More employees are working remotely from their homes, and that’s a good thing, not only for them, but also for their employers, and for the environment. The simple fact is that working in the comfort of your own home can increase job satisfaction, and satisfied workers tend to be more productive employees. Employers who let their employees work from home reap the benefits of that increased productivity, lower overhead costs and are better able to retain their employees.
So, Why Do Employers Resist?
Still, many employers resist giving their employees the option to telecommute. Some think they’ll lose control over those workers simply because they can’t meet with them face to face. Others are afraid that letting employees work from home will lower their motivation. Still others are concerned about the costs for equipment, like computers, mobile phones and printers. The truth, however, is that telecommuting doesn’t mean a loss of control, or that employees won’t be self-directed. And, if anything, telecommuting programs actually save employers money.
The Advantages of Telecommuting
Employers who have these and other fears about the effectiveness of virtual worker programs need to take a close look at the facts, and those facts point to some key benefits of allowing staff to work remotely.
Here are 5 key advantages of remote teams and virtual worker programs for business:
- Australian workers prefer telecommuting: perhaps the biggest advantage is that most employees prefer having the option to telecommute. That’s especially true for Gen Y workers and recent university graduates. These workers are more accustomed to living and working in a virtual world, and doing so professionally is a major job perk that leads to increased job satisfaction.
- Telecommuting increases worker productivity: several studies show that remote workers are more productive. There are a number of reasons for this increased productivity, from increased engagement in their jobs to reduced absenteeism.
- Remote workers are easier to retain: of companies that have initiated telecommuting programs, almost half report a reduction in employee attrition, and the large majority point out that these programs increase their ability to hold on to valued employees. That means reduced costs to replace those employees.
- Larger pool of qualified job applicants: remote job opportunities reduce the pressure to find experienced workers by bringing more qualified employees into the workforce. Skilled workers for whom commuting is not an option, like disabled workers and those who have to remain home to care for children or elderly parents, become viable job candidates for telecommuting positions. In addition, it makes it easier to integrate casual virtual assistants and offshore staff into the team when full-time employees are already used to working with remote team members.
- Telecommuting will save money: most employers who sponsor telecommuting programs indicate they save money, and those savings are typically substantial. Allowing workers to telecommute means companies can reduce the size of their infrastructure and save dollars normally expended to achieve compliance with government regulations and other overheads.
Technology is the Key
Clearly, the advantages of outsourcing work to remote teams outweigh any downside, but the effectiveness of such programs means companies need to have the right technology in place. Companies that opt to outsource key operations, from web developers to virtual assistants to accountants, need to leverage state-of-the-art tools for candidate screening, online management and quality assurance.
Fortunately, the increased prominence of telecommuting and outsourcing has pushed the creation of companies with the deep experience to give SMEs the tools they need to achieve their key business objectives. Partnering with these companies is the best way to take full advantage of business solutions, which increase productivity, boost profits and enhance employee satisfaction and retention.