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5 remote work facts every employer should know

If your company is considering hiring telecommuters, here are important facts to help decide if it’s the right move.

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In 2019, 62% of businesses already had a partial or full remote workforce, according to a survey, by OWL Labs, of employees between ages 22 and 65. Often referred to as telecommuting, remote work will continue to grow, especially as COVID-19 has forced employers in this direction in 2020. As companies and employees discover the benefits of remote work, this remote hiring trend is not unfounded—and will continue well into the future.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

But will telecommuting work in every industry? Global Workplace Analytics’ survey shows a breakdown of work-from-home employees by major industries. Post-COVID-19, many employers and their employees in these industries will have come to terms with the realities of remote work. 

Here are five noteworthy facts that every employer should know when considering hiring in-house or remote team members.

1. Remote work improves business continuity

There’s never been a better time to try a new remote workforce. COVID-19 has made the perfect case for why: Business continuity. Outside of essential services, the survival of most businesses has become fully dependent on having remote workers. Going forward, your company will be faced with making some decisions about keeping at least some employees remote to reduce the risks of disruption in the future. It’s for this reason, and others, that by 2028, it’s estimated that 73% of all departments will have remote workers, according to a 2019 study. Thanks to the pandemic, 62% of organizations are shifting more jobs to remote work.

2. Remote work lowers operating costs

The financial impact and benefits are always top-of-mind for most companies. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that for each half-time remote worker, employers can save more than $11,000 per year. Hiring remote workers reduces your computer, phone, electricity, heating, and office lease, furniture, insurance, and maintenance costs. Further, well over half of the businesses surveyed say that these capital and operating cost savings have helped them to manage risk and consolidate their portfolio.

3. Remote work helps attract and retain talent

The days of fancy titles and offices are, for most employees, no longer a motivator. In fact, 80% of U.S. workers say they’d pass on an opportunity that didn’t offer some form of flexible working arrangement. Almost 80% of respondents in In Crain’s Future of Work survey cited flexible schedules and telecommuting as the most effective non-monetary way to retain employees. Remote work arrangements are particularly attractive to the 84% of millennials, who are already experiencing burnout.

4. Remote work improves productivity and work quality

Productivity is a big concern for many employers. There’s always a concern from managers that remote workers won’t work as hard if they’re not in the office being monitored and managed. A 2018 Flexjobs survey reported that 65% of remote employees say they find themselves to be more productive working from home than in a traditional office setting. Why? 

  • Fewer interruptions
  • Less stress and time due to commutes
  • Less stress from office politics
  • A more comfortable working environment  

Remote employees are more apt to be engaged in work activities when they are comfortable. Research by Gallup found that “optimal engagement… takes place when employees spend 60% to 80% of their time working off-site—or three to four days in a five-day workweek.”

5. Remote work helps reduce environmental effects

As companies struggle to find ways to become more aware of their environmental impacts and try to reduce their carbon footprints, hiring a remote workforce may hold some of the answers. Allowing employees to work from home reduces traffic congestion, pollution from vehicles and air travel, and wear and tear on infrastructure. The “2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report found, “telecommuters reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking over 600,000 cars off the road for a year.” The reduction in pollution also ensures your company plays its part in having a positive impact on people, pets, wildlife, and other living organisms.

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