Working from home has brought a positive and much-needed change to both the employers and the employees. In this day, more and more people are looking at “work” as something you do – not somewhere you go to. Companies that are broadminded and proactive have realized that virtual workforces have a lot of potential to transform their businesses. As many multinational organizations continue to expand their operations across the world, the importance of remote employees to business success has never been higher.
In Fortune Magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work for, at least 80 percent of these companies have introduced a virtual workforce. This number is only expected to rise as we continue to advance in technology. According to a government report issued last year, about 47 percent of all government employees are qualified for virtualization. This number represents more than a million people!
If your company doesn’t have a virtualization policy and you are considering introducing it, here are some important reasons why a virtual workforce is beneficial to both the employee and the employer.
1. Virtualization cuts costs for employers – but not salaries for the workforce
If your employees work from their homes, they will not need offices – this will significantly reduce your overhead costs. Your company’s expenses on rent, electricity, insurance, water, and other overheads connected to the property will be greatly reduced. You will also reduce other costs like lunch expenses. However, your workers’ wages will remain the same. When an employee is allowed to work from home, it is estimated that the company saves around $11,000 every year, on one employee alone! What does this mean for the company? More profits!
2. Virtualization eliminates wasted time
Of course, there are some people who are already working while on their way to work. But did you know that most Americans spend an average of one hour daily sitting in traffic while going to work and another hour when going home from work? If you multiply this time by the number of people who go to work each day, you will find out that there is a lot of wasted time that could do great things if put into good use. Working virtually ensures that you save all this time and do the important things with it.
3. Remote workers endure less stress and are more productive
The greatest fallacy about working virtually is that employees will slack off big time once they are out of sight of their bosses. However, nothing could be further from the truth. All workers (both in-office workers and virtual workers) agree that remote workers are less stressed, drive less, sleep more, spend more time with their families – hence get more done. Workers who are less stressed are more motivated and their productivity is higher. In fact, a recent study by Stanford University shows that the productivity of employees increased by 13 percent when working remotely. More productivity and less stress for workers mean a win-win for both parties.
4. Absenteeism can be a good thing
Compared to other industrialized countries, Americans work for longer hours. However, they don’t get more done than their counterparts in other countries. There is a culture referred to as ‘presenteeism’ in some workplaces. This is the culture where one is regarded as a good and hard-working employee if he or she arrives early in the office and leaves late. It is time to get rid of this notion. ‘Absent’ or remote working employees can be judged on the amount and the quality of work they do as opposed to how much time they have spent in the office. This arrangement is good for everyone as workers will be able to work from their homes and the employer will be able to pay for actual work that is accomplished.
5. Virtualization is eco-friendly
The bulk of workers in America drive to and from their workplaces every day. We all know that cars produce unwanted gases, which lead to environmental pollution and degradation. According to a recent study carried out by the Consumer Electronics Association virtualization saves energy that can power about one million homes for a whole year, in the United States! Employees working from home drive less and hence they (and their employers) are able to reduce the amount of carbon emitted to the environment.
6. It is cost-effective
It is not only employers who benefit financially when workers are allowed to work from home. Yes, the company will save on overhead costs, but the employees also stand to gain a lot financially from this arrangement. Workers will be able to save on commuting or fuel costs, lunch money, having to buy office clothing, and other expenses associated with working in the office. In fact, a study carried out by the Telework Research Network found out that an employee who works remotely for two days a week saves an average of $3,800 annually.
7. Virtualization reduces turn over
When in-office workers get sick of spending hours in traffic jams trying to get to the office on time, they may decide to call in sick or find another excuse not to go to work. These unhappy workers could decide to look for a job that allows them to work virtually and of course, if they find it, they will quit from your company. Lost productivity can cost you a lot of money – and this figure may be higher when the employee actually quits. 73 percent of workers who are allowed to work remotely are supposedly much happier with their jobs; as compared to in-office workers, (64% are happy). Of course, when an employee is happy with his or her job, they are more likely to stay longer in their position, which will in due course save the company thousands of dollars.
More and more companies are noticing the numerous benefits of virtualization and they are allowing their workforce to work remotely. Virtualization not only strengthens a company financially, it also improves the environment, and creates a more productive, unified, – and more significantly – happy staff.