Technology and the internet have created a global village. Geographical boundaries are blurred and worldwide communication is seamless. Whether you're at home, a restaurant, or a coffee shop, you're able to make business calls and communicate with people across the globe. Working from home has become an increasingly popular business trend in recent years.
People are increasingly abandoning the traditional office-based job, by either forging their own entrepreneurial paths or negotiating work contracts where working from home is permitted. This trend has no sign of slowing, with Odesk – a marketplace for hiring remote workers – predicting that by 2020, 1 in 3 people in America will be working remotely. Another survey by Virgin Media Business estimates that by 2022, 60% of office based employees will regularly be working from home.
Despite this trend, some businesses don't want to embrace remote working. It's a controversial issue, with lack of trust, poor communication and the fear of diluting an existing company culture all possible reasons.
However, the fact remains - working from home is here to stay. If you're feeling skeptical about it, consider these six reasons as to why you should embrace it. They're, of course, all backed up by some seriously powerful scientific research .
Allowing a culture where employees can achieve business goals while working from home broadens your talent pool . You're no longer limited to a single location, and you're able to hire the best people from all over the world. Several freelance networks like Toptal have exploited the remote working trend, connecting companies with software developers.
For smaller businesses on a budget, outsourcing from countries with a lower cost of living has become a viable alternative. For employees, job searches are broadened, providing them with greater choice.
According to the State Of Workplace Productivity Report , 65% of employees think a flexible, working from home schedule will increase their productivity. Despite this, only 19% of employers allow remote working.
There's a clear divide between what employees want and what employers are willing to sacrifice. Research conducted by Stanford University suggests that employers should rethink this as those working from home were found to be 13% more productive than their office-based counterparts.
This statistic is supported by a Survey conducted by Connect Solutions wherein 77% reported greater productivity through remote working. In an experiment, Chinese call center employees were allowed to work from home; the results showed an increase in outgoing calls by 13% compared "office employees".
With all the research pointing towards the increase in productivity as a result of working from home, I don't need to tell you what this potentially means for your business.
Not only are your employees more productive, but statistics show that working from home reduces stress and boosts morale . According to one study, 82% of telecommuters reported lower stress levels and 80% reported higher morale; a positive for employees and employers.
Employees are also less likely to leave the company as they are happier with the working from home arrangement. In fact, the Stanford University study, mentioned earlier, found that employee turnover fell by a whopping 50% when remote work options were provided.
Working from home also means less office space is needed. This translates into lower cost cost per square meter and decreased operating expenditures. Companies of various sizes are realizing these cost benefits.
For example, consider, the insurance company, Aetna. An article in Forbes, highlighted how they embrace flexible working spaces and of the 35,000 employees, 14,500 don't have a desk. They've been able to cut down on 2.7 million square feet of office space. At $29 per square foot, this is a cost saving of $78 million per year, once you factor in additionals like utilities and office supplies.
Furthermore, 2,000 of the company's employees work from home a few days a week; which translates into a whopping a remote workforce of 47%.
Remote working is also indicative of a company that has a flexible company policy. Flexible company policies are a sign of a company willing to innovate, adapt, and change with the evolving business landscape. This allows you to attract top talent and tap into the millennial labour market (a key feature of which is flexibility).
According to Forbes, as of 2015, millennials comprised the largest portion of the labor market. Furthermore, a recent survey conducted by AfterCollege highlighted that 68% of job seekers who are millennials would show increased interest in companies offering remote working.
Remote working is here to stay. Whilst there are drawbacks, ultimately the benefits of adopting remote working far outweigh the costs. As a business you have two options - embrace it, or risk being left behind.