Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur, or just starting your first business, integrating telecommuting into your workforce can have a significant impact on your success.
Below we’ve outlined nine ways in which remote work is so important for entrepreneurs:
1. It can save you money.
As an entrepreneur—especially one who might be working with a smaller budget—you’ll probably be looking for ways to cut unnecessary costs. Office space can be a huge expense…and, thanks to technology, one you don’t have to take on anymore.
Aside from saving on rent or a mortgage, you’ll save on office snacks, supplies, furniture, maintenance, and other office-related expenses. (Then there’s also that money you’ll save by having a more loyal and productive workforce…but we’ll get to those points later!)
According to a Global Workplace Analytics report, allowing employees to work from home even just half the time saves the average company $11,000 a year.
2. It can allow you to find the best talent—not just the best in your area.
Once you decide to implement a remote workforce, you open the talent pool tremendously. You’re no longer limited to finding employees, freelancers, and consultants in just one city, state, or even country. You can find the best of the best without having to worry about their willingness to relocate or covering those relocation costs.
You may also be able to speed up the hiring process when you lift those geographic constraints, which may ultimately allow you to spend less time on hiring efforts and more time on things like growing and improving your business and training employees.
3. It can lead to a happier—and therefore more loyal—team.
People want and need to work from home. Not everyone, of course, but a sizable portion of the workforce desires more flexible arrangements.
Studies show that when staffers are given what they want (and you, the employer, eliminate things like office distractions and a daily commute), those workers are happier, less stressed, more productive, and more loyal—which all lead to higher morale and retention rates (which, in turn, saves you money and helps you achieve success).
Stats about remote work show that 82 percent of telecommuters reported lower stress levels, according to one study. Meanwhile, a study published by Stanford University found that offering remote work options reduced employee turnover, and “job attrition rates fell by over 50 percent.”
4. It can create a more diverse team.
When you have a team of people from all different geographic areas and cultural and socio-economic backgrounds (which is more likely to happen with a distributed team), you’ll have a more diverse workforce, which research shows is good for business.
As an entrepreneur, this can also open your eyes to different perspectives on ideas, which can make your products or services more appealing to more people. This, of course, ultimately leads to a more successful business.
5. It can help your workforce be more productive and engaged.
While it may seem counterintuitive, remote workers are often said to be more engaged with colleagues and supervisors than in-office workers, Harvard Business Review concluded.
Leaders at several companies, including Taksa Technology Solutions and Aha!, have told Remote.co that virtual employees helped them boost productivity levels. “The right people are actually more productive if you give them clear goals and the freedom to do their best work at the best time for them,” leaders at Aha! said.
At Taksa, employees are also “more productive” and enjoy better work-life balance, management leaders said.
Productivity equals greater output. And greater output typically equals greater business success.
6. It may allow you to stand out and potentially gain some positive attention.
As an entrepreneur, you’ll likely want to get your name or business out there. One great way to garner some attention: offer remote work! Though telecommuting is growing in popularity by the day, companies with a fully remote workforce are still the minority and tend to stand out.
On the Remote.co and FlexJobs blogs we often highlight companies that choose to embrace telecommuting—and plenty of other media outlets do the same.
7. It can help you make a positive impact on the world and environment, which is good for everyone.
If you’re a socially and environmentally conscious entrepreneur, a remote workforce may be the way to go.
In fact, studies show that employers who have embraced telecommuting have helped reduce their carbon footprint. In 2013, annual fuel consumption decreased by 680 million gallons, about 0.5 percent of the nation’s gas consumption, one study found.
Another way in which you’ll be making a difference: when you lift geographic constraints in your recruiting efforts, you may end up bringing incredible opportunities to small, rural, and/or impoverished communities.
In a discussion about the global impact of telecommuting, remote, and distributed (TRaD) work at FlexJobs and Remote.co’s recent TRaD Works Forum in Washington, DC, panelists explained that when people in these areas are offered professional opportunities, it ends up impacting the rest of their community in a positive way (they bring in Internet, technology, money, etc.). These people also become role models, or inspiration, to the rest of the community. They are a living, breathing example for those around them of what is possible.
8. It can help you stay lean and scale your business quickly.
With remote work, because you don’t need office space or need to operate in an expensive city, etc., you can scale your business quickly while keeping costs low and staying lean.
Leaders at online education company VIPKID told Remote.co, “For us, [having a remote workforce] makes recruiting teachers much easier. That’s how we were able to scale to 14,000 teachers in just a couple years. No need to deal with relocation, visas, or language barriers in daily life.”
Origin Eight’s leaders shared a similar sentiment. “To the company, the biggest benefit [of having a remote workforce] is really the ability to find the best talent independent of location, and how it increases our ability to scale quickly.”
9. It’s a great “selling point” when attracting talent.
Again, remote work is something so many people need or want—and offering this arrangement can give you a significant competitive advantage, especially if you’re running a small or new company in an industry in which you’re competing with big, established employers for the best talent.
About 60% of the FlexJobs Super Survey respondents said that the option to telecommute is one of the most important things they consider when evaluating a job prospect.
If and when you’re just getting off the ground and you have little else to offer, remote work is one of the most appealing “perks” you can use to sell yourself to job seekers.
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