It’s easy to see why employees might prefer to work from home. In addition to ditching their commute (and the associated costs), it allows for a better work-life balance.
Most who have made the switch from traditional office work to remote work say that they will never go back. The flexibility in scheduling makes everything easier, from raising kids and taking care of parents, to just getting the oil changed (which they will now do less often). Work from home statistics show that employees also save around $4,000 annually when they work from home.
But what is in it for companies? Actually, a great deal. In fact, depending on the industry, having employees work from home may provide a greater benefit for employers than those they hire.
There are a number of reasons why this is the case:
1. Boost your bottom line.
The bottom line is the easiest one to look at when considering looking to remote work. On average, companies save $11,000 per year when an employee works from home just 50 percent of the time. At the same time, Aetna Insurance claims they save over $70 million per year by making their workforce almost 50 percent remote.
2. Avoid real estate costs.
If your company is expanding, you might be tempted to get a larger office, but that costs money and time and then it has to be maintained. One way expanding remote work benefits companies is if more senior employees are given at-home assignments, allowing for the space to train new recruits without needing additional offices.
3. Avoid other supplemental costs.
Along with real estate needs are costs like housekeeping, utilities, and office supplies. Even the cost for free coffee can pile up. By passing this on to those who work from home, these expenditures are eliminated.
4. Save on workspace.
Reducing in-house tech needs means saving on items like phones and desktop computers. It also means that you can dedicate workspace for other things, like making periodic meeting rooms (for teams to collaborate if they need to) available, or booking places to entertain high-end clients.
5. Improve productivity.
This is usually the largest question associated with the idea of working from home: Will your employees remain productive if they work from another location? Metrics say that, not only will remote workers remain productive, but they work even more efficiently than they did previously. Office culture can create a number of distractions; these are alleviated with work from home.
6. Enjoy higher employee retention.
Businesses have reported a 10 percent rise in retention when they started offering the option of working from home. In addition, many people surveyed have said that they might be tempted to leave their current position if they were offered a remote position at another company.
7. Become more green.
Want to show that you are a green company? One way to reduce emissions is to dispose of a work commute, an act that can reduce tons of greenhouse gasses. In addition, by removing the need for someone to live and work in two separate spaces you create more fossil fuel efficiency.
8. Reduce illness.
Does it seem like the same creeping crud sweeps through your office on an annual basis? A lower number of people congregating together makes it more difficult for germs to spread. This can result in improved general and long-term health for your employees.
Of course, there are some negatives to employees working from home that have to be reconciled. The largest one has to do with communication and cohesion. When making the transition to remote work, it’s important to stress the importance of being communicative and working in rigid digital meeting schedules with regular check-ins so that the team feels connected.
In addition, trying to bring teams together in person on a semi-regular basis can be a good plan. Whether it be weekly lunches or annual retreats, it’s still important to build morale and have people meet face-to-face every once in a while.
All that being said, working from home seems to be a win-win for companies and employees. Most areas of industry are looking for ways that they can extend working from home to those that they employ — and if you are not, you may be on the wrong end of a long-term trend.
Sarah Archer is a content marketing manager at Siege Media and Your Best Digs who works remotely while traveling. She’s passionate about developing high-quality content for diverse industries ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. When she’s not creating content, she’s likely hiking a new trail or mapping out the next destination.