9 Reasons You Need to Offer Remote Work and How the Cloud Can Help
Remote working is a big topic in the business world today.
Many employees clamor for the opportunity to work from home, in their pajamas, largely setting their own hours. But many business owners cringe to think of the possible lost productivity and not being able to ensure that employees are doing all their work.
The modern workplace is largely shifting toward a more flexible, remote arrangement, and all the data points this trend is only going to grow. If you’re on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, here are 9 great reasons you should consider the switch, and how the cloud can make the transition easier.
Remote working provides a wide range of benefits for both the employer and the employees. Some of those benefits can easily be measured and calculated, such as in dollars or work hours, while others aren’t quantifiable.
Here are 9 great reasons you want your employees to work remotely:
Are you guilty of taking a little too long chatting with a coworker, or spending a day just occupying your desk chair when you’ve felt under the weather but didn’t have any extra sick days?
A 2016 study estimated that employers lose approximately $1.8 trillion annually in lost productivity.
Whether that’s due to chatty coworkers, hangovers, worries over childcare, or just laziness, that’s a lot of money employers are leaving on the table just to keep people in their cubicles and offices during working hours.
On the other hand, employees allowed to work remotely see their productivity and effectiveness skyrocket, with time taken for illnesses and other responsibilities decreased.
Employees allowed to work from home don’t have commuting to and from work to worry about, meaning they won’t get caught up in traffic and show up late. But for maximum productivity, employees must be allowed to largely set their own hours.
This allows employees to work when they’re most productive, which may be early mornings, late at night, or even on weekends. They also can work other responsibilities - doctor appointments, parent-teacher conferences, and even hitting the gym - around the work that needs to be done.
Workers who are given this flexibility are better able to manage their time, getting the same amount of work done in fewer working hours due to decreased interruptions. They’re then able to fit more work into their day, improving output and productivity.
An office building during cold and flu season is a walking Petri dish: You’ve got tons of germs moving around in an enclosed space, ready to infect whoever comes into contact with them.
Even if you make it through a year with just a minor cold that you’re able to “work through,” you’re still running the risk of decreasing your immune system’s ability to fight illnesses and possibly infecting your coworkers.
Because of many employers’ limited sick day allowances, some workers are forced to come to work ill. This leads to a higher infection rate and decreased overall productivity, costing the company money.
Workers who are allowed to work from home not only are less likely to get sick as often, but they have the ability to take a day or two to recuperate. They then make up the work that they
missed when they’re feeling better. This decreases recovery time and the chance that the employee will get sick again and lose more working time.
In addition, workers who are allowed to work remotely have the flexibility to prioritize their health and wellness in a way that many in-office workers cannot.
They’re able to cook and eat fresh meals at home, so there are no lunches out or fast food on the way home from the office. Remote employees also are able to plan their work around getting some exercise every day, improving their overall health and wellness.
This leads to decreased healthcare costs for the business and decreased losses from illness and injury.
Doing business costs money and uses resources, including energy and water needed to maintain an office.
Your employees also expend valuable resources commuting every day, whether they come by car or public transportation.
When you decentralize the work and allow employees to work from home, you’re decreasing the amount of natural resources your business uses.
No office means no electricity needed for lights, no water for bathrooms and kitchens, and no office supplies. Your employees also do not need to use fossil fuels when commuting.
This all decreases the impact on the environment and makes your business as a whole more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Happy employees who are largely allowed to direct their days are much less likely to seek out other jobs, or to jump on new opportunities that may come their way.
When your employees are allowed to have flexible schedules and work from home, giving them the opportunity to feel as if their work isn’t taking over their whole lives, they’re much more likely to report satisfaction with their jobs.
It’s expensive to search for new employees, between posting the new job, paying for the time needed to vet resumes and candidates, and haggle over salary and benefits. Retaining employees for longer decreases these costs, increasing your business’s overhead.
When you don’t have to have a central office, your overhead decreases dramatically.
