1. Happier employees
In a 2019 study, OwlLabs found that “full-time remote workers say they’re happy in their job 22% more than people who never work remotely.”
We talked about 23 benefits for employees in this article: no commute, more time for friends and family, healthier breaks, less exposure to illness, fewer distractions, and more. If your employees capitalize on only a few of these great benefits, you will have happier and more productive workers. This trend has already started to play out as a result of COVID-19 as more and more companies have announced that they’ve become remote-first companies.
2. Better Employee Retention
Happier employees are more likely to stay with the company. In the same OwlLabs study, “Remote workers say they are likely to stay in their current job for the next 5 years 13% more than onsite workers.”
3. Lower (Or No) office space cost
As a fully remote company, you have no cost of office space – one of the top expenses for nearly every business. As a part-remote, part-office company, you may half have of your previous costs tied to office space. Removing office space is one of the easiest ways to increase profitability, and therefore, the health of the company.
4. Lower (or no) Office supply costs
On top of the cost of office space, utilities and office supplies go away. To be fair, employee reimbursements for home office WiFi, phones, desks, office chairs, and more will likely go up as a result. But undoubtedly, the savings are worth it.
5. Lower Salaries (Potentially)
Buffer, Nectafy, and other remote companies have implemented transparent salary calculators. One part of the formula is an adjustment for standard of living based on where each employee lives. An employee in San Francisco or New York might get paid a slightly higher salary than someone in rural Oklahoma. The idea is to be able to compete to attract good employees wherever they live. But a benefit on the flip side can occur if you were a company previously located in an expensive city. By going remote, you can attract talent from anywhere. That may bring down your average cost of salaries.
6. Increased Profitability
If your office space and utility expenses are gone, office supplies are reduced or removed, salaries are potentially lower over time, and productivity has a chance to go up… there is only one likely outcome: increased profitability.
7. ExpAnded Talent Pool
A company with a central office can hire within, at best, a 50 mile radius of the office. That limits your access to talent. When you start to hire anywhere in the country or the world, the quantity and quality of job applicants go up. The result over time is a more talented team, just dispersed.
8. More Diverse Team
This one is similar to the “expanded talent pool” benefit.
Here’s an excerpt from our article about the benefits from employees: I work for a company with people from Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Nebraska, South Carolina, Connecticut, New York, California, Texas, and Utah. I live in San Diego. At my previous job, I worked with 600 other people who lived in San Diego! With a remote team, I’ve learned a lot more about the country and world through my coworkers. And we all bring different perspectives.
10. A Focus on the right metrics
Without selecting and measuring the right metrics, managers often fall back on how much employees sit at their desks as a measure of output. That’s not the right thing to measure – it’s rarely tied to true performance. At home, managers can’t use the crutch of “time at desk” anymore. Therefore, they need to find new metrics to measure productivity, quality, and performance. Inevitably, those metrics will be better than the amount of time at your desk metric.
9. Better managers
Number ten (a focus on the right metrics) is what will drive better management. Without seeing people at the desks, without in-person meetings, without drop-bys at the cubicle, managers need to find more structured ways to measure output and improve communication. In that scenario, the result is better management because there is less of a reliance on feel and touch and more on quality of work, happiness of employees, and more. Put another way, poor managers (who don’t have measures in an office) will eventually be weeded out at remote companies because they no longer bring anything to the table.
11. Work-From-home as a Benefit In Hiring
We outlined the 23 benefits of working from home here. To most people, the ability to work from home or remotely is a benefit offered by the employer. Traditionally, job applicants would analyze benefits like health care, vacation time, retirement programs, and office perks. Add to the list: the ability to work from home (partially or full-time). That benefit could quickly jump up the list of importance for job applicants.
12. Communication Meritocracy
In an office setting, the most outgoing and driving personalities often lead decision making. If the main skill in driving a decision is to call and lead a meeting, and ask the team for approval of your idea, type A personalities are more likely to win. In a fully remote setting, more communication takes place in written form (chat, email, and shared documents). That opens possibilities for different personality types to contribute because the format is a better fit for other personality types. The best ideas are more likely to win out over the most forceful ideas.
13. Fewer Office Politics
When working from home, you don’t have to share a parking lot, refrigerator, bathroom, and water cooler. I remember more than once my lunch was stolen in an office with 100 people to one refrigerator. The in-between maneuvers like calling a last-minute meeting, stopping by a desk, flattering a boss, and spreading rumors are harder to do in a remote setting. They don’t go away completely, but they are harder to pull off. With all of this in place, office politics are much reduced with everyone working from home.
14. Hiring for specific metros
If a company had no work-from-home program, it’d likely have one office (and be limited to hiring in that city) or a number of offices (and be limited to hiring within those cities). When a company starts to embrace working from home, it can hire wherever it wants. Not only does that increase the overall talent pool, but it also allows for strategic hiring in certain cities or regions. This is mainly about salespeople. If a company previously only had an office in Boston, but sold into the New York market, salespeople from Boston may have to travel frequently to New York. By allowing employees to work from home, a company could hire salespeople within each of their most important metro areas.
15. Increased Productivity
A study done by Stanford found that employees who work from home are 13% more productive than in-office workers. That 13% could be the difference between a business barely surviving vs thriving. And it could be the difference between an employee feeling underwhelmed with their work vs. fulfilled in their work.
17. No Office-Wide Illnesses
You know when Bob comes into the office with a cough. And then Jane has it next. And before you know it, the entire office is sick. In many companies, there is a culture of “toughing it out” and coming in if you’re able to work. But that culture alone spreads illness quickly. For remote workers, disease has a tough time spreading over Slack.
I’ve managed a fully remote marketing agency for most of my career. We backed into it at first since we had trouble hiring into one small office south of Boston. The first few years required a lot of effort around what to measure and how to communicate as a fully remote company. But by putting in that work, here is how our profit grew:
- 2015: $75,680
- 2016: $142,478
- 2017: $182,714
- 2018: $218,529
- 2019: $319,136
If you simply replicate the same output and productivity as you did in an office, you will increase profitability (by saving on office space). But if you work at your remote processes, you can drastically increase productivity, employee happiness, and therefore profit.
I encourage you to see the benefits to employees, as well:
23 Benefits Of Working From Home (For Employees)
Let me know what I missed in the comments or on Twitter!