Work from home (WFH) has always been a disputed concept in organizations globally. There have been companies endorsing it, and have had a combination work week for employees, with a few days onsite, and offsite options. Then there are global multi-nationals with teams all over the world, who interact remotely, and have the choice of working from anywhere. Closer to the concept, but not completely similar are the outsourcing operations, and freelancers; the former do not strictly work from home, but for the client companies, they are remote workers; whereas the latter do work from home and are completely self-disciplined. Covid-19 catastrophe had necessitated work from home practice for everyone, as there was no choice. The concept was put to test, trainings imparted, technologies put in place and not surprisingly, it seems to have caught on really well. A lot has been said about how employees benefit by working from home. It is important to also understand how work from home adds value to businesses. Let us take a bird’s eye view of its benefits to businesses:
The biggest benefit for businesses of allowing employees to work from home is financial. It helps to curtail direct costs, since overhead expenses like facility upkeep, utility bills; electricity, water, telecom and transport, in some cases, furniture, wear and tear of equipment, office supplies, onsite management, refreshments, are not incurred. Indirect costs like depreciation of assets, also improve, since the assets are not being used, if already in place.
Working from home or virtual office is also a suitable option for small businesses, and startups who want to forego on the hassle of renting out an office, and avoiding everything that goes with it. During recent times, the companies observed drastic cost reduction when they went to hire freelancers to perform their business activities. Specially when there is no fixed cost involved with this approach.
Employees working from home put in longer hours, burning mid-night oil, since they are in familiar surroundings. They are more agile, effective, efficient, and productive. They also save time by not socializing with their colleagues and not taking longer lunch, coffee, and smoke breaks. This helps businesses to get more, better quality work done.
HIGHER MOTIVATION LEVELS
Staff with flexible work conditions and hours are generally happier and positive. They feel relaxed being in their comfort zone, avoiding the commute, pollution, wasting time, and eating out in some cases. The high spirits reflect on the quality of their work, adding to the businesses’ bottom line. With a more motivated workforce, businesses wind up getting more work for less money.
Flexible schedules, the trust placed in the staff, can enhance their job satisfaction and increase their loyalty, leading to less tardiness, reduced absenteeism, and lower attrition. Employees with greater experience and knowledge about their role, and the overall business, are an asset worth retaining. This also means less effort and money spent on replacements recruitment.
Working offsite can feel like a break from the office, even though the employees are still working. They feel more energized and are able to spend more time with their family. Therefore, feel less need to take as much annual leave and holidays as they do when they attend office in person. This is a benefit to the businesses although it is still their duty as employers to ensure staff take their due holidays.
LARGER TALENT POOL
When companies have the freedom to hire outside of the hub of corporate headquarters; the talent pool grows and there is diversity, and more variety. Better and smarter workers mean enhanced utilization and productivity, and innovative thinking.
BETTER GLOBAL COVERAGE
With employees spread out all over the region or even the globe, organizations are able to operate in more time zones and different weekends; meaning there really are more hours in the day. By hiring staff in the UAE, a New York company can operate 24 x 7 without anyone working overtime. This has been the concept behind outsourcing operations, off-shoring especially.
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY CHAMPIONS
Since there is no commute involved for staff, this helps protect the environment due to reduced automobile emissions. Also, since the entire operation is not live in one place with full technological support, low energy usage is beneficial. The heat expulsion from computers, phones, servers, air conditioning, is less. These environmental friendly factors impact on our surroundings. A better work-life balance improves the overall health and well-being of the employees.
By hiring remote employees, organizations can stay competitive by having a foothold in foreign markets by employing local talent. Cost savings, enhanced productivity, global coverage, and a diverse workforce, makes remote work one of the best business models a company can implement.
The Work from Home trend has also helped many talented individuals to find freelance jobs or remote work in. Though, there are some disadvantages associated with work from home for businesses as well as for employees. We can discuss these in a series of forthcoming articles.