5 Imperative Reasons for Companies to Explore a WFH Policy

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Existing in a world that’s rapidly becoming more ‘employee’s choice’ on the whole, there are new standards that are imperative for employers to embrace. Attracting top talent—and retaining their loyalty through the entirety of their employment— has become of paramount importance. Especially, architecting perks that exceed the desire for the variety of flexible options currently available in today’s workforce.

As our reliance on interconnected technology in the workplace continues to grow, so does the necessity to procure added value to the hiring process through those advances. By today’s standards, that means curating more forward-thinking options inter-organizationally for employees to take advantage of—even if it’s just small steps at a time.

For a vast number of businesses, a most efficient, and cost-effective, way to assimilate to the new normal is by offering work from home options to their employees. Currently, 3.9 million Americans currently work from home comprising nearly 3% of the country’s workforce according to Small Biz Trends. They explain,

“It is not only large companies hiring remote workers. Small businesses are also reaping the benefits of hiring highly qualified professionals for one-off jobs without having to hire a full-time employee. The entire labor force ecosystem is being influenced by remote/freelance workers. The acquisition of WorkMarket by ADP to have a cloud-based workforce management solution to address the different types of workers businesses hire highlights the growing trend.”

And what’s more, according to the NYT,

“Gallup consistently has found that flexible scheduling and work-from-home opportunities play a major role in an employee’s decision to take or leave a job,” the polling agency wrote in a report on those and other workplace findings. Employees are pushing companies to break down the long-established structures and policies that traditionally have influenced their workdays.”

While there are still several hurdles that make these new policies feel more precarious than traditional arrangements, the benefits, most times, outweigh the potential pitfalls when looking at it from the perspective of the future of work— the trend is only growing and the idea has been time-tested for longer than you may have imagined.

In 2012, Forbes columnist Kevin Kruse asserted,

“The perceived benefits of working from home have enabled me to hire top talent with no local geographic limits. It’s enabled me to steal away top talent from competitors, without having to increase their pay. It’s contributed to a highly engaged workforce with a company culture that won Best Place to Work awards. The benefits to me have far outweighed the hassles.”

With the aforementioned benefit of our ever-changing technologies, there are very few reasons that remote flexibility shouldn’t be the wave of the future, if it hasn’t become so already for savvy institutions. As Business News Daily explains on the future of work,

“According to the Zinc survey, IDC expects mobile workers will account for nearly three-quarters of the U.S. workforce by 2020. “The remote workforce is growing at an astonishing rate … and it’ll be up to employers to keep up with the changing needs of their employees,” said Epstein. “One of the easiest adjustments management can make is to implement a companywide set of communication standards that simplify the process for their workers so they’re not switching between email, SMS and a slew of apps not secure enough for the enterprise.”

To that end, there are myriad ways that work from home opportunities positively evolve what’s becoming antiquated—the-office-everyday paradigm. When the organization understands how a high-level employee experience fits into their corporate culture, they assuredly procure better talent. With the added advantage of boasting an amalgamation of varied interests and strong suits individually, ultimately securing a more diverse collaborative of minds—making growth inevitable.

Onboarding ‘the best’ is one of the most attractive perks for employers to seek out remote candidates to hire. According to Flex Jobs,

“It’s often assumed that remote and flexible work options can help reduce turnover and improve retention, but this year, a survey of almost 8,000 millennials demonstrates clearly that flexible work options greatly help retain this generation of workers.”

In companies described as having the “least flexible work environments,” 45% of millennial employees said they intend to leave within two years. In the “most flexible” organizations, millennials are more likely to stay longer—only 35% say they intend to leave within two years.”

And although there may be a few bumps in the road, Entrepreneur notes it comes down to one simple strategy,

”Basically, the most prevalent problems with distributed companies can be narrowed down to three Cs: Communication, Coordination, and Culture. Two of these three, communication and coordination, appear the most challenging in effecting smooth collaboration.”

1. There are Major Environmental and Health Benefits of Remote Work

The long-term, positive impacts of remote employment are increasingly attractive to organizations as a focus on work/life balance, environmental awareness and better health become more important to employees.

Take Xerox for example,

Xerox’s Virtual Workforce Program allows employees to work from home, touting the benefits of no commute and more work-life balance. Xerox added over 1,000 remote jobs last year for a total of 8,000 employees working remotely – 11% of its US workers. In the end, remote work saved Xerox employees 92 million miles of driving, 4.6 million gallons of gas, and over 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.”

