Telecommuting has many benefits for workers, but what about telecommuting benefits for employers?
Telecommuting benefits for employers include reduced hiring costs, lower office costs, higher productivity, and better employee health. In fact, telecommuting could mean the difference between success and failure for your company.
Read on to find out more!
Reduced Hiring Costs
In a competitive business environment, any advantage can mean the difference between huge profits and a loss. If you offer telecommuting to employees, you will attract and retain the best workers at a lower cost. This will give your company an advantage over others with backward-looking remote work policies. It’s not 1958 anymore – we do not all need to commute into and out of the city every day!
If you disagree, see the picture below.
If you still disagree, go ahead and take a look at the picture above – again.
Attract the Best Employees
The best employees have their pick of jobs. They will end up working for the company that offers the best compensation. In my view, compensation includes flexible work, in addition to pay and benefits. Imagine two companies that make a similar job offer. If only one offers telecommuting, then that company will be more likely to make the hire!
Some workers will even accept a lower salary if allowed to telecommute. First of all, they pay a lower marginal tax rate on a lower salary. In addition, they save time and money on the daily commute. As a result, telecommuters often end up ahead of commuters. For more information, check out my article about how much money you can save by working from home.
Tap into Underused Labor Pools
When a job is fully remote, you can hire anyone on planet Earth.
The worker only needs a computer with an internet connection. This makes your labor pool larger and more qualified than your competitors’ labor pools. Thus, hiring becomes easier and less expensive. It also makes workers seek you out, instead of you having to hunt for them!
The pool of employees you can choose from includes elderly and disabled people who cannot commute. It also includes stay at home parents, people in rural areas, and expats living abroad. In addition, you can hire from a pool of military spouses who had to relocate for a spouse’s military service.
Many of these people are skilled, but cannot find work close to home, or cannot physically commute to work. If you hire from this overlooked talent pool, you may gain an advantage over competitors! Of course, some of these folks may only be able to work part time, but it is still worth considering.
Makes Employees More Likely to Stay
Telecommuters will think long and hard before switching to a company that requires commuting. They will also feel more loyalty to the company, since you trust them and give them autonomy in their work.
I used to work in an office full of cubicles. It felt like constant surveillance! This did not make me more productive. Instead, it made me uncomfortable and less productive.
Employees who feel uncomfortable or micromanaged will leave much more readily than employees who have “professional latitude”. This means that they have freedom in how and when they do their work. As long as an employee does the work, the path should not matter!
When an employee works remotely, there are several benefits. First, he has more autonomy in choosing his work environment. He also feels a greater sense of responsibility, since no one is watching him all day. In this case, he is his own boss, at least for a while.
This will keep the employee’s morale high, and this will spread to other employees when he interacts with them. Telecommuting can become an important part of your company culture.
Lower Office Costs
If you allow your employees to telecommute, then you will reduce the office space and equipment you need. Many companies do this, and in an increasingly competitive environment, this idea’s time may have come.
Lease a Smaller Building, or None at All
If you allow half of your employees to telecommute, you only need to pay for half as much office space. If you decide to go all-in on telecommuting, you will not need to pay for any space! The same logic applies to utility costs – you can reduce or eliminate them by embracing telecommuting.
If you run a startup, or are a solo entrepreneur who hires remote workers, then listen up! You can use a coworking space for a much lower price than traditional office space. You can invite everyone to work with you at the space, in person, if they wish. For anyone else, you can coordinate their work efforts remotely.
There is one more benefit of going completely remote for all employees. In that situation, you can run your business from anywhere at all! You can set up a home office for yourself, just like your employees. You can also rent office space in the city and state that you like best. Plus, you can minimize your costs while you are at it.
Lower Equipment Costs
A company that offers telecommuting will need far less equipment than an in-person counterpart. First, when you allow telecommuting, you reduce the need for furniture, such as chairs, desks, and tables. You also reduce the need for hardware, such as phones, computers and printers.
