The Truth About Remote Work: Is It Right for My Company?
In any industry, it seems like buzzwords come and go, changing like the winds. No matter what line of work you’re in, the trends of the day seem to fade as soon as they hit. One exception that seems to transcend the bounds of all industry, and stand the test of time – is the trend of remote work.
Remote work – don’t ask if, ask how.
Since the late 90’s, remote work has enjoyed a steady ascent into the psyche of the common employee and employer in nearly every corner of the world. With 36% of American workers and 25% of European one saying they work from home at least once a week, the phenomenon has caught on with wild popularity. A habit so universally popular is clearly on the radar of hiring managers, leaving many to wonder if the arrangement might work for them.
Many leaders feel a knee-jerk reaction to the prospect of being away from their subordinates, and many of them with good reason. But without the opportunity to test the waters, managers will never know how beneficial a remote work arrangement could be. Consider the following as you weigh the benefits of a remote work option for your employees:
- Your talent pool just went global. Need a developer with hospitality experience? Need an HR manager who’s worked in small clinics? Need a recruiter who knows all the best hair stylists in London? Accepting remote workers means your talent pool isn’t tied to the geographic location of your office. The best employee is the best employee, no matter where you find them. This mindset can help you find exactly the right employee, the first time, reducing the chances you’ll have to rehire their position due to a bad fit, or lose them to a require relocation. Of course, finding someone with exactly the expertise you’re seeking will only help them perform better in their job in the first place. A true win/win.
- Healthier, happier employees. Morning people exist – night owls exist, parents are busy, everyone gets sick – they’re all facts of life, and the kind of facts that make adhering to a rigid schedule nearly impossible for so many. Employees with the freedom to live their life as needed, and work during the schedule they’ve set results in happier employees who face less stress. Reduced stress, reduced exposure to illnesses, and access to better food options right at home are all contributing factors that lead to healthier remote employees. More than 80% of US employees say they’d like to work remotely at least part time. It’s clear to see, a remote employee is a happy one.
- It’s already happening. Half of the workforce already has a job that’s compatible with remote work. The vast majority of those employees already bring their work home with them. Whether it’s answering emails after hours, working before getting to work, or taking a call during their commute, most people are already primed for remote work, thanks to our never-off style of working.
- Better communication is a given. The age-old challenge of communication is a major concern for leaders considering remote workers. However, the truth is, this is a challenge in absolutely any work environment. From offhand conversations, to major action items missed when mentioned in passing, the fundamental human communication shortcomings are absolutely universal. The good news? Remote work demands impeccable communication on from all parties. Typically, these exchanges are sent via programs that retain information far better than we can. Services like Slack and Google Docs can track progress, conversation, attribute comments, and deliver feedback with far superior efficiency. When employees aren’t physically together, they will inherently rely more on both incoming and outgoing communication, increasing the efficiency and productivity of projects overall.
- You can start small. You don’t have to dive into a full-fledged remote workforce on day one. Specific employees may be better suited to remote work than others, and some circumstances may demand it as well. Start by opening up the conversation with interested employees, and understanding their motivations and ideas. Even offering one remote day per week can make a big difference in employee happiness and retention. Additionally, you might consider simply opening up the next role you hire for to remote candidates. Even if you don’t select one of them, it’ll help you get the full picture of how many more options you’ll have.
- It’s what people want. Plain and simple: millennials make up more than half the workforce. And 68% of them say the option to work remotely would significantly increase their interest in an employer.
At the end of the day, the benefits of offering remote options almost always outweigh the downsides. Every company, and every role, is different. But for millions of employees, remote work can offer improved quality of life, increased productivity, and better job satisfaction. It’s a concept companies can’t afford to ignore. Employees are embracing remote culture – shouldn’t their companies be too? Learn more on how to introduce the remote work to your organization.