The rapid evolvement of technology changes the way we do business on so many fronts. One of those changes is where we do business. Advancements such as video conferencing, smartphones and cloud computing mean that countless office jobs are no longer constrained to an office. Instead, with the right infrastructure, an organization can easily offer employees the choice to perform at least part of their tasks from a remote location, such as a home office. In fact, Eagle launched a telecommuting program called "WORKshift" a couple years ago and feedback has been very positive.
August's Virtual Recruiter Quick Poll surveyed hiring managers to get an idea of how many other organizations are offering this benefit. Interestingly enough, most respondents have said that they do offer some type of work-from-home program. The results aren't surprising given how much employees value such a perk and the amount of benefits employers see from their telecommuting programs.
Why Employees Love to Work from Home:
Less Travel: There are so many benefits within this one benefit. In addition to not having to deal with the stress of traffic, telecommuters find that they sometimes save hours a day by not having to travel into the office. Even better, people easily save hundreds of dollars a year simply by cutting down on gas, parking or public transit expenses.
Work/Life Balance: There's more time for personal activities when so much time is saved on travel. Parents also benefit because they can be home with their kids before and after school.
More productive: Employees often report that they are more productive when working from home. There are fewer distractions than at the office and they often feel their at-home work environment is more friendly and comfortable.
Why Employers are Embracing These Programs:
More productivity: Of course employees would report they're more productive when they work from home, right? But many employers also report that they see higher productivity with telecommuting programs. And they've backed it up with numbers!
Cost Savings: In addition to making money, once telecommuting is implemented, organizations also see cost savings. Depending on the extent of the program, they may spend less on office space and, because people don't have to be around their sick co-workers, many companies report that they're dishing out less sick days.
Retention: Telecommuting is a great differentiator for a company and raises job satisfaction for employees. Naturally, this contributes significantly to retaining star employees.
There are of course some challenges to a work-from-home program. As noted above, it can require a change in company infrastructure, including a shift to more cloud computing solutions (ex. Dropbox, Google Drive) and possibly VoIP phone systems (ex. Skype). As well, the organization needs to be prepared for a change in culture. With employees working in different locations, both communication and social norms will shift and may even suffer without the right training.
Telecommuting has been around for years but implementing it as a company-wide benefit is still a relatively new concept that can help your company stand out to potential applicants. It especially stands out to the younger generation who are demanding more work/life balance from their employers. We know that employees love the idea and research is proving that employers are benefiting from it. So, if you haven't already, why not look into your company's work-from-home program today?