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Mar 12 2020

Remote Work: A Permanent Solution for Your Business?

There are tons of benefits to going remote for you, your employees, and the planet.

Maybe you are looking for a way to cut costs. Maybe a valuable employee has a long surgical recovery coming up and wants to spend some of that time working. Maybe a team member is moving out of state.

Or maybe there’s a global pandemic keeping everybody inside.

Whatever the reason, you may be considering a move to full- or part-time remote work for your business. And I am here to recommend that you do, if you can.

Here’s why you might consider telecommuting as an option all-year round and not just during voluntary quarantine for COVID-19.

Everyone saves money

It’s true; there will be a set of unique costs to having employees work from home. Professional/business tier plans for project management apps, conferencing software, and data storage are these businesses’ bread and butter. However, you are probably spending money on similar services already. Plus, business owners can save thousands on overhead including furniture, rent, utilities, in-house servers, phones, heating, and air conditioning

Some rough calculation shows that a 30 minute commute to work, via a post-2018 model car, might cost around $500 each year. That doesn’t even account for parking and maintenance. Childcare costs are giving rent a run for its money (so to speak), coming in at $11,322 a year in the state of Oregon alone. Taking those costs off of your employees’ plates is good for them. And unless you literally live alone at your office, it’s probably good for you too.

Everyone gets more done (yes, really)

Sounds weird, huh? Home is where your TV, dog, and laundry are. Wouldn’t one get sidetracked? Harvard Business Review reported on a study that compared the productivity of employees who volunteered to work from home with a control group. For this business, the remote employees got far more done than the people who kept going into the office every day.

The nature of all work is different, and not all employees flourish under the same conditions. Some employees may get distracted by the sound of others on conference calls, or the siren song of the vending machines downstairs. For people who have work that is intellectually demanding, or just requires focus, a little privacy could be a huge boon.

There’s a better employee pool

When you think about it, the reason many employees leave a job they like is because they can no longer be physically present in the office—maybe they have a baby or move to a different city. Letting people go either full or part-time remote means you can keep people on staff that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. And less turnover means what? Lower costs.

Say someone leaves for a different reason (they start their own business, they go back to school full time, etc.). What is stopping you from hiring an employee who lives literally anywhere else? You have a much better chance of finding someone who has the exact experience, education, and skills that you need to fill that person’s shoes. These people can be found through online services such as Flexjobs and even LinkedIn.

You’ll contribute to cleaner air

Think about how many cars will not be on the road anymore if you make this choice. According to the EPA, about half of carbon emissions from transport comes from personal vehicles. Global Workplace Analytics reports said that remote work has prevented 3.6 million tons of commuting-related greenhouse gasses in 2019. If you care about the environment and are unsure of how to contribute to its health, permitting remote work is a pretty darn good option.

When shouldn’t you go remote?

If you have a restaurant or retail space, that option might not be on the table. Going to a more e-commerce based model could help you keep fewer people on-site, and could also be a good way to ease the economic effects of a downturn (like we’re experiencing with COVID-19). However, that could be a much more complicated changeover than office-based work.

Another concern could be that employees won’t do their jobs if left to their own devices. Just like in any workplace, low morale can contribute to lower rates of productivity, and that can be harder to monitor when people are not in front of you. However, if your concerns are because you don’t trust your team, you may have problems beyond the scope of this blog.

Now that you’ve got the reasons why this is such a good long term idea, you’ll probably want a few tips on how to get started. You can begin by checking out one of our recent newsletters, and be sure to subscribe while you’re over there to get more of our pro-tips.

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