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Top three business benefits of remote work

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/bikeriderlondon)

As flexible work and distributed workers become more commonplace, employees increasingly expect their tools and workplace policies to enable them to work remotely. In fact, according to a survey from the International Workplace Group, 74 per cent of respondents reported that flexible work has become the “new normal.” In another study conducted by Fuze, 87 per cent of respondents cited the ability to work flexibly as a critical component of work-life balance. Remote work not only enables a greater sense of worker flexibility, but it has the power to greatly improve engagement and connection across the business if the proper collaboration and communication tools are put in place.

Workers aren’t the only group realising the benefits of remote work. Business leaders are witnessing the positive impact of remote work on their bottom-line. From lowering overhead costs and increasing workforce productivity to helping to attract and retain talent, remote work empowers businesses to prepare for the next wave of the digital economy.

Attracting & retaining talent

Attracting and retaining the right workers for the job is one of the most daunting challenges facing businesses in today’s ever-evolving economy. The U.S. Bureau of Labour and Statistics found that three and a half million workers voluntarily left their job each month in 2019. This has a costly impact. According to a report from Deloitte, the average cost to onboard a new employee is $4,000. High turnover is not only expensive, but it can also have a detrimental effect on company morale and worker performance.

Providing the right tools and work policies can cut onboarding costs and mitigate employee turnover by enabling both distributed and remote workers the flexibility to work when and where they are most productive while still providing a sense of connection to the rest of the organisation. Telecommuting is now an attractive perk among all generations, not just millennials -- 54 per cent of workers surveyed in a recent study said they would move to another company for a “work from anywhere” culture. Yet, despite this collective desire among workers for remote work options, 59 per cent of workers recently cited that they are not satisfied with the collaboration tools that they are provided with to feel connected and effective across the business. Embracing remote work with the right tools and policies can expand a company’s pool of job applicants, attracting workers with the right talent and culture fit who live outside of the typical commuting distance.

Lowering operating costs

Another key benefit of telecommuting is that it can significantly reduce operating costs. Rented office space still remains one of the largest fixed operating costs a business can have. Downsizing physical space and developing policies for employees to work remotely can save money. For example, American Express reported that it saved $10 to15 million annually due to its remote work policy, while increasing overall business output by 43 per cent.

Remote work policies reduce costs further by cutting down on business travel. Instead of racking up pricey travel or commuting expenses, integrated communications tools allow remote employees to collaborate with their fellow colleagues just as effectively as if they were there in-person.

Enhancing productivity

One of the other business advantages of remote work is that it enhances worker productivity, thus improving business outcomes. Research has consistently shown that workers are more productive when they have fewer distractions and spend less time commuting so they can focus more time on driving the business forward.

Companies that have embraced workplace flexibility are able to drive greater employee engagement, productivity, and retention. According to a study from CoSo Cloud, workers reported being 77 per cent more productive when working outside of the office. In that same study, 52 per cent of employees said they are less likely to take time off when working remotely and 42 per cent said they feel just as engaged and connected with their fellow colleagues as when they are working on-site. Ten per cent of respondents said they feel even more connected when they work remotely.  

In addition to directly boosting productivity and morale, remote work is tied to a broader trend among workers who are expecting greater purpose and satisfaction in their careers. In a recent poll of millennial workers, 57 per cent stated that their most important priority was to find a job that was enjoyable and meaningful to them personally.

Overall, thanks to the proliferation of 5G networks and cloud computing, working remotely is more efficient now than ever before. Businesses that make the proper investment in technology, such as cloud communications and collaboration tools that allow workers to stay engaged and connected regardless of their location, realise the best outcomes when rolling out a remote work policy. In addition, companies that have the right policies and provide the right tools breakdown the friction that exists between working in the office and working remotely.

Telecommuting and remote work is more than just an expected benefit for employees. Flexible work is a proven driver of business growth, offering companies benefits that directly impact the bottom-line. Looking ahead to the future, remote and distributed work strategies will continue to become more ingrained in our modern business culture and redefine the way we work.

Eric Hanson, Marketing Chief, Fuze

Eric Hanson is the vice president of market intelligence at Fuze.