United Benefit Advisors Insight and Analysis Blog

Expansion of the Remote Workforce

By Bill Olson, Senior VP, Operations at United Benefit Advisors
  Sep 19, 2019 9:45:00 AM

Laptop on, loafers off. 

According to one Cision study, more than 50% of the working works from home at least half of the week. Remote work is exploding in popularity, expanding by 91% over the last ten years and 159% over the last 12 years.

Work RemotelyThanks to ever-evolving digital and cloud-based technology, employees can essentially carry out their tasks from anywhere in the world. Working remotely is no longer seen as a privilege or something proprietary to the world of progressive startups.

Many people (particularly millennials) in leadership roles are taking note of the many benefits of remote work. Office professionals believe taking a break from the physical office space significantly increases productivity, work-life balance, and overall quality of life. Below are tips for envisioning a productive work-remote cadence.

Debunking the Myths

The common platitude among leadership teams opposed to remote work is that it doesn’t encourage productivity. Too often, managers think of their employees abusing work-from-home by sprawling out on their couches binge-watching Netflix, or spending the day at the pool.

One longitudinal study from Stanford University found that this belief is actually the opposite of the truth; working remotely actually increased productivity by 13% where companies allowed it. Additionally, it aided employee retention and overall satisfaction.

When workers are absolved from distractions such as chatting, gossip, excessive meetings, breaks, etcetera, they are free to do more deep work. Deep work is essential for professionals who make a living by solving problems strategically and thinking critically. To do this a calming, distraction-free environment is essential.

Foster a Culture of Trust and Accountability

It is up to managers to set the tone for trust and transparency in the workplace. When your leadership team is creating a work-remote policy, simple checks and balances will go a long way to giving everyone peace of mind. Initiating an “always-reachable” policy is an easy way to make sure deadlines are met and employees are moving the needle on important tasks.

Requiring everyone to be online via Gchat, Slack, Google Hangouts, Skype, or other software during their regularly scheduled hours is a great first step. If everyone knows the expectation is to be reachable and on-call, there is less room for policy abuse. Similarly, if your team finds that the policies are abused, you should establish corrective action, such as a rollback of work-remote privileges.

Think of Work-From-Home as Fiscally Responsible

Mothers Working from HomeBeyond productivity and performance, remote work has a beneficial financial component. According to one study, remote workers can save about $7,000 a year on average. These savings come from reducing or eliminating the cost of gas, car maintenance, public transit, professional attire, meals, and child care.

And the benefits aren’t just for the employee. For employers, the money saved includes office overhead costs, such as rent, property taxes, utility bills, supplies, corporate lunches, and other expensed items. Because work remote is shown to reduce personnel turnover, the cost saved for the employer extends to include time and money spent advertising, recruiting, and training employees.

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Topics: employee benefits, productivity, HR Elements, Work Remotely, Work From Home