And when it comes to employee health “remote work can significantly enhance personal health with the right routines and balance. Remote workers have more time and freedom to exercise regularly, eat healthy meals at home and take “recharge” breaks from work when needed. All of these benefits are vital to physical and mental health and help employees be happier and more productive.”

2. Working From Home Boosts Office Productivity

Saying goodbye to your in-person office environment doesn’t mean that your team will be working less, in fact, the opposite is actually true. When employees experience fewer distractions at home, they perform at a much higher level.

Fast Company notes,

“It’s much harder to fake productivity when you work remotely, as long as managers are focusing on goals and outcomes for their employees and teams. At 10up, a 100% remote company in Portland, Oregon, managers adhere to many agile project management principals with granular tasks—weekly milestones at most, sometimes daily. “We know pretty quickly when staff is off the reservation,” says Jake Goldman, president and founder.”

Even more telling, a study from ConnectSolutions discovered,

“Of the 39% who work remotely at least a few times per month, 77% report greater productivity while working off-site with 30% accomplishing more in less time and 24% accomplishing more in the same amount of time. 23% are even willing to work longer hours than they normally would on site to accomplish more while 52% are less likely to take time off when working remotely—even when sick.”

3. There’s a Variety Of Alternatives to a Completely Out Of Office Policy

It’s important to keep in mind all of the many options that fall under the ‘new way to work’—like coworking, or part-time remote policies.

“While keeping remote teams cohesive is not simple, many businesses are rising to the challenge. Companies are deploying remote work methods like streamlined team communication, retreats, and video chat. Others are encouraging the use of and even creating their own coworking spaces, which allows for the commingling of talented professionals to meet, network and ultimately benefit from increased collaboration.”

Flexible hours have also become a hot trend of forward-thinking businesses—focusing on completion of tasks over total time spend in the office:

“Although some remote companies function as a R.O.W.E. (Results Only Work Environment), some still have a stronghold on the old-fashioned 9-to-5 workday. But if you’re looking to hire top talent, try to lose the traditional workplace mentality and instead give your talent more flexibility in their schedules. A great way to attract new talent to your company is by listing your remote company’s flexible work policy in its job descriptions. That will help you expand your talent pool and hire the best and brightest out there.”

4. It’s Easy to Start Small by Hiring a Few Remote Workers

 Test the efficacy of the idea by beginning with a small percentage of your overall employment population—it will help assuage initial fears and ensure that the best practices get put into place.

Inc.’s valuable advice?

“As you interview potential candidates, it’s important to understand their behavioral approach. It’s particularly important to understand why they work remote, how they work remote, and their future plans.  Your specific needs will shape the type of questions you ask, but try to get an insight into their remote working habits. An experienced remote worker knows how to get work done effectively and on time. Someone who is merely starstruck by the prospect of working from home will not exhibit the same level of behavioral commitment.”

5. It’s Extremely Cost Effective

Snacks, supplies, general office expenses, they all add up fast.  Organizations with a larger population of remote workers boast a significant cut to their overall costs.

Remote.co explains,

“Companies of all sizes report significant decreases in operating costs, remote work stats show. Two examples from big companies, according to a Forbes magazine report: Aetna (where some 14,500 of 35,000 employees don’t have an “in-office” desk) shed 2.7 million square feet of office space, saving $78 million. American Express reported annual savings of $10 million to $15 million thanks to its remote work options.”

Although trends continuously change, there is a revolution upon us when it comes to the way we will work in the future. To thrive, organizations must adapt to those permutations in ways that feel most advantageous to their potential hire, first and foremost. Entrepreneur concurs, mentioning in 4 Smart Reasons Companies are Going Remote,

“As technology continues to improve and the “remote work revolution” continues to evolve, the top performing companies will continue to find that balancing remote work strategies with a well executed business culture will keep them ahead of the competition.”

When employees feel that their company wants the best for their overall lives, not just when they’re sitting in the office, they will intrinsically want to do their best work; bringing more long-term value to a team and the company as a whole. Organizations have the opportunity to make themselves unique right now—and the smartest ones are doing so by taking advantage of the prospects open to them.

To secure more salient staff relations, hiring teams must develop procedures that focus on the flexibility of work from a foundational level— leading the way to build greater institutional and employee success in the process. With an ever-growing, and vast, array of services and software now available to make remote teams more manageable and proficient far into the future, there is no better time to get started than the present.