Remote work was inevitable. Given the technology landscape that’s developed over the last decade or so, it was destined to become not only desirable by more employees, but required by them too. It almost goes hand-in-hand with flexible scheduling; this desire by workers to not only work from somewhere other than an office, but to work on their own time.
International Workplace Group (IWG) says 80% of employees say they would turn down an employment offer that didn’t offer flexible working.
According to a study by flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics, between the years of 2005 and 2017, there was a whopping 159% growth in remote work. To put that into context, the organizations report nearly four million employees were working remotely in 2015. Today, that number is much closer to five million; 4.7 million or 3.4% of the population to be specific. Additionally, 50 percent of employees globally are working outside their main office headquarters at least two and a half days a week. That’s according to IWG.
Admittedly, for some in leadership, that is a difficult pill to swallow. In many ways, employers still want a fair amount of oversight concerning their employees and their day-to-day activities. This isn’t a control thing necessarily, although that does figure in to it a bit. It’s really about making sure the employee and the teams she or he work on are able to deliver on the promises guaranteed by the manager.
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Allowing an employee or an entire set of employees to work from another location requires the leader to relinquish some of his or her oversight of the employee. Can that employee work offsite and still deliver on productivity and success? Can a manager or leader be at peace with the idea that an employee can and will be able to keep pace with those fellow employees in the office setting?
At the end of the day, remote workers can fulfill that promise and, in some instances, can do so more effectively than those individuals working in an office. Again, according to IWG, 85 percent of leaders say productivity has increased in their business thanks to greater flexibility.
Impact on Recruitment and Retention
As previously mentioned, remote work can draw people to the organization and can even help retain those individuals once they are employed. A Stanford University study, focused on the Shanghai-based Ctrip, found people who worked remotely were less likely to leave the company for another. In fact, the authors found resignations dropped 50% for employees who were allowed to work from home.
Additionally, employees not only benefited from working remotely. So did their managers. Leaders were able to spend less time “advertising, recruiting, training and promoting.” Eventually, Ctrip rolled out the remote work option to all their employees. Those taking up the offer made approximately $2,000 more profit per person than those working from the company’s headquarters.
Impact on Wellness
Remote workers take fewer sick days. According to SHRM, it’s because they aren’t exposed to the same amount or types of germs at home that they may encounter at work. If that’s not enough, 90 percent of employees who work from home or have a flexible work schedule say its increased morale. It also increases job satisfaction. 57 percent of remote workers, according to Amerisleep, said they are more satisfied with their job. That same study found 80 percent of remote workers were less stressed about their jobs.
Remote Work Is Here to Stay
For companies not embracing remote work, something Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Nicholas Bloom calls a future-looking technology, challenges may develop as a result. The desire to want to work from home or some other location isn’t going anywhere. Buffer’s State of Remote Work report says 99 percent of people surveyed want to work from home.
Keeping up the trend, Upwork’s “Future Workforce Report” predicts, by 2028, 73 percent of all teams will have remote workers. Additionally, 75% of those employees already working remotely plan to continue the practice for the rest of their respective careers!
Get ready HR – remote work is quickly solidifying itself as a standard operating procedure, not simply an employee luxury.
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