More employees than ever before are now working remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as more offices begin to reopen, many companies are unsure about extending remote work opportunities. While it’s easy to understand why more employees want to work remotely from now on, many businesses still aren’t convinced.
Here at Memory, we know a distributed model works and scales. We've been working remotely since our inception back in 2014, and 50% of our global workforce are now full-time remote. For businesses still on the fence about whether to continue remote work post-pandemic, we'd urge you to keep in mind the six biggest advantages of hiring remote workers.
1. Remote employees are more productive
It might sound counterintuitive, but research shows that remote workers are significantly more productive than employees working in offices. Countless studies support this; Global Workplace Analytics found that teleworkers were 20-25% more productive than office-based employees, and a study by TINYpulse showed that remote workers felt an astonishing 91% more productive when they worked remotely.
The reasons for this are threefold:
Employees are less distracted. They don’t get sidetracked by office noise, synchronous communication or colleagues dropping by their desk. This makes it easier to practise unbroken, focused deep work more often.
Employees can work to their strengths. We’re all different – not everyone is at their most productive between 9am to 5pm. Remote working lets employees take intelligent control of their own schedule, creating routines which support productive working and compliment their lifestyle.
Employees feel valued and in control. Working remotely can be very empowering, feeding our drive for autonomy and communicating employer trust. It can offer huge amounts of freedom and flexibility, and lets employees design their ideal work environment.
When you need to hire employees from a set location, you limit your talent pool. In contrast, remote work lets you access the very best talent across the globe – especially when the flexibility remote working brings is becoming expected by employees.
Consider how the “millennial effect” is shaping the rise in remote working. Younger people are used to communicating quickly and easily across the globe, and they want – and expect – the same opportunities in their careers. Flexibility in the workplace is one of the most important factors for millennials, and in order to attract young, highly skilled talent, working remotely is a major bonus.
Hiring remote workers can result in huge business savings:
It reduces office costs. Studies suggest that companies with remote workers save $10,000 per employee each year in real estate costs. You scale back the office costs of furniture, bills, cleaners and office supplies, and tend to see fewer sick, which can cost $1,800 per employee annually.
It reduces wasted time. Research suggests that on average, employees could be wasting over eight hours per week on non-work related acitivites; that’s 20% of the time they’re on the clock wasted! With remote workers, billable hours are only the hours spent working on projects.
Just be careful you don't approach remote work as a completely free work model. There are still operational costs to consider, and you might want to introduce remote work stipends to ensure you don't unwittingly transfer these to your employees. It's also important to remember that small perks can make a big difference; things like remote allowances are a great way to support and communicate that you value your employees.
4. It reduces costs for employees
Hiring remote workers doesn’t just benefit employers financially – it also reduces costs for workers. The financial (and emotional!) drag of commuting is completely removed, which surveys suggest saves remote workers about $5,000 per year. And that’s without factoring in the cost of regularly buying lunch out!
However, it's important to recognize the hidden costs of remote working. Electricity, gas, phone bills and equipment tied to work should all be reimbursed – either as expenses or via their salary.
5. It increases employee retention
The cost of replacing an employee can be colossal. Recruiting and training new employees involves a ton of time and resources, so you want to be sure that new employees will actually stick around. Remote work goes a huge way to improve this – research reveals that 95% of companies report that remote working has a big positive effect on employee retention – not surprising when you consider that two-thirds of workers say they’d take a new job if it had a better commute!
The mass COVID-19 remote work experiment also introduced more people to work model. As a result, more employees now want to secure long-term remote opportunities. Ultimately this means every employer able to offer remote work now has to consider introducing a robust remote work policy, if they want to attract and retain the best talent.
6. It’s greener
We live in an age of heightened environmental awareness, and businesses are increasingly called upon to introduce greener strategies into their operations. With that in mind, it’s important to consider the environmental benefits of working remotely. Research suggests that if employees with remote-compatible jobs worked from home even half the time, annually our environment would be spared:
$20 million in gas;
54 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (comparable to taking 10 million cars off the road);
640 million barrels of oil (at a saving of $64 billion);