number of companies sending employees to work from home will continue to increase either by requirement or as a preventative measure.
Although some benefits of working from home are immediately clear to employees, i.e., to avoid spreading it and to do quarantine, and other benefits: avoiding the work commute and working with a flexible schedule. However, advantages for employers (the company) are not always so obvious.
So how can you take advantage of a more flexible approach that gives your employees the freedom to work from home? These are some of the most compelling reasons why adopting remote working could help your business.
1. Reduce daily commute
A reduction in the amount of time spent commuting to the office is certainly a benefit to employees, but it could also give your business a boost.
The health and well-being of your workforce has proven links to productivity and reduced absenteeism. Whether it’s an hour-and-a-half commute or a 40-minute ride through rush-hour traffic, this is time you will never get back. When working form home, an employee comes fresh to their desk.
Working from home also lowers travel costs, which means your employees can spend more of their money on other things. The result is a happier, healthier and more motivated workforce.
2. Improve employee retention
One of the biggest headaches for small and medium-sized businesses is losing key employees in business development. Small businesses can’t always compete with larger organizations when it comes to wages and benefits, so it’s important to make the most of the benefits you have.
While endless meetings and outdated practices can keep workers in larger organizations tightly tied to their desks, the agility and entrepreneurship that is alive in many small businesses can give employees the freedom they crave.
Working from can give parents with child care responsibilities the flexibility they need, while other workers can benefit from a better work-life balance. Both factors play a crucial role in employee retention.
3. Access to Geographically disperse professionals
Providing employees with the ability to work from home also allows you to hire outside of the normal travel distance. This can be particularly beneficial in skill-lacking locations or professions, as small businesses can expand their networks and work with the most talented people, regardless of where they are located.
Also one of the main drivers of the rise in remote work is the “millennial effect.” Younger generations have grown up being able to communicate economically and effectively from anywhere in the world, so it follows that they expect the same in a work environment.
For younger employees, flexibility in the workplace is one of many factors they consider when seeking a new role. Numerous surveys have indicated that this is something they want and hope for. Offering this type of benefit can help companies attract young, highly skilled employees who would not otherwise be interested in a position.
4. Increase employee independence
Giving your employees the ability to work from home allows them to operate in the way that suits them best. People can be very particular about how and when they like to work. In an office environment, all employees must adapt to the same approach. However, at home, they have much more control.
Some workers will be more comfortable in an orderly office and need to create a serene and impeccable environment in order to perform at their best. Other workers, perhaps those with a more creative penchant, might do a better job huddled up on the couch or even late at night.
Of course, you will have to establish certain rules, but within these guidelines your team will have the freedom to create an environment and a schedule that allows them to perform at their best.
5. Reduce rental expenses
This is probably somewhat obvious, but office space is expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. If you rent an office space it is probably one of the highest fixed costs that your business will have.
We are not necessarily advocating eliminating the office entirely, but by allowing your employees to work from home, for example two days a week and operating under a co-working policy (no desk or fixed position) the rest of the time, it can reduce the amount of physical space required. It is true that hot-desking is not a favorite policy among employees, but if you offer the freedom to Telecommute for part of the week, then there is a good chance it will work.
6. Make better use of technology
Working from home would be impossible without the amazing technology we have today. Technology is the key driver of mobility, with fast internet connections, smartphones, cloud computing, instant messaging, project management software, and VoIP that enables employees to communicate and collaborate instantly.
Technology makes working from home a profitable and competitive alternative for companies, as well as being a solution in special moments like the one we are currently experiencing with the world health crisis.
In CWS we have two SaaS solutions to make working from home an efficient and profitable way of working for companies:
- Recordia, which is a cloud solution for recording calls and interactions, integrates with most VoIP and PBX infrastructures, as well as integrating seamlessly with CRMs such as Salesforce and Dynamics.
- eComFax, a solution that let’s you send and receive faxes from email. Many companies still use traditional fax machines or multi-function machines, being a fundamental tool in working from home for those companies that use fax in their business processes.
7. Adjusted Salaries
We are not suggesting that your employees will be happy to receive a pay cut in exchange for more flexible workplace practices, however research has shown that 36% of employees would choose the ability to work from home instead of a pay rise.
This means that, instead of seeking a salary increase for good performance, employees could be rewarded with having the flexibility to work from home. This will not only help keep your salary expenses under control, but significant savings will also appear in physical office space, maintenance and costs associated with the hours the employee is in your business offices.
8 Increase Productivity
Employers must have a certain trust in their employees in order for them to work from home, but those who do can benefit from increased productivity.
According to a Canada Life survey, workers who work from home value their productivity at 7.7 out of 10, compared to 6.5 out of 10 for office workers. That’s because they claim they are not in a noisy environment or distracted by their coworkers. A Stanford University survey also showed that employees who work from home are 13% more productive than their counterparts in the office.
Adopting remote working practices does not mean closing the office so that employees can work remotely 5 days a week. This is not necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition. In the vast majority of cases, the most productive solution for business owners and employees is to divide the time between working from home and office work. If you do, these benefits show that it’s not just the employees who will reap the rewards. Also, if your company is prepared to work from home, in times of crisis like the one we are experiencing now, you guarantee the continuity of your business and that of your clients.