What if I told you that there is an easy solution for your company to not only increase the happiness of your employees but also potentially get better–and more efficient–work out of them? It seems like a win-win, doesn’t it?
From a leadership standpoint, any solution that has benefits like that would be a no-brainer. Yet when the words “working remotely” are uttered in a job interview, or even from an employee within the company, there are many managers that immediately shut the discussion down or brush it off as unimportant.
“We don’t offer that here. It’s not part of our company culture.”
“We’d rather you stay here so we know what work is being done.”
“It’s not fair to the other employees that have to be here.”
There’s an all-encompassing word to describe all of those statements above, though: excuses. Now obviously there are going to be certain jobs where working remotely simply isn’t going to happen; you can’t have someone running a machine in your manufacturing shop from his home (…yet). But with other positions within the company, it’s common misconceptions surrounding remote work that many employers are clinging to, and eventually that’s going to end up hurting them in the long run.
We’re currently experiencing a major mindset shift with how the younger workforce handles their employment. Not only are the younger generations more open than ever to the idea of a new job opportunity (60% said they would be in a recent Gallup poll)–in other words, not being fully committed to the company they’re currently working for–but they’re also more likely to switch jobs when a better opportunity comes around–three times more likely, in fact, as 21% of Millennials switched jobs in 2016 while just 7% of non-Millennials did so that same year.
So with the Millennial generation, the largest generation in the U.S. labor force, by the way, one out of every five of those workers switched jobs in one year.
One could make the argument that Millennials themselves are the ‘problem’ in this scenario, but let me tell you something that should be pretty obvious: Millennials aren’t going anywhere. In fact, by 2030, it’s expected that almost 75% of the workforce will be made up of this particular generation. So why not get ahead of the curve and try and better accommodate these individuals now, as opposed to five or ten years down the road when your company is really starving for good workers?
The ability to work remotely is one solution that not only keeps employees happier, but has also been shown to increase productivity. Think about this: say the guy in charge of marketing has a 45-minute drive to work. Back and forth, that’s an hour and a half in a car just to get work done in the office–the same work that can be done from a computer at home. Over the course of a week, that’s seven and a half hours (nearly a full eight-hour workday) that’s spent in a car.
It all becomes a snowball effect. The employee becomes more and more unhappy. He’s completely exhausted by the end of the week, which could end up affecting his time off on the weekend as well. And then it continues to build week after week, until he takes some of that limited vacation time that he has. But even then, he’s going to come back to a pile of work and the same repetitive, exhausting schedule.
The opportunity for an employee to work from home not only eliminates the black hole of time-consuming commutes, but also eliminates distractions. And don’t just take my hypothetical word for it: over 60% of managers recently surveyed said that they saw productivity increase among employees who worked remotely. Not to mention a lower overall amount of stress (82% saw a decrease), which can obviously affect employee morale, productivity, and many more things–not to mention be a leading contributor to looking for a new job.
Nearly seven in ten college graduates recently surveyed said that the ability to work remotely would greatly increase their interest in that particular job, and it could be the deciding factor between you hiring the next great employee for your company, or hiring another run-of-the-mill prospect that probably won’t be there longer than a year anyway.
As stated before, offering the ability to work remotely isn’t something that can be offered for every single job at a company, but to completely shut down the idea because of whatever reason you come up with that day definitely isn’t the best strategy for your company moving forward.
If you’re worried about an employee’s productivity decreasing, then hold him or her to a checklist of what’s to be completed. It’ll become apparent very quickly whether or not it’ll work for him or her. That’ll also increase the trust factor between you and the employee, as you’re essentially telling him or her, “I trust that you consistently think of what’s best for the company in all of your decisions, and this is just another example.”
A happy employee is win-win for both parties, and for the culture of the company as a whole. And if you’re not embracing new ideas to keep workers happy, then you can’t be too surprised when they go and do even better things for someone else.