Until recently, remote jobs were a novelty in industries outside of technology. Most of my clients resisted the idea of hiring anyone who couldn’t show up each day at the office. Today, many of those same leaders are asking: “Why do we have these offices?”
Before COVID-19 forced more companies to go fully remote, Twenty-six million Americans — approximately 16% of the US workforce — and more than two-thirds of global employees worked remotely in some fashion each week.
While not every job can be done remotely and it’s challenging for some teams to collaborate at a distance, we are seeing that it is possible to achieve great things even when we are not working together in the same physical space on a daily basis.
Working remotely is new for many of us and we are only beginning to understand how to build the culture, processes, and practices that support high-performing teams whose members effectively collaborate across geographic distance and diverse time zones.
But in case you still see the “remote thing” as a temporary state of affairs, or a fad, here are four compelling data points about remote working to consider:
It’s less costly. According to the PGi 2019 report, organizations save on average $10,000 per year for real estate savings per one full-time employee. And employees save on average $4,000 per year, mostly in gas, car upkeep, and parking costs.
It helps you access and retain top talent. Remote work enables you to go from local job markets to global talent pools. That perfect candidate for the open position in your company who doesn’t want to move due to a spouse’s job or schools for their kids can now say, “yes” to working for you. And, you are more likely to hold onto the great people you’ve recruited. Gartner estimates that organizations that support a “choose-your-own-work-style” culture can boost employee retention rates by more than 10%.
It’s better for the planet. According to Global Workforce Analytics data, if people who had remote work-compatible jobs worked remotely half of the time, it would lead to a 54 million ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. I’m just saying people!
People are more productive if set up for success. The open office floor plan that became so iconic over the past 50 years has proven to be a source of distraction, not to mention a health risk. Remote workers report greater productivity and focus when they are able to set their own schedules and control their work environments.
Even if you accept the benefits of remote work and feel more open to the new reality of distributed teams, what about workplace culture? Is it possible to foster a sense of unity and commitment to shared values among people who are not meeting and collaborating in person every day? I’ll explore these questions more deeply in the next blog.
In the meantime, what have you experienced as the challenges and benefits of working in a distributed team?
Image Credit: Chris Montgomery on Unsplash