As the workforce is shifting toward striking a balance between personal and professional lives, the concept of workplace is shifting from a brick-and-mortar office to a more virtual environment. The reason this is so popular? People are increasingly more interested in having control over how, when, or where they work from. According to the latest New Way to Work Index report from Unify, 43% of employees would choose flexible working over a pay raise, reflecting just how much importance they attach to workplace flexibility.
Smart companies undertand this and understand the importance of a happy, motivated, productive workforce, so they are adapting to support remote and flex working arrangements. Earlier this year, Flex Jobs released a list of top 100 companies that are offering remote jobs and it’s no surprise to see companies like Xerox, Dell, and American Express featured among the top five brands that are embracing this new work culture.
So why are these companies warming up to the idea of remote jobs? How do they stand to benefit from this set-up? Let’s take a look at three major benefits that brands are likely to draw from adopting a flexible working environment.
It’s no secret that a happy employee is a more productive one, too. Flexible working hours give employees the freedom to plan their own schedules. Since there are fewer chances of employers breathing down their necks, it gives them a sense of ownership of the job they have at hand. As a result, they are generally not only more creative, but also more productive.
Another reason this works is that the traditional office environment is chock full of distractions. Whether it’s the coffee station, cubicle drive-bys, the never ending cycle of unnecessary meetings, or noisy co-workers, there are all too many things to keep a person off course and less than efficient. Remote working environments allow people to dig into the work at hand in relative quiet and without interruption or distraction. And that? A big score in the producitivity column.
Talents from across the world
With flexible working modules, geographical boundaries do not matter when it comes to hiring the right candidate. Companies can easily stretch their talent pool across the world and hire the person who’s the best fit for the job without having to worry about the location. Also having employees working across different time zones means 24-hours are utilized optimally.
Reduced infrastructure costs
Remote working can cut down significant infrastructure costs due to the rise of innovations like co-working spaces, increased connectivity, hot-desking, and third spaces, which has made communicating virtually a breeze. Supported by technologies such as unified communications, cloud collaborationm and video conferencing, companies can now remain connected with their remote employees very easily, with little impact on team spirit and the ability to gather and collaborate as often as needed.
Here’s some interesting data from recent studies related to flexible working:
- 31% of full-time workers in the U.S. carry out most of their work from a remote location.
- 42% of employees working in cube/open office have their work-life flexibility managed by their employers.
- 59% of companies are offering some form of telecommuting benefits to their employees
- 96% of respondents are certain that traditional offices will cease to exist in the future.
- Popular forms of flexibility include control over taking breaks, time off for important family and personal needs, and flex time.
With the rise in interest in flexibility with regard to both time and location, employers and employees are hopefully getting closer to being on the same page. Employees are greatly in favor of remote and flexible work arrangements, and smart companies are discovering new ways to make this set-up work for them as well. From what the picture looks like now, both of them may be heading towards a win-win situation.
If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, this report from the Families and Work Institute, the 2014 National Study of Employers, is a great read.