Finally, you will reduce your infrastructure costs. This includes everything from servers (seriously, you have not moved to the cloud yet?) to janitors (sorry janitors!).
Bonus – Grants & Incentives
Some cities and states will offer incentives for hiring remote employees. For one thing, telecommuting will reduce traffic on the roads, which reduces wear and tear on pavement. Telecommuting also reduces pollution from vehicles, which is important for air quality in large cities. In addition, less demand for office space reduces prices, which allows startups to enter the market.
Take the time to look into any grants or incentive programs at the city, state, or federal level. This may make the deal even sweeter when you hire telecommuters, or convert an existing job to a remote role!
The productivity of your company depends on the productivity of your workers. Give employees a better start to their day, and they will perform better. This benefits them, and it benefits you. A true win-win, if ever I saw one.
No Exhausting Commute before Work
Many employees commute an hour each day. This means 30 minutes each morning. Many people say “I do not mind”, “I like the quiet time”, or “I can listen to audio books”. However, I can tell you from experience: the commute takes something out of you, no matter how much you adapt.
Imagine if all of your employees could start the day at the same time as they do now. The only difference: they have an extra 30 minutes to sleep, meditate, or have a relaxing breakfast. They could also send the kids off to school prepared, so that they have a strong start as well. Everyone starts the day in a good place, and everything builds up from there.
On the other hand, commuting with rude and aggressive drivers can start anyone’s day on the wrong foot. From there, it can snowball into a day of low productivity.
Employees Have Fewer Distractions & Interruptions
At the office, employees have a lot of noise to deal with. People talk, walk around, and type on computers. Printers print, and HVAC systems run. All told, the visual and auditory distractions add up quickly. In addition, some coworkers think that an employee can stop to answer a question at any time.
With telecommuting, none of these distractions exist. Employees can use chat software, such as Skype or Slack, to keep in touch. They can also set “quiet working hours” that everyone will see and respect. As long as employees “keep holy the home office”, they should face fewer distractions from family and friends when telecommuting.
Workers Stay Connected
Sometimes, your employees need time off for medical reasons. For example, one employee might need time off due to a contagious illness. Another might need to miss work due to injury, especially if he cannot drive. Telecommuting can solve many of these staffing issues. An employee with a foot injury should not drive, but he can telecommute and contribute to the company from home.
A worker who has an illness can telecommute and avoid spreading disease to coworkers. In this case, telecommuting serves triple duty. It keeps sick or injured workers connected, and allows them to contribute while away. It also reduces down time and lets them ramp up quickly when they return. Finally, employees will not face disruptions, since they will not need to wait for a coworker to return.
Better Employee Health
Better employee health relates to productivity. This is true in more ways that you might imagine. Healthy employees do better work, and they miss work less often. They also have better morale. High morale will rub off on coworkers, and it makes new hires feel welcome.
In addition, enthusiasm and optimism will make customers like working with you. Finally, a healthy workforce means lower insurance premiums. This goes for health, life, disability, and workers compensation insurance. Below are some of the reasons that telecommuting leads to better health for employees.
Employees Can Live in Lower Cost Areas
As long as a worker has a computer, internet, and a minimal home office, he can telecommute. Instead of living in a city with high rent, he can live in more remote areas. This means lower rent or mortgage payments. This leads to less financial stress.
As a result, the worker will feel better and have more motivation at work. If you opt for 100% telecommuting, none of your employees have to worry about outrageous rent or tax increases. Better yet, neither do you!
Employees Can Sit, Stand, and Exercise at Home
An employee may feel awkward standing at work when no one else does so. He may also feel awkward exercising while at work. However, no judgment will happen at home! I take a break every 15 minutes for 60 seconds of exercise. This can mean jumping jacks, pushups, or stretches.
Brief exercise makes a huge difference, compared to sitting for hours. Also, my standing desk reduces lower back pain, which now rarely occurs. Before, when I sat all day in a cubicle, I had daily pain. Less pain means more productivity, and it also means less chronic health issues later in life!
