Written by: Susan Melony
The world shifted quickly and unexpectedly to remote work in 2020. It was a sudden shift, and it led to a lot of issues for businesses.
Businesses were starting at different points as well. For example, some companies were much farther along with the management of remote work and cloud readiness than others.
IT professionals had to deal with new security issues, how to implement technology to facilitate the best possible remote work outcomes, and device management. They had to rethink their cloud infrastructure and recognize their shortcomings in enabling remote work solutions.
Now, we’re all more experienced when it comes to remote work.
Employers understand, for example, the different cybersecurity risks that come with having your employees work from anywhere and they’ve taken steps to address those challenges like the implementation of IAM solutions and zero-trust architecture.
We once again see an uptick in COVID cases, so in addition to the business case for keeping employees remote, we might have a health case for it as well.
With that in mind, if you’re still weighing what’s right for your business, the following are specific reasons you might consider making remote work something permanent.
You’ll Be Able to Tap Into a Larger Pool of Talent
One of the most considerable headwinds that businesses in all industries face is a talent shortage.
They are having difficulty hiring and retaining employees. Employees, since the pandemic, have been willing to leave their jobs more so maybe than ever before.
Even though unemployment levels are high, employees are opting to take their time finding a new job.
Plus, many employers, even before the pandemic couldn’t find the skilled workers they needed, particularly in technology.
When you have a workforce that’s entirely remote or primarily remote, it opens up your talent pool. You’re not restricted by geographical boundaries when it comes to hiring, so you might have access to some of the best and the brightest.
Your Business Will Be More Agile
When you move to a model of permanent remote work, you’re going to be more prepared for different situations that can happen not just in your business but that the world can throw at you.
The pandemic taught us that something massively unexpected could come at any time and change the world.
With a primarily remote workforce, you’re going to be able to pivot as you need to, even if you’re facing a disaster or crisis.
You’ll already have the necessary tools and policies in place.
Also, let’s say there’s an economic downturn, but your employees are working solely or primarily from home. You’re not going to have as many fears about how you’ll stay afloat, making rent payments and other expenses that you can eliminate in a remote environment. That again will increase your overall agility.
You’ll Probably Save Money
You need to invest some money initially into making remote work permanent. For example, you’re going to have to make sure that your employees have access to the tools and technology they need to do their jobs.
Overall, however, you are going to save money. You’re going to save on overhead, and you’re also going to find cost-savings in other areas.
For example, studies have shown remote workers take fewer sick days and have less absenteeism overall.
When cold and flu season arrives, even outside of the pandemic, you probably see a big decline in employee productivity, and many people are likely taking sick days. When employees work from home, they’re exposed to fewer germs.
Remote work has also been shown to improve employee retention, and it’s one of the most effective non-monetary tools you have in your arsenal to keep employees on board. As you well know, losing an employee and then replacing them is expensive. If you have a high turnover, it can cost you up to 16% of an employee's salary to replace them.
You’ll Start to Focus on Results
There’s a big worry among employers that if their employees are working remotely, they will not be as engaged or productive. If you do find that’s happening in your business, there are some things to note.
First, is there something you could be doing differently? For example, are you setting and managing expectations and providing feedback? Should you be engaging your employees differently? Are they having productivity issues because you aren’t outlining what you need from them?
Most employers don’t find productivity issues occur with remote workers as long as they’re well-managed.
The big benefit of a long-term remote arrangement is also that you can stop worrying so much about day-to-day things that don’t matter and think more about results. As long as remote employees are achieving, it doesn’t matter how they’re getting to that point.
Productivity can also be increased because remote work can reduce distractions. For example, your employees don’t have to worry about traffic or what happens if their transportation isn’t reliable.
You’ll Be Ahead of the Game
It’s hard to deny that remote work, whenever possible, is the future. The pandemic might have accelerated the trend, but when workers can stay home, most employers find it’s beneficial for them to do so. Stay competitive by making your remote work options permanent.
Remote Work is More Environmentally Friendly
Finally, you want a business that operates responsibly and you want to show the world what your values are. If sustainability and reducing your environmental impact are essential in your business, remote work can help you.
Your employees are going to be commuting less, and that can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.
You might also have fewer employees traveling for work by plane because they can attend certain meetings and events virtually.
One study found that if all the employees who could and wanted to telecommute half the time actually did it, it would be equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road as far as greenhouse gas reduction.
"Susan is an avid writer, traveler, and overall enthusiast."