More and more businesses are embracing the idea of remote workers than ever before. In 2010, more than 13 million Americans worked remotely, compared to $9.2 million in 1997. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) and other advances in technology make it easy for many companies to allow this option to employees. While it is may not be possible for every small and mid-sized business to allow remote workers, there are many benefits to the business worth considering for doing so for those that can.
Open Forum recently reported about a Chinese company that conducted an experiment to determine just how productive people working from home were compared to those working in office environments. They showed a 13 percent increase in productivity among workers who worked at home rather than in an office environment citing constant meetings, co-worker distractions, and constant interruptions as possible reasons.
Office space is expensive enough in its own right. By allowing workers to telecommute, businesses can not only reduce their office space needs, but also reduce the costs involved in heating, cooling, and furnishing that additional office space.
Excellent Recruiting Tool
Not only is allowing the flexibility of telecommuting a benefit to existing employees, but it’s also an excellent tool for recruiting top tier employees from across the country. According to CNBC.com, 66 percent of Cisco employees stated they’d accept lower paying jobs that offered this kind of flexibility over higher-paying jobs that required them to work in an office every day.
Reduces Absenteeism in the Workplace
People can work from home when they’d be unable to work in an office. It’s that simple. At times, parents must stay home from work to take care of sick children. Other than tending to a child that cannot attend school throughout the day, the parent is often perfectly capable of working. Moreover, people who are too sick to come into the office, can often take care of business from home, without the risk of spreading their germs to other healthy people in the office. People who have appointments during the day are often able to complete the work before or after hours from the comfort of their home offices.
The truth of the matter is that the technology now exists for most small businesses to allow and even encourage employees to work from home. Unfortunately, there’s still this office mentality that people can’t or won’t perform up to expectations if they are not constantly watched. For some employees, this may be the case. Others, however, thrive in atmospheres where they are left alone to do the work they’ve been hired to do.
If you’re concerned, as a small business owner, about the impact this could have on productivity, offer a trial that allows your employees to work from home as long as their weekly, monthly, or quarterly goals are being met. Consider it a perk and present it as a perk to reward a job well done.
Those who wish to keep this perk, will work hard to stay on target — and you get to enjoy the benefits above associated with allowing remote workers in your organization.