In 2013, Yahoo made headlines by banning remote working arrangements. Yet giant Unilever allows more than 100,000 employees—nearly 60% of its workforce—to work from wherever they want.
No question, there are plenty of reasons to discourage a remote workforce. But if you’re in an industry where ambitious young talent is at a premium, here are five great reasons to let them—at least some of the time—work from home.
1. It’s what millennials want. Nearly half of millennials—loosely defined as people younger than 30—rank workplace flexibility as more important than what they’re paid. If they don’t get it from you, they might look to get it from your competition.
Does this mean you have to let them set their own hours and work in their pajamas? If it keeps them on the team without hurting productivity, why not?
2. It’s greener. Part of what millennials (and others) love about working from home is that it eliminates their commute. They save time, money and—if they don’t happen to live near public transportation—gasoline.
Considering that a 30-mile daily commute can create nearly 6000 lbs. of carbon emissions every year, you’re making a tangible contribution to a healthier environment when you let talent work from home.
3. It’s cheaper. If 25% of your workforce works from home on any given day, that’s 25% less space you have to rent, 25% fewer parking spots to pay for, 25% less coffee to buy …. You get the idea.
You probably own most of the technology that allows remote productivity already, and whatever hardware or software you might need to add costs pennies per employee per day.
4. It’s family-friendly. Not every new mom or dad is ready to come back to work full-time after 60 days. Why force them to choose between their kids and their jobs?
Will a mother with an infant on her hip be as productive as she was at the office? Probably not. But will the costs of hiring and training a replacement outweigh what you lose in productivity? Do you really want to establish on-site day care?
If you can handle the occasional conference call with a baby wailing in the background, you might be surprised how much work the new mom or dad can contribute during naptime.
5. It’s healthier. Some companies still consider it a badge of honor for employees to come to work when they’re sick. That “warrior mentality” isn’t just counter-productive—it’s downright dangerous. One sick worker in a close-packed office can knock an entire department out for days.
Encourage your talent to stay home, lay low and get better. And while they’re recuperating—but still contagious—have them work from home for everyone’s benefit.
Some employers fear that workers might not have the discipline or structure to work effectively from home—and they may have a point. It really depends on the people.
If you think your company could benefit from a remote workforce, a staffing agency like WunderLand will help you find the talent with the skills, training and temperament to make it happen from home.