We recently did a survey on what non-financial perks drive employee satisfaction the most, and there was a clear winner: work-from-home policies come out on top.
When you look at stats on work-from-home policies, you’ll see rapid change in the past ten years. Why? Simply because technology has made it possible for distributed teams to work together seamlessly. This is a boon for multi-nationals, as “virtual meetings” can incorporate staff from Miami to Hong Kong, but it also opens the door to more workers being able to enjoy flexible work arrangements.
Here at ACCUR, we have long been big believers in the power of a distributed workforce and a flexible work setup for our employees. Through such policies, we are able to achieve both our business goals of having global reach in a number of cities all over the world. At the same time, we know that having such a policy allows us to retain top quality talent, as the flexibility we offer is hard to match elsewhere.
Gallup’s recent “State of the American Workplace” poll found that 43 percent of employees reported working remotely in 2016, up from 39 percent in 2012. Major companies such as American Express, Aetna, Dell and Github utilize work-from-home policies throughout their organizations.
At the same time, “work-from-home” is not without controversy. Yahoo! made news recently when it “recalled” all of its remote workers. Some executives believe that in order to compete with the most innovative small companies, they need to cultivate a tight-knit office environment. But considering this option’s popularity among our survey respondents, some version of it is worth considering in many organizations.
The rationale for work-from-home policies
If you currently lack a work-from-home policy, why would you want to consider one? The main reason is detailed in our recent survey: it’s easier to enhance employee satisfaction, and thus retention, through this popular policy. But there are other benefits to consider: besides generally supporting employee happiness, it can be incentive to stay through life changes like having and raising kids. Studies find that remote workers can be more productive in many cases. Finally, you can realize a cost savings on office space.
Types of Flexible Work Arrangements
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to flexible and remote work arrangements. Some options include:
- Full-time work-from-home: in this arrangement, the employee works wholly remotely, and provides his or her own office space. Meetings are virtual and held using teleconferencing software like GoToMeeting, Slack or Zoom.
- Split time in office and home office: This arrangement can offer the most flexibility for employers. Employees show up at the office during certain hours or days, and other times work from home. This can be structured or unstructured, depending on organizational needs.
- Coworking space: Some companies are taking advantage of the proliferation of coworking spaces like WeWork to create a distributed workforce. This can be a cost-effective ways of creating “hubs” or satellite offices where certain workers can interact face-to-face.
Important considerations for remote work arrangements
Generally speaking, employers find that offering a work-from-home option actually increases productivity. That said, remote workforces are most efficient when certain measures are put in place:
- Regular check-ins and communications: platforms like Slack enhance a company’s sense of connectivity among distributed users.
- A method of tracking projects and progress: you’ll want to find a way to harvest data on how your remote workers are spending time and whether it’s creating results for the company.
- HR and IT policies: it’s important to create policies that take this new arrangement into account, including regarding equipment usage and sick time, time off and other key considerations around HR and IT.
There’s no doubt that offering employee’s flexible work arrangement can be a massive asset their satisfaction, to cultivating a family-friendly image, and ultimately to building up the bottom line. Stay tuned for more upcoming article on enhancing employee satisfaction and retention, and be sure to check out some of our other polls of a database of thousands of workers.