Working remotely from home, a coffee shop, the beach or in line at Disney World is becoming the new normal for many workers (okay, maybe not those last two… yet). More than half (55%) of hiring managers say remote work is becoming more common among full-time staff, and 90% of remote workers plan to continue working remotely until they retire.
And with a recent update from Google Talent Solutions, connecting with job seekers looking for remote work just got easier. Now job seekers searching CareerBuilder for phrases like “work from home,” or “WFH” will also see results related to “remote” or “telecommute,” effectively making remote working opportunities more discoverable.
While it may sound like giving employees the chance to work from the comfort of their own home (or bed) would only benefit the employees, the truth is employers stand to gain just as much with a remote workforce.
Despite what many employers fear, studies show that employees who work remotely actually tend to be more productive than those who work from the office. During a 9-month study of its call center employees, Ctrip found that remote workers completed 13.5% more calls than their in-office coworkers.
And employees notice the difference too. A recent study from Dell and Intel found that half of employees who work from home believe they’re more productive at home than in the office, while 36% reported equal productivity, and just 14% said they got less done working from home.
The study also showed that their peers generally agreed with them – more than half of workers say that coworkers who work from home are just as productive as those in the office, if not more.
Hiring remote workers can reduce costs remarkably. When done on a large scale, companies can realize immense savings on real estate – according to Global Workplace Analytics, IBM was able to reduce real estate costs by $50 million, and Sun Microsystems saves $68 million a year in real estate costs.
Implementing remote workers at a smaller scale can save companies money too. For example, Nortel saves an estimated $100,000 per employee they don’t have to relocate, according to GWA. It can also help employers with ADA compliance for disabled workers.
Reach more qualified talent
With the unemployment rate at historic lows, the competition for talent is more intense than competition for the Iron Throne. If you’re like many employers, you’re probably having trouble finding qualified candidates to fill some open positions. But if you remove the constraint of physical proximity, you expand your ability to hire the best fit talent by reaching qualified candidates who otherwise may never have considered the job.
Increasing your workforce diversity brings new perspectives, experiences and ideas to your business – and hiring remote workers is a great way to add some diversity to your team. By expanding your talent pool in this way, you’re giving yourself access to job seekers who may need to work from home, like working parents and people with health reasons or disabilities. Not to mention, you’re considering candidates from all over the country – or potentially even the entire globe.
For many employees, the ability to work from home is seen as a huge benefit. They put a high value on work-life balance, and the chance to work remotely can go a long way toward that goal. According to GWA, two-thirds of people want the opportunity to work from home, and 46% of companies that hire remote workers or allow employees to work from home say it reduced employee turnover.
Poor work-life balance can lead some employees to look for new opportunities, but it’s not the only cause of attrition. If you’re worried about employee turnover, check out Why your employees are leaving – and what to do about it.