For some businesses, committing to telecommuting is a serious leap of faith. There are lots of factors they may be considering: issues of trust when it comes to “allowing” employees to work from home (are they really getting things done?), questions about remote work ROI or return on investment when offering telecommuting as an option.
To be sure, employers who are weighing whether to move toward a workplace that allows for virtual workers should analyze the pros and cons of telecommuting. There’s a growing trove of data indicating that remote work is more than just a minimally acceptable option for companies. Businesses that do their due diligence may discover how employers can benefit from telecommuting, and realize that there are measurable benefits that make telecommuting an attractive option for their workers, and offer great remote ROI for companies.
Transforming a traditional company to one that includes virtual work options is a major shift, and employers may want to consider waiting a minimum of three months, and as much as a full year, before drawing any conclusions about remote work ROI, and how remote options work for them. For companies who move ahead with telecommuting options, here are some indicators that a remote program is working:
Reduced Overhead Costs
Real estate–the actual brick-and-mortar location that houses a business, along with associated costs for upkeep and infrastructure–can be among a company’s costliest operating expenses. Businesses that shift to telecommuting can see increasing returns on remote work ROI as they expand their cadre of telecommuters. Less square footage equates to lower costs.
Increased Employee Retention
Telecommuting and flexible work options can help help companies recruit the best workers. Once workers are hired, flexible options can be a significant factor in retaining the best employees, and can be a particularly effective tool in keeping seasoned workers whose goals may increasingly focus on achieving a healthy career-life balance. Employers who can offer telecommuting options stand a greater chance of holding on to some of their most valued workers.
Greater Employee Satisfaction
For some employees, job satisfaction beats salary, and other work-related factors, when it comes to finding happiness in their careers. The option to work from home has been shown to make telecommuters are happier because they can count on having have fewer meetings and interruptions; fewer distractions from colleagues (goodbye office gossip!), and greater freedom from energy-draining, time-consuming office politics.
It may come as no surprise that workers can increase productivity by working from home. Why? Even though working at home is not without its distractions, at-home workers are motivated because they have greater latitude to control their own environments and set their own schedules, leaving them more freedom to spend time with family and pursue personal interests. The upshot, several studies show, is that telecommuters are more productive.
Positive Green Impact
There’s a long list of reasons that bolster the case for the positive environmental impact of remote work. To name a few: air quality goes up. The rate of vehicle goes down. Traffic congestion decreases. The carbon footprint associated with traditional work environment shrinks. It’s a win-win for energy-conscious companies that want to be green while attracting top-tier employees.
Flexibility in Emergencies
Snow days, massive tie-ups. Sick children–or sick employees. All fall into the category of events that can throw a company’s smooth-running schedule for a loop. Before implementing telecommuting, businesses often stumble along and make do, patching things together to keep productivity up.
After implementing a telecommuting program, employers can be a step ahead of the game because they’re already set up technologically, and can make adjustments that help overcome unexpected bumps in the scheduling road.