These days it seems as though companies are all trying to “out cool” each other and compete for the title of Best Place to Work. Taking their cues from Google, it’s now quite common for companies — especially tech companies — to offer their employees perks like gyms, game rooms, lunches, coffee baristas, and more. Many companies are moving from old musty buildings to brand new buildings with glass walls, bright colors, games, and even built-in beer taps.
I’ve worked in a few places like this, and I even worked as a recruiter at one. People who came in for interviews saw the ping pong table and arcade games and were instantly sold on the company culture. “This must be a super fun place to work,” they would say. And it mostly was, although that had much more to do with the people and the environment created by management than the games, which mostly collected dust.
Employees love bells and whistles. We love bagels with assortments of cream cheeses, and we get excited about wearing jeans to work. We love clubs and games and feeling like we’re part of a hip company culture. Sure, all those things are great, but many people would happily do away with all of those things entirely and embrace the benefits of working from home instead.
Although many companies have gone entirely paperless, there is often still hesitation from employers when it comes to allowing employees to work outside of the office. Yet the benefits of working from home far outweigh the benefits of working in an office, both for employees and employers.
Benefits for Employees
- Greater Productivity. Remote employees can focus on getting the job done without office distractions. Research done by Gallup has consistently shown that remote employees are happier, satisfied, and more productive.
- More Money. Working from home saves employee’s money otherwise spent on gas, fancy work clothes, and fast food. Getting more work done can lead to greater commissions for commissioned employees.
- Health Benefits. Waking up, rushing around, and dodging traffic doesn’t make for a great start to the workday. Cutting out commuting cuts out stress and makes for happier employees. At home, an extra chunk of time can be spent doing refreshing things like taking a power nap, taking a quick walk out in the fresh air, doing some yoga stretches, etc.
- Work/Life Balance. Instead of taking PTO and rushing around between the office and the kids’ school, parents can take a quick break and pick up their kids from school and see them more often. These small things can make a world of difference for both parents and children in terms of happiness.
Benefits for Employers
- Greater Productivity. One of the main concerns’ employers have is that if they allow their employees to work remotely, employees will be less productive. This mindset has been proven wrong repeatedly. Studies consistently show that productivity increases when employees work from home.
- More Money. When employee productivity increases, so does company revenue. Allowing employees to work from home also cuts down on office costs for supplies such as coffee, paper towels, etc. Healthier employees also lead to lower health insurance costs.
- Fewer Employee Absences. When employees work from home, they are less likely to call in and take unscheduled paid time off. Rather than calling in sick, an employee can sit at their desk or even lie on their bed at home and work, rather than coming in and spreading germs around the office, subsequently causing more employees to call in.
- Less Turnover. Healthier employees with a greater work/life balance are more satisfied employees, who are much more likely to stay in their position.
If the idea of letting employees fly away from the nest is still a terrifying idea for employers, they can start by allowing their employees to work from home one day a week or a few days a week. Rather than worrying about giving up control, employers should worry about employees’ productivity and overall well-being, for the benefit of all parties involved. In today’s world, companies should adapt and allow employees to work remotely in order to continue to attract and retain top talent.