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It Pays to Let Employees Work Remotely

Here's why

These days, it takes more than just a generous salary and benefits package to attract and retain good workers. Job seekers are looking for meaningful work that gives them the opportunity to grow professionally. But just as importantly, they want flexibility in their schedules. In fact, 90% of employees say more flexibility on the job will increase morale, according to the 2019 Staples Workplace Survey. And a big part of that flexibility is none other than working remotely.

Though 64% of workers do get the option to sometimes do their jobs remotely, only 34% work for employers with formal remote work policies in place. Furthermore, despite the ubiquity of work-from-home arrangements, a large number of companies are still holding firm on having employees report to an actual office full-time, while others are reneging on work-from-home agreements and forcing employees to revert to their former full-time onsite arrangements.

If your company has yet to adopt a remote work policy, it pays to put some thought into getting aboard that bandwagon. Otherwise, you might find that you end up losing out on key talent and regretting it after the fact.

Why let employees work remotely

Employers are often hesitant to let workers do their jobs remotely for fear that they’ll slack off once direct supervision is minimized. Furthermore, some managers worry that communication might suffer once workers are allowed to do their jobs from home, or that team collaboration might grow cumbersome.

If you don’t allow your employees to work remotely at all, however, you’ll risk losing them to a company that’s willing to be more flexible. Rather than run that risk, consider the benefits of remote work.

For one thing, you might save money on office space if employees can take turns coming into work and therefore share desks and resources. You might also find that your employees are more available to you once given the option to work remotely. Think about the amount of time some of your workers waste commuting. If they were to work from home instead, they might give some of that time back to you.

Furthermore, in some cases, working remotely can lend to improved productivity. It’s no secret that office environments can lend to distractions, whereas disciplined folks who work from home get the benefit of a quiet, chatter-free environment.

And don’t forget the morale factor. When employees feel that they’re being treated with respect and given leeway, their performance tends to improve.

Finally, there’s loyalty to consider. In today’s healthy job market, it’s easy enough for workers to jump ship. But if your employees get enough flexibility, that alone might motivate them to stay where they are, even if it means giving up a higher salary.

Like it or not, remote work arrangements are growing increasingly popular, and not adopting a policy of your own could cause your business to lose out in more ways than one. Remember, you don’t have to dive in full-force. You can start by letting proven employees work remotely part of the time, and see how that goes. The key is to show that you’re willing to be somewhat flexible on the scheduling front so that workers don’t start running in search of more leeway elsewhere.

This article by Maurie Backman (TMFBookNerd) was published on February 24, 2019 on The Motley Fool
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