According to the Office of National Statistics, 13.9% of employees work from home. This is the highest level since records began. However, for many managers there is still the stigma of letting staff work from home.
At Recruitment Genius, we were inspired to allow home working by a company called 37 Signals after reading their blog post Signal vs Noise. They later write an accompanying book we highly recommend called REWORK. That’s why we have listed a few reasons as to why you should consider allowing staff to work from home.
Attractive to candidates
Technology has enabled us to work whenever and wherever we want to. This being on the plane, in a coffee shop or in the garden. By stating you offer staff the opportunity to work from home, you could attract a wider class of potential employees. Reducing commuting also puts more money in your employee’s pockets. This makes them more expensive to competitors who may seek to headhunt without offering remote working.
Productivity is maintained
Of course there is the fear of staff watching too much daytime TV and catching up on the ironing. Chances are, they probably will “slack off” at times. However they will also make sure their workload is done. They will either work into the evenings or even on weekends to spend additional time answering emails and catching up. In fact studies have shown that staff that work from home are actually more productive than those who work in the office. You could even set expectations on what needs to be done each day. If they do not deliver then you can take the benefit away. Ultimately, it comes down to trust. When you allow employees to work from home you are showing that you trust them to get the job done. This shows a great deal of confidence in your staff and one that the vast majority will respond to.
Saves your business money
Embracing telecommuting can reduce costs. Office costs drop with fewer people on site. This could be a drop in rent, coffee supplies, stationery and electricity. You can also save money as staff could take less sick days. When staff are at home they are more likely to take care of themselves and still get work done. Therefore your business is less likely to suffer and lose money from sick days and office costs.
Keeps staff happy
For many employees, working from home helps them out a great deal. Reasons may be because they can work to their own schedule, have a better work/life balance, save commuting costs or because it breaks up their working week. Happy staff are more likely to work harder and be more loyal. If your staff are happy with working for you, then it is more unlikely that they won’t look elsewhere. It would be shame to lose a great employee to a competitor who offers the opportunity to work from home.
Part of the contingency plan
If there is a weather warning and snow is predicted, many worry about commuting to work. In order to prevent the business from suffering, you could offer staff to work from home. By doing this, you can ensure that business is continued and eradicates the worry of staff safely getting to work.
In order for telecommuting to be effective, communication and collaboration is key. If you are open to the idea but not entirely convinced your employees will stay productive, you could give them a trial run. Let an employee work from home for a set amount of time and see if it works. After a month or two, you could both evaluate the experience and determine if it works. You could then mutually agree on if they can permanently work from home or if they can on selected days. If you offer this as part of your benefits package, you could have a happier and more loyal workforce.