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The work from home (WFH) phenomenon has exploded over the past few years, and it’s culminated during the current pandemic. Many are even saying that the novel coronavirus has thrown us into the largest WFH experiment on earth. But it’s time to face the truth that remote work is no
longer an experiment. Nor is it a trend, a fad, or “the future of work.”
Working from home is the here and now of work. It’s our new reality, and it’s inevitably here to stay.
Whether your company has never offered a WFH option, or you’ve recently shifted to a WFH model due to COVID-19, you have a decision to make: What will employment at my company look like after the pandemic ends?
The decision isn’t complex. If you want your company to thrive throughout the 2020s, you’ll have to embrace a remote workforce. Here are five reasons why.
One of the most straightforward reasons why competitive companies will keep their WFH model is that employees want to continue working from home. Why should you care what your employees want? Because your people are your most valuable asset, and making them happy keeps your company competitive.
Consider the following employee loyalty stats from a recent study:
Further, as the above research suggests, another WFH benefit besides gaining employee loyalty is the ability to attract better job candidates when it’s time to hire.
Some business leaders hold a misconception that working from home means slacking off and watching Netflix more than actually working. But smart organizations understand that in reality, remote employees are often more productive than office workers.
Case in point is a study reporting that 85% of businesses saw a productivity boost due to providing their employees with flexible work arrangements like WFH.
In another study, 65% of the employees surveyed stated they’d be more productive working from home than at the office. The study cited several reasons for this productivity boost, including:
According to some estimates, a company can save $11,000 on average for every employee who works from home on a part-time basis. Obviously, the savings are even greater for employees who work from home 100% of the time.
Think of the expenses that are reduced or eliminated with fewer employees in the office. Fewer workers in the office can mean a smaller headquarters and reduced utility costs (like heating, cooling, lighting and water). Less office space also means lower maintenance costs and security systems. And don’t forget about the savings on furniture and equipment.
You may be asking, why not eliminate the office altogether and completely cut office expenses? Many companies are already doing that – including firms like Automattic, the 1200-employee owner of WordPress.com and Tumblr, and Buffer, the popular social media management platform.
A “traditional” workforce (meaning, a team that works only at an office) limits your candidate pool to whoever happens to live near your headquarters. But embracing a remote workforce opens your options to highly skilled workers located all over the world. In fact, a tech job posting that allows WFH arrangements receives six times the applications that jobs without WFH options receive.
Even companies located in enviable cities like New York and San Francisco are beginning to realize the limits of their zip codes. Silicon Valley isn’t the superpower of innovation that it once was, and some believe that COVID-19 has spotlighted the Valley’s failure.
No matter where your company is located or how many talented people live nearby, your candidate pool is thin compared to the global candidate pool.
Further, by hiring skilled workers from all over the world, you’re embracing diversity and breaking cultural barriers that hold many companies back. Diversity of culture and outlook brings greater creativity and new ways of thinking that can give your business a long-lasting competitive edge.
Consider these important stats regarding employees with disabilities:
Throughout the history of work and employment, the skills and knowledge of people with disabilities have gone largely unutilized. Because employers have traditionally been unable (or unwilling) to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities, many companies have missed untold competitive opportunities.
WFH is a crucial key to tapping into the skills and talent offered by people with disabilities. Working from home enables greater access to accommodations and the ability to skip burdensome commutes.
Our current pandemic is the perfect opportunity for future-thinking companies to begin the shift into a WFH model. Keep track of the tools and tactics that work best and take note of anything that isn’t working for your employees.
Chances are, your staff and your organization will both want to keep the benefits of remote work even after the pandemic ends.
Disclosure: The author does not have any vested interest in the projects mentioned.
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