Experts in virtual work space optimization, and friends of the industry, have taken notice – large, and highly respected corporations have walked the path of using virtual and remote teams. They’ve made the change for a variety of reasons, one of the most obvious and important reason being, the financial benefits.
What are some less obvious benefits to using virtual teams?
According to a recent article in Entrepreneur Magazine, increased productivity and higher employee retention rates top the list – followed by lower overhead and less employee absenteeism
Let’s take a closer look at each.
1. Increased Productivity
Consider the time we (as Americans) spend commuting daily, weekly and annually. I am often astounded, as I go through my time and expense reports, by how much time I spend, “just getting there.” Regular road warriors understand the value of getting things done on the fly, but it is not always an easy feat.
According to this WaPo article the average length of a one-way commute is 26 minutes (or 52 minutes per day.) It may not seem like much – until you consider the following statistic:
There were a little over 139 million workers commuting in the United States. At an average of 26 minutes each way to work, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, that materializes into a total of 1.8 trillion minutes, that Americans spent commuting annually. Or, if you prefer, call it 29.6 billion hours, 1.2 billion days, or a collective 3.4 million years.
The point, is that ample consideration needs to be given to the benefits of allowing employees to work where they are and there seems to be an overwhelming case for telecommuting to increase wide scale corporate productivity.
Another consideration, is whether specific tasks are best suited for enhanced supervision or for less or whether they are best accomplished without management oversight? The work virtual employees do – does have an impact on productivity levels. For employees who typically perform rote, repetitive tasks, productivity is 6-10% less than that of on-site employees.
2. Lower Overhead
If a typical business allowed employees to work from home just half the time, they would save, on average, $11,000 per year. Reduced overhead is an obvious cost-saving opportunity of allowing employees to work from home. The costs that can be reduced or avoided include mortgage or lease, utilities, janitorial services, office supplies, coffee and water expenses, office equipment, furniture and transit subsidies.
3. Higher Employee Retention Rates
“not everyone wants work from home, but employees who do report higher job satisfaction and company loyalty than on-site workers. This reduces attrition rates. According to a study by Staples Advantage, workers who were allowed to work from home reported much higher levels of job satisfaction and better work-life balance. Home workers reported 25% lower stress levels, 73% said they ate healthier working from home, 76% were more loyal to their company and 80% reported a better work-life balance. An analysis of over 500 telecommuting studies by Global Workplace Analytics found 36% of employees would choose the option to telecommute over getting a raise and 37% of technology professionals would even take a 10% pay cut if they could work from home. The cost savings are obvious, considering the average company will lose between $10,000 and $30,000 for each employee who quits.”
4. Fewer Missed Work Days
A study conducted and published by The Ohio State University sited that 80 percent of workers claim telecommuting allowed them to be more effective in mastering a work-life balance. The flexibility of telecommuting allows employees to take care of personal business without missing work. They can schedule work around their appointments or take care of emergencies without having to call in or miss the whole day. Sick days are also offset since employees are more likely to continue working from home while sick versus missing a day in the traditional office. Seventy-eight percent of workers are calling in sick because of stress or personal issues. Having more control over work-life-balance contributes to a less stressful work environment. Employees who can telecommute report 25 percent lower stress levels.
All things considered, there is overwhelming good reason for leaders of innovative companies to consider transitioning virtual environments. Not only do they reap immediate financial benefits – they also increase workforce productivity and the overall job satisfaction of employees. With both happier employees and CEO approval, remote work is creating long term financial benefits for everyone involved!