Working from Home: An Employee Benefit or the Best Management Strategy? by Luke Pettit on Mar 27, 2019

There’s no doubt that remote working is beginning to gain real traction in the working world. LinkedIn’s 2019 Global Talent Trends Report found a 78% increase in job posts, mentioning “workplace flexibility” since 2016. But for many people, remote work is seen more as an employee benefit, with workers gaining more from flexible working arrangements than employers. In fact, allowing for remote work within your company can bring benefits for all involved. We’ll take a look at all the different positives that working from home is associated with, for both employees and employers.

The current most desired employee benefits

The Harvard Business Review recently reported the current most desirable employee benefits, from a study of 2000 workers within the US conducted by Fractl. After health and dental coverage, the most-valued benefits were all ones that offered improved flexibility and a better work-life balance. The majority of those questioned mentioned that these flexible arrangements would also make a lower-paying job more attractive than a higher-paid one without such benefits on offer.

which benefits employees want

Glassdoor also conducted their own survey, reporting similar results across the board

Why employees value flexible working arrangements

A lot of employees value flexibility in their working arrangements for a number of reasons, often dependent upon their own personal circumstances and priorities. One common group are parents, who perhaps need to work from home to look after children or simply to make their day more manageable when organising their family routine. FlexJobs, also cited in the HBR article, found that parents ranked work flexibility and work-life balance as the most important work benefits. This beats even salary and health insurance in the list of priorities.

Others seek out the freedom of location that flexible work arrangements can offer. Having the ability to travel and explore the world whilst working is an exciting and enticing opportunity for many to take. Buffer found that 81% of workers have taken the opportunity to travel and explore when allowed to work remotely out of the office.

Flexible working arrangements also help employees better manage their work-life balance. It’s been shown to be conducive to a better standard of mental and physical health, reducing stress and burnout. FlexJobs reports that 97% of over 3000 respondents in their 2018 annual survey said that a flexible job would have a “huge improvement or positive impact on their overall quality of life”.

Why employees value working from home

Whilst we mentioned that some people take the opportunity to travel when given flexible working arrangements, others stay at home and work rather than in an office environment. This of course benefits parents and those who need to care for others staying at home, but there are other reasons why working from home can bring you value.

Not needing to commute and significantly reducing your travel costs can lead to an increase in real income. You also save precious time spent commuting, and the stress associated with travelling to work. 55% of people reported increases levels of stress due to their daily commute according to a report by the UK Royal Society for Public Health as cited in Forbes. Saving both time and money will of course lead to an improvement in your overall work-life balance.

Many people also get tempted at work to splash out on expensive meals or takeaway food when taking their lunch break. Significant reductions in the amount spent on food can be found when working at home, along with improvements in the overall healthiness and nutrition of what you eat. These costs can significantly add up over time, meaning that working from home can have a big financial benefit for you over working in the office.

What are the costs of implementing working from home policies

While there are a number of benefits to working from home, initial costs can at first be incurred by employers when implementing and making the most of flexible working arrangements. Training, resources and new work flows are all needed when making the move to remote work. Making use of communication technology such as Slack, Asana and other online tools can bring about subscription costs, whilst training sessions and learning resources all have associated costs.

However, the long term benefits and reductions in office space can actually reduce the overall burden on an employee. Global Workplace Analytics found that employees working from home just half of their working hours can save their company around $11,000 per year in costs associated with working in the office.

What are the benefits for employers

One of the biggest benefits for employers when allowing their employees to work remotely is the increases in productivity shown by workers. Global Workplace Analytics Costs & Benefits survey shows that teleworkers in a number of large companies are actually between 35-40% more productive than their office counterparts. They also found that “two-thirds of [all surveyed] employers report increased productivity among their telecommuters”.

The talent pool offer also increases, as hirers are no longer limited to those that can make it to the office and live in the near geographical area. The whole country is now open for those that allow for flexible flexible working arrangements, along with the whole world is the company allow for fully remote workers who are allowed to work on their own schedule.

As previously mentioned, we also see a tangible reduction in costs associated with running a fully equipped and staffed office for all workers. IBM for example managed to save $50 million in real estate costs. 60% of employers questioned in the costs and benefits survey reported cost savings overall as a significant benefit of allowing people to work from home.

Want to learn more about working from home?

If you’re feeling inspired after learning about all the benefits that working from home can bring to both workers and firms, then make sure to get involved in the Global Work From Home Day next month. On the 10th of April, take the opportunity to work from home and learn more about flexibility in your job and remote work in general. Sign up for the event and receive tips, tricks, help and curated playlists from the Remote-how team:

Share a picture with #WorkFromHomeDay on 10th of April to also have the chance of winning a pair of Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones or a Rain Design mStand360 Laptop Stand.

Luke currently works as Content Writer for Remote-how and Marketing Manager for a Berlin-based tech start-up. He spends most of his time creating digital marketing strategies, writing copy and hosting tech events throughout Berlin. By working remotely, he gets to experience the benefits of both flexible working arrangements and a start-up office environment.

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