You don’t have to pay rent on your building, office furniture, electricity, cleaning and office supplies, and more. Even if you have only a few employees, the cost difference can be massive.
While you probably will reimburse your employees for some of their phone and internet costs, as well as either outright buying them computers or paying them a stipend, that cost is going to be much smaller than continuing to run an office building.
In addition, with decreased absenteeism, you’re saving money related to those absences, such as medical costs, paid time off, and lost productivity.
Improved Work-Life Balance
Employees love to work for companies that allow them a healthy mixture in their lives.
If your employees aren’t stuck in an office for 40 hours per week, plus all the time spent commuting, they feel they’re better able to get some kind of balance in their lives.
For example, a parent can make it to their child’s classroom holiday party without having to take time off; instead, they’ll just work a little earlier or later that day to cover the missed time. The work still gets done and your employee is happier.
Employees who are allowed to create their own work-life balance take fewer sick days, are more productive, and stay in their positions longer.
When you hire only for in-office positions, you’re limiting your talent pool to people who live locally or who are willing to relocate.
Hiring remote workers, however, allows you to cast a much wider net and find the right people for your open positions no matter where they live.
This gives you the opportunity to find people who will be ready to jump right into their jobs, with minimal training, and contribute positively to your work environment. Yes, there’s something to be said for training up a new employee who turns out great, but it’s much more profitable to be able to hire a skilled, talented person who can make a splash right away.
Thanks to remote working, you can hire that right person even if they’re located across the country.
Happy, healthy employees are great employees.
If your employees are happy, they are more willing to go out of their way to do great work for you. That means not only does the quantity of work improve with remote employees, but the quality of their work may improve as well.
And those employees who know what working remotely is like and how it positively impacts their lives will often work hard to keep their remote position.
You will lose fewer employees over time, and you’ll continue to get good work out of the ones who really value their position.
While reducing your employees’ salaries shouldn’t be the main or only reason you begin allowing remote work, it can be an added bonus.
We’re not advocating paying your employees less than they’re worth, but some employees may be willing to forgo a raise for the option of a flexible schedule and remote working.
This can give you a little bit more wiggle room in your budget, giving you the opportunity to add bonuses during the year or other perks that you couldn’t afford otherwise.
How the Cloud Can Help You Increase Remote Work
Thanks to the internet, remote working is a viable option in a wide variety of industries. With cloud storage, remote work has become more secure and cost-effective than ever before.
Here are three ways the cloud can help your business move remote:
Access for All
When you subscribe to a cloud-based app or software, all your employees can get access to the information they need no matter where they are.
This means you don’t have to have a dedicated IT team install the same pricey software on everyone’s machine through remote access, and you don’t need to ensure that every employee has the exact same technology available.
As long as all your employees have logins for the programs you’re using, they can access the same information and documents and get their work done.
Messaging apps and email have transformed the way that teams do work.
Instead of walking into someone’s office to ask a question then getting diverted by an unrelated conversation for 30 minutes, teams near and far can simply send the message in an email or chat message. This allows the other person to respond on their own time, not interrupting their own workflow.
Additionally, using commenting and notating features on apps allows everyone who reviews it to ask questions and leave feedback on a project or document without getting interrupted.
Everyone feels able to share their opinions and ideas, leading to better projects and more comprehensive collaboration.
Decreased Technology Costs
Old-school software licenses are expensive.
While many cloud-based programs aren’t completely free, they are more cost-effective for a lot of businesses than buying several licenses of a pricey word-processing program.
Not only that, but cloud-based programs mean that anyone can access them on any system with the internet, meaning not everyone has to have the exact same technology. This allows you to have a bring-your-own device or stipend policy, saving money over providing everyone with the exact same machines.
Cloud-Based Solutions for Better Business
From small contracting businesses to property management firms, mid-sized businesses to entire smart cities, @Assist has created exceptional cloud-based software solutions geared toward the people who use them. Whether you’re looking to keep track of invoices and employee activities or needing to track energy consumption and creation, our apps are available wherever you have internet.