The number of remote employees working from home is on the rise. As of 2015, 38 percent of workers in management, business, and financial positions did some or all of their work from home. Meanwhile 35 percent of those employed in professional positions did some or all of their work from home. This number is up from a mere 19 percent in 2003. Employees are even willing to take a pay cut to work remotely- anywhere from 8 percent to 21 percent.
Benefits of Remote Employees
As a business owner, there are a number of benefits that remote employees offer. Possibly the most notable: they save you money and tend to work harder. Think of how much overhead your business faces per employee- the cost of office technology and supplies, the cost of keeping a well-stocked break room, the cost of electricity. By allowing employees to work remotely, businesses can save up to $10,000 per year per employee. This doesn’t even take into account the reduction in unscheduled absences (there’s no need to be ‘absent’ in the traditional sense when you’re working remotely), which costs up to $1,800 per employee.
A survey from Global Workplace Analytics showed that 53 percent of remote workers were likely to work overtime, as compared to only 28 percent of their in-office counterparts. Working from home cuts out the daily distractions of office life, such as impromptu meetings and chit-chat with co-workers. Also, consider that some of your employees are night owls, and are more productive outside of the confines of 9-5.
Benefits for Remote Employees
Employees also reap the rewards of working remotely. For one, they’re able to avoid the stress of commuting. According to Swedish researchers, a commute longer than 45 minutes for one partner in a marriage makes the couple 40 percent more likely to divorce. Commuting has been linked to weight gain, increased stress, loneliness, and neck and back pain. By avoiding commuting, employees are also able to save money that would otherwise be going towards gas, tolls, and automotive repairs- upwards of $4,500. Along with benefits like the ability to eat healthier, avoid workplace illnesses and strike a better balance between professional and social lives, you can be sure that allowing your employees to work remotely will make them happy workers. And happy workers means productive employees.
One problem remains- keeping all of your employees together under one unified technological umbrella.
Remote Employees and Technology
Enter the Cloud. Cloud-based storage keeps your data secure, but accessible for employees working outside of the office. The Cloud unifies your communications technology, and allows you to extend telecommuting options to employees dependent on flexibility.
It’s also important to maintain face-to-face interactions with employees, even the ones that are working remotely. This helps build and maintain relationships with your employees, despite the fact that you don’t see them as often as you would were they working in the office. Video conferencing is easier than ever, and helps cut down on the cost of commuting.