Home-Cooked Food is Healthier Food
When your employees work at home, they can prepare their own meals. This means that they can control the amount of salt, sugar, and fat in their food. They also don’t need to make unhealthy choices based on a hectic work schedule. As mentioned before, if this reduces stress and illness, then you will see less absence and higher productivity from your workforce.
Nothing to Sneeze at
If everyone works remotely, then there is less chance of anyone catching a cold in the office. I’m sure we know the times of year when people are sick at work, or at home in bed. This widespread illness reduces productivity, or causes the company to grind to a halt. If you avoid having the entire office sick all at once, then your bottom line will be healthy as well!
Ditch the Commute – and the Stress
Time spent in traffic feels like wasted time. In addition, rude and obnoxious drivers cause a lot of stress. Taking 30 minutes to meditate, eat well, or sleep better can make a huge difference for workers.
In addition, car problems and inclement weather are less likely to cause employee absence or lateness. For instance, the employee can work from home all week and take the car to the mechanic on the weekend. He can also work through a snowstorm, instead of taking a vacation day to stay home. This arrangement makes everyone happy. You have a productive remote workforce, and the employee keeps a vacation day!
Try Out Telecommuting
Remember that your decision about telecommuting does not need to be binary (all or nothing). Instead, you can transition into it, or test it out to see if it works for your company and workforce.
Before You Begin
Before you begin with remote work, decide a few things in advance. First, decide how the trial run will work. You should also decide on the “terms and conditions” of remote work. This means making it clear to everyone what the limitations will be, in terms of schedule and work hours. You can be as flexible as your company allows, but make sure that you do not sacrifice quality standards for employee morale. In addition, decide what success will mean for each remote employee and team.
If you are uncertain, try a trial run of one remote day a week. You will also need to decide if every employee will work remotely, or just one person or group. It is probably best to test this out with your most responsible people. If they can’t handle it, then nobody can. If this small trial run works out, it is time to move on to Phase 2.
At this point, you will allow all employees to work remotely one or two days per week. If this is successful, ramp it up to three or four days per week. You can also go remote full-time for a week. I think the latter option is better, since you will not have the “crutch” of having everyone in-office. You will be forced to find a remote solution to any problems that come up.
If the fully remote week is successful, then you can try out longer periods of fully remote work. You might not notice potential problems until certain times of the year. Quarter-end or year-end at financial companies comes to mind. Try to anticipate any problems, and address them in advance. Include employees in this process so that they have a stake as well.
Terms and Conditions
This could be as simple as dictating the hours when everyone needs to be available. For instance, you can require that people answer phones during certain hours. You can also ask that employees check email once in the morning, and once in the afternoon.
You can also ask that everyone provide you with a brief summary of the day’s work. They can also use these daily summaries to create a weekly summary on Friday. These summaries don’t need to be fancy. They are simply a way to keep everyone accountable. The summaries will help you see what employees are working on, and how much time it is taking.
Make sure that you know how you will measure success, and communicate this to your employees. If they have a quota of customer calls to answer or cold calls to make, they should hit these goals from home. You might find that your employees are even more productive from home than in the office. In this case, the answer to “Should we telecommute full-time” is pretty clear, barring any major problems elsewhere.
Telecommuting benefits for employers add up quickly. Increased productivity and lower costs all point to a better bottom line for the company. People will enjoy working at your company, once they ditch the long commute.
Offering a telecommuting policy also gives you a better chance of attracting the best workers. Telecommuting might end up saving your business more money than any consultant, software, or business hack ever could!
If I have convinced you to hire telecommuters, then it might be time to think about the right equipment for those workers. You can read more about the best tools for telecommuting here. To make sure the technology works smoothly, you might also want to check out my post on technical support for remote workers.
I hope that this article about the benefits of telecommuting for employers has helped you. If you have any questions or comments based on your own experience, please leave them below.