Today it’s common knowledge that a distributed work force leads to a happier and more productive work force and environment. Happier employees are more likely to be dedicated to their employers and less likely to quit. Employers with distributed work force programs in place are more productive. High quality employees are looking for employers that have a work from home policy for a better work life balance. It indicates a forward thinking organization that will be able to use technology to gain or sustain a competitive advantage.
- 20%–25% of the U.S. workforce now teleworks with some frequency
- Regular work-at-home grew by 103% between 2005 and 2015 among those not self-employed
Here are five reasons we suggest adapting a work from home or distributed work force policy.
Productivity – People can do more when they work from home. It cuts down on water cooler conversations and unproductive, yet mandatory, staff meetings. Most importantly it cuts down on the need to commute, allowing employees to dedicate a portion of that time to work, further increasing productivity.
Liability – In today’s environment, it can be a liability to have personnel on site. Rising rates of terror attacks and force majeure make it less frustrating for employees to travel at work and feel safe. It is a shame we have to think this way but in today’s day it is a reality.
Cost – From a total cost of ownership perspective, cloud based technologies are less costly. For example, the price of a 50 seat telephone system from a manufacturer like Cisco, ShoreTel, Mitel, etc. is going to be north of $40-50k. You’ll also need a maintenance contract and PRIs or SIP trunks adding on another $30k at least, over three years. That’s $80k, not including any staff hours for configuration and implementation, as opposed to $45k for a brand new Gartner Magic Quadrant rated UCaaS system for three years.
Continuity – In the past, if you lost power to your office, your whole company was down. Then folks started using data centers which led to having those backed up in the cloud. This increased their redundancy and reliability.
Today many functions and applications are hosted and made available in this manner. This frees up employees to work from anywhere they have a solid internet connection. That means their data is sent, away from their device, to be stored, accessed, and later manipulated by themselves or others in the organization or new employees that may have to start from where a past employee left off.
Work Life Balance – We live in a very competitive, high paced environment. Balancing life may include children, school, or both, and more. Balancing it all requires the skills of a circus juggler, after all, there’s only 24 hors in a day. The key is, how can we be more efficient with our 24 hours? If you’re an employer, why make a great employee spend an extra two hours out of the day traveling to and from work. It must have an impact on performance and happiness. Don’t you want to work with happy people if you can?
In Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Ted Talk “Can we have it all?”, exploring work life balance she states:
“The companies that win awards for workplace flexibility in the United States include some of our most successful corporations, and a 2008 national study on the changing workforce showed that employees in flexible and effective workplaces are more engaged with their work, they’re more satisfied and more loyal, they have lower levels of stress and higher levels of mental health. And a 2012 study of employers showed that deep, flexible practices actually lowered operating costs and increased adaptability in a global service economy.”
Still unsure about distributed work force and its effect on your bottom line? Inc. Magazine’s Samuel Quicy quoted a study in his 2015 article Examining the Relationship Between Workplace Satisfaction and Productivity, “conducted by economists at the University of Warwick–found that happiness leads to a 12 percent increase in productivity. It also found that unhappy workers are 10 percent less productive than content employees.” That’s a 22% delta in productivity… for an organization of 100 that’s getting 22 more employees. Now that’s a bump in productivity any business can appreciate.
There is, however, a very good reason why you should not always work from home… Here’s a funny video that shows us why… Enjoy!