By a show of hands, who here hates their morning commute to work? (I can’t see your hands, obviously, but I’m imagining a sea of palms raised high in silent agreement).
Whether it’s the other frantic drivers that constantly whip in and out of lanes almost causing wrecks, or the people who actually do get in wrecks that cause major delays in the traffic flow, commuting to work can be a royal pain in the you-know-what.
It’s not just the commute, either. When you work far from home, chores don’t get finished, dinners don’t get made, more money is put into gas for your car, and eventually you get fed up with being cooped up inside your bland office for 8+ hours a day.
Thankfully, technology has made a way to make working from home a possibility. Known as telecommuting, it’s quickly becoming the preferred way for employers to easily work with their busy employees. If your company is thinking of letting some employees work from home, or switching your entire company over to a telecommute business, these six advantages might just tip the scales in favor of this strategy!
1. Increases Employee Productivity – You’re probably thinking, “How does working from home increase productivity? If anything, it’ll be decreasing it!” This is a common roadblock that most employers can’t cross, because they believe by working from home, employees will be more distracted by things like TV, kids, and pets. A study by Stanford University showed that call center employees who worked from home had a 13 percent increase in productivity than their office-occupying co-workers. Another study from the University of Texas showed that telecommuters are willing to work 5 to 7 hours longer per week than office workers.
2. Reduces Turnover – Employees’ moods during the work day are positively or negatively affected by one defining factor: how their mornings go. If they have a stressful commute to work, their mood will be negatively affected, which will in turn affect their happiness, which could then lead them to looking for a new job. Working from home reduces commuter stress. In fact, in a research study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found, “Employees who telecommute the majority of the work week are more satisfied with their jobs compared to those working mostly in the office because working remotely alleviates more stress than it creates.”
3. It’s Cost-Effective – “Show me the money!:” the universal motto for business owners (and Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire). If you think about, of course telecommuting will save your business money. You don’t have to spend money on bigger work spaces, more heat and air to keep employees comfortable, and bigger and better computers for employees. According to data from Global Workplace Analytics, telecommuting actually saves an average of $11,000 per year for every employee who works remotely.
4. Less Sick Days – This one’s a no-brainer: less employees at work means there’s less of a chance that someone will bring a stomach virus to work and infect your entire crew. That means your employees will be taking fewer sick days. This isn’t true in all cases, especially if your employee has kids that can get them sick, but it’s generally true for most people.
5. Reduces Employee Stress – When employees are allowed to work from home, they avoid these stress-causers and time-consumers: rush hour traffic, going to the grocery store after work, taking care of dinner when they get home, cleaning their homes, picking up their children, getting a babysitter for younger children, feeding the pets, going to doctor’s appointments, making it to the post office and banks before they close (you see where this is going?) It also keeps them out of workplace stress-activators, such as constant meetings, office politics, and other employees distracting them from their workflow.
6. Great Tools To Make It Work – If you’re a manager, or owner of a business, and you’re wondering how to stay in touch with an employee who telecommutes, consider these great tools!
- Google Hangouts, Skype, Facetime – These video chatting tools make it easy for you to hold meetings with employees who work remotely. They’re all free, and only require a computer with a webcam, a microphone, and a login in order to use them!
- Google Documents, Spreadsheets – Google has really changed the game for people who work remotely, and with Google Docs and Spreadsheets, collaborating with other employees in a team is easier than ever. Sharing documents, adding comments, and editing files are super simple tasks thanks to live-editing (you can actually watch someone on another computer editing your document while you have it open on your computer).
- Slack – Email is great, but Slack is better. This nifty tool lets employees communicate using a form of instant messaging, but it also lets them create specific groups (called channels) to discuss different projects or subjects. You can also share files easily inside of Slack, and search for keywords if you need to find a specific project from long ago.
Telecommuting shouldn’t be something to fear. Embrace it, and not only will it make your employees happier, it’ll make you happier as well!
Check out the video below for more advantages of working from home!