A flexible work life and the option to work remotely have long been a top priority for job seekers, but in these pandemic-ridden days, going to the office is, for the majority, a total dealbreaker.
In the past year, 54% of recruiters have experienced candidates declining an interview or job offer due to a lack of flexibility and remote work options, according to a new report from Jobvite. Additionally, the study found that 57% think that the lack of work-from-home policies makes it more challenging to attract candidates, and 60% believe organizations will lose employees if they don’t bring in remote work options.
One of the reasons that workers want remote flexibility is because it saves them money. They don’t have to shell out money on train fare or gas, nor are they required to buy lunch out if they forget to bring in their lunch or don’t have the time to prepare it in advance.
But remote work doesn’t just help employees save, it helps employers trim down numerous costs.
“Many organizations have found that adopting remote work for part or all of their work force can have a significant benefit for cutting costs,” said Anita Williams Woolley, associate professor of organizational behavior and theory at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business. “There are, of course, the obvious savings associated with less rent or office supplies, and associated costs of maintenance, utilities, etc. But there are a number of other efficiencies that organizations often find as well.”
“Organizations that adopt the competency to work effectively while remote find that a lot of the meetings and events that employees must travel for and conduct in person can also be conducted remotely,” Woolley said. “Many meetings, seminars, training sessions, etc. that previously would have involved employees traveling to another location, with transportation and lodging expenses, along with larger dinners or events that might be planned alongside multi-day meetings, are happening a lot less resulting in substantial savings.”
Water, Coffee and Other Onsite ‘Perks’
“Many leaders have explained that they want employees back in the office so that they can have more of the ‘water cooler’ conversations that lead to new ideas and innovation,” Woolley said. “But one thing that sometimes is not considered is the fact that water coolers (and free coffee and other perks) cost money, not only to purchase the items themselves but for the staff involved in ordering, stocking, monitoring and cleaning up to support the availability of these items. Not to mention some of the environmental consequences that some argue result from the packaging, transportation and disposal associated with many of these refreshments.”
“One way that companies save money by offering their employees work from home opportunities is they will greatly decrease their turnover rates,” said Matthew Robbs, founder of Smart Saving Advice. “Giving employees flexibility with their location and even specific hours will help to keep them happier and lower the turnover rate of a company. The down time and money needed to retrain new employees is significant, so reducing these costs by keeping current employees happier with increased flexibility is a great benefit.”
“An additional benefit to remote work that can be difficult to recognize or quantify immediately is the higher productivity of many employees who work from home,” Woolley said. “First there is the time gained on a daily basis from not commuting to and from work, in addition to not needing to leave work to deal with various home and family logistics. In addition, remote workers are less likely to take a sick day because of the flexibility of managing their own or family members’ mild illnesses while working from home, particularly if work hours are also flexible.”
Remote Work Has Clear Savings Value — But It Has Its Own Expenses
Remote work saves money for both employers and employees, and with the growing accessibility of robust Wi-Fi and communications platforms like Slack, the need to be in a physical workplace is becoming obsolete. Still, going remote requires effort and its own flavor of financial investment.
“Remote work also demands organizations to change a number of other things about how they operate,” Woolley said. “While they may not have the expenses of holding events or paying for travel, it is still important to very intentionally develop relationships, provide mentoring and develop organizational culture.
“A growing number of options and platforms are becoming available for carrying out these activities in a remote environment, but organizations are going to have to be creative and develop these capabilities to continue to be a vibrant community that attracts the best talent,” Woolley continued. “So while there may not be a physical water cooler to gather around, there are certainly virtual alternatives, and the best organizations are going to be making use of them.”
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