Work life balance has been a topic on the tip of everyone's tongues for the last few years. With that conversation, came another conversation about the ability to telecommute for work.
The topic hasn't been without controversy. Marissa Mayer famously added a nursery to her office and rescinded Yahoo's work-from-home policy (and we all know how that ended). IBM and Aetna have also recently reversed their work-from-home policies for employees in the hopes of "increasing collaboration."
Maybe it's because I've been working from home for years (I'm writing this from my balcony as we speak), but thinking that forcing people to go into an office every day will drive innovation is faulty thinking. I collaborate and innovate with people who live in other cities all the time. It's called using Skype and Slack.
Not only that, but research also shows they are wrong. Flexjobs recently released a study where 66% percent of respondents actually said they are more productive when they have the chance to work from home.
That being said, here are three reasons you should let your employees work from home, according to research.
You acquire (and keep) talent.
It's no secret that companies are having a hard time with employee turnover. People aren't staying at their jobs and that costs companies millions.
Well, it turns out that a lack of flexibility may be why. The Flexjobs survey found that the majority of respondents (72 percent to be exact) said that work-life balance is the top thing they look for when weighing job prospects. Not only that, but 32 percent of survey respondents said they'd already left a job over lack of flexibility. Seventy-nine percent also said they would be more loyal to an employer if they offered more flexibility.
When you let people telecommute, you meet their need for flexibility. On top of that, your employees aren't stupid. They know there's no logical reason to have to come into the office in the age of the internet.
Your employees are less distracted.
Those who are against telecommuting for work cite that employees may have too many distractions when they work from home. Obviously, this means less output for the company.
It seems as if employees see it completely differently. In fact, they told Flexjobs that they are actually less distracted at home. More specifically, they said that at the office they are constantly being interrupted by their coworkers whereas they can just focus when they are home.
Healthy employees equal more money.
Part of the reason why employees want flexibility is because they feel like traditional assumptions about work are negatively affecting their health. Seventy-eight percent of survey respondents said that a job with more flexibility would allow them to be healthier.
Here's why healthy employees are good for employers: your employees call in sick less. This means more productivity for the employer. It also means less money is lost on the days when employees cannot work.
Let's talk numbers for some perspective. According to the CDC, employers lose $225.8 billion annually due to employees calling in sick.
Letting your employees work from home is common sense. Again, I could be biased because I've been working from home for years, but the research seems to back up the claim that telecommuting is a good thing.