Work at home option has been gaining momentum for quite some time now. Regardless of the industry, it is a convenient and comfortable alternative to working in an actual office. There are many benefits with this feature and many have well adapted to the work at home lifestyle.
There are probably only a few professionals that can’t benefit from work at home, for e.g.; scientists. However, most other industries have a lot to gain by adapting work at home, for e.g. people who work in technology, design, even call centers.
Work at home provides solutions not only to a company’s employees, but also to the clients. Running a company involves several overhead costs such as rent, electricity, internet access, administration, housekeeping, data storage, office furniture etc., while with a work at home office, the majority of these expenses would be ruled out.
A special analysis done by Flexjobs and Global Workplace Analytics found that there has been an upward trend in people working remotely, the number of people as of February, 2020, in the US working at home is at 4.7 million, or 3.4% of the population.
With growing trends in remote work, more and more companies have adopted this service and why not, there are mostly benefits related to it:
Reduced operational costs
While we now have an understanding of the types of costs that would come down with the adoption of work at home, this feature also offers another benefit. The elimination of time spent in travelling to and from work. According to a survey done by Global Workplace Analytics, if workers could work remotely did so half the time, it would result in over $700 billion in national savings. Additionally, businesses would save an average of $11,000 per year for every part-time telecommuter, and telecommuters would save anywhere from $2-$7K a year. With work at home, most employees, depending on their roles, can perform their work duties from homes and contribute in reducing such operational costs which companies can use in reinvestments or hiring.
Higher employee productivity
Research studies show that employees who work at home are more productive than working in an actual office. A Stanford study found that call center employees’ performance increased by 13% when they worked from home. Out of those, 9% were working more minutes, and 4% were from handling more calls per minute. There is no doubt that work at home eradicates issues such as background noises and distractions, which in turn leads to happier employees and improved customer satisfaction. The agents pay more attention to the customer’s needs and this helps them grow in their roles. Other factors such as better work-life balance, less stress and convenience are all added benefits of work at home.
Supervisors also find running a team of remote employees more manageable because they don’t have to dedicate too much time just supervising the team members, they can shift that focus on other pressing matters.
Cisco’s Internet Business Services Group also reported an annual savings of $277 million in productivity because of remote work.
Larger hiring skill pool
A drawback that any job sector can relate to is finding employees with good skills in the location of the office, not to mention, candidates prefer taking up a job that is closer to home. Along with this, there is the price point; with remote employees, companies are not restricted in hiring someone because that’s the best they get. They can basically hire a candidate from any location and at a package that works for both the employee and the organization. With remote worker placement, the skill pool is much larger and offers employments regardless of a candidate’s age, skills or expertise. This work at home opportunity also benefits one segment of the market; mothers. One study reported that over 50% of women wanted to reduce the number of working hours after having a child or even quit, which was only half as likely among mothers who work at home. By hiring the right people with the right skill, work at home is proving to be the right thing to do.
Flexibility to address seasonal volume spikes:
In a call center, team leaders spend a lot of time in planning shift rosters, flexibility works to an advantage here. Employee scheduling becomes easier as agents can login from homes. It’s easier and faster to scale up a virtual workforce and the commotion of fluctuations with the moving of staff between changing shifts can be avoided. For employees in the technology field, remote workers can extend support to handle any change in work patterns in times of high work requirement. Whether it is dealing with seasonal demands or work pressure, scheduling for remote employees gets more flexible. In fact, some employees tend to prefer certain shifts, and are able to manage more with remote working.
Lower attrition with motivated employees:
Two of three respondents in a survey by Polycom Inc, said they were more productive working remotely than working at an on-site office. Additionally, three out of four respondents also mentioned working remotely helped them with their work-life balance.
Work at home could make for healthier employees as they would spend more time with their families and would be less exposed to seasonal illnesses. With work at home, employees are more motivated therefore leading to a happier staff that leads to a happier team with better performance.
Owl Labs’ study, The Global State of Remote Work, reports that 50% of respondents that work remotely are “happy and productive” in their job.
In a remote working situation, one often finds employees get pro-active and develop a sense of ownership which resulted in lower turnover rates.
According to a Stanford University study, employers who offered a work from home option had employee turnover rates fall by over 50%.
At times of natural disasters or fear and risk of infections, most companies have business continuity plans to keep businesses running as usual. An established business continuity plan makes for a prepared organization. Having a plan in place also proves to its customers that the organization is robust enough to cope with any uncertainty or health risks.
Many companies have been offering work at home for years, those that have been, are definitely empowering their employees and remote work statistics also indicate that work at home is definitely here to stay.
A study by Upwork’s “Future Workforce Report” predicts that 73% of all global businesses will have remote workers by 2028.
While customer service is a critical factor for some companies, for some it is technology, whatever the end objective, when work at home is put into action, it brings about flexibility, increased productivity, and a higher retention rate, and this eventually leads to a good customer experience, loyalty and increased revenues for the company.
About the Author:
Gurmeet Oberoi is a researcher and writer of change tactics and technologies in travel and other verticals, she frequently posts across the digital ecosystem. With 9-yrs of experience in communications and marketing, Gurmeet has a passion for travel and reading among other things. She can be reached at email@example.com