In a Software Advice survey this June, we found that 82% of employees formerly working in an office transitioned to primarily working remotely due to the pandemic. This dramatic shift wasn’t expected (or planned for) by most businesses, but all things considered, the transition has been relatively seamless.
The reason for this? Many businesses were already accustomed to working together in the office with the help of collaboration and workflow software. Now, employees have been working remotely successfully for months, and while many businesses are preparing to return to the office sooner rather than later, others have announced that they won’t return for at least another year.
If you’re a business leader charting your course back to the office, consider this: maybe the question isn’t when to return, it’s whether to return at all. There are many benefits that come with having a remote workforce for both employers and employees. Piqued your interest? Keep reading to learn about the advantages of abolishing the office.
To learn more about our survey methodology, click here.
Advantages of remote working for business owners
Abolishing the office may seem like a radical decision, but the benefits of going fully remote are worth your consideration.
According to Gartner research, expenses are lower, recruiting is more fruitful, and employee retention is higher for businesses that offer flexible working arrangements (full content available to Gartner clients).
Let’s dive deeper into these three main benefits.
Eliminating a physical office lowers business expenses
According to Global Workplace Analytics, if employees telecommuted for just half of their work week, it would save the typical business up to $11,000/year. The reason for this is that many business expenses would significantly decrease without physical office space to account for, such as:
- Real estate or rent
- Janitorial services
- Office supplies
- Kitchen supplies
- Office equipment
- Transportation reimbursement
- Rented parking spaces
Especially for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), these expenses can add up. What could you do if you were able to recoup $11,000 in physical office-related costs? Improve your bottom line or free up cash to invest in other initiatives, like building a remote work tech stack or providing your employees with more equipment for their home office.
Recruit top talent and extend company reach with a remote workforce
Many companies are already keen on the advantages of offering remote work when it comes to recruiting. In fact, of the nearly 5,000 HR professionals LinkedIn surveyed for their Global Talent Trends Report, 51% said that when it comes to instituting more flexible options, attracting candidates was a top benefit.
Committing to a fully remote workforce means you’ll be able to recruit beyond the local talent pool by attracting candidates outside of your area and appealing to potential hires who may not have otherwise been interested.
But a larger hiring pool doesn’t just increase your chance of finding top talent, it also extends the reach of your company. Recruiting remote workers all over the country means you can operate in more time zones, essentially adding hours to the work day.
Hiring remote workers also gives businesses the opportunity to embrace diversity and be more inclusive. Going beyond your specific neighborhood allows you to recruit people from a variety of socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds that may not want or be able to live near your physical office location.
Remote work lowers turnover and improves employee retention
Employees value flexible work options and are more likely to stay at a job that offers them. In fact, millennials rank flexibility higher as a preferred benefit than student loan or tuition reimbursement. Without an office, employees have the flexibility to work when, where, and how they feel the most productive. In essence, they feel trusted and empowered by their employer, which leads to higher job satisfaction.
Along with flexibility, location freedom is a valuable benefit for employees. Of the 17% who would prefer to work remotely permanently, most say they would consider moving to a new city if given the opportunity. Forgoing a physical office means that employees who want or need to relocate will not have to quit their job.
Job satisfaction and location freedom are just two of the reasons retention improves with remote work. Having a flexible schedule can be a critical benefit for employees with caretaker roles. The requirement to work a 9-to-5 in a physical office can be too restrictive for workers managing personal responsibilities in addition to their job. Transitioning to a remote work environment allows these employees to keep their job while tending to their responsibilities at home (even if it means reduced hours).
Advantages of remote working for employees
By now it should be clear that remote work doesn’t just benefit employers. Employees also benefit from going remote. According to Gartner, the top advantages of remote work for employees include better work-life balance, improved productivity, reduced stress, and more control over their schedule and work environment (full source available to clients).
Our survey found that the majority of employees would prefer to work remotely more often (if not permanently) post-pandemic, and that work-life balance and job satisfaction are both better for most employees at home.
Not every employee would prefer to work remotely indefinitely. It’s critical to consider your team’s specific needs and preferences when deciding whether or not to go fully remote. One easy way to accomplish this is with a survey. Employee pulse survey tools are made to collect feedback for easy analysis (making them perfect for this task), but a Google Form can also get the job done.
Ready to make remote work…work? Check out these resources.
Business owners and employees benefit from remote work equally. Leaders can attract and retain top talent, employees can live wherever they want to, and both can save money and enjoy better work-life balance overall.
Our general manager, Blake Clark, shared what he loves about working remotely:
“As a father of five, I really cherish the extra time I get at home with my family that would otherwise be spent sitting in traffic, commuting to the office, and I feel like I’m more productive at work because of it. I’ve heard many people on our team express the same sentiment. While this time of great uncertainty and change has definitely been difficult, seeing more of the people you live with has really helped us stay engaged and hyper productive.”
Committing to a 100% remote workforce isn’t a small decision—it takes careful consideration and thorough planning. Currently, many businesses are already operating as if they were 100% remote due to COVID-19. If your business falls into that category and is finding the transition natural, it might be worth pursuing as a permanent solution.
June Survey Methodology
The Software Advice COVID-19 Consumer & Employee Impact Survey was conducted in June 2020 to understand how the priorities and preferences of people—as consumers, employees, and patients—have shifted due to COVID-19. We surveyed 232 employees making up a representative sample (by age and gender) of the U.S. population.
We worded the questions to ensure that each respondent fully understood the meaning and the topic at hand.