Recruiting talent over the next decade will prove to be a challenge for many traditional organizations where employees must show up to a physical location to work.
As the working demographic continues to get younger and technology advances at breakneck speed, workers expect more flexibility.
Bill Gates, in his wisdom, understood this several years ago when he predicted what is now common business knowledge. He said:
"The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area."
But while "flexibility" has increased over the years in the gig economy, too many companies are unable or unwilling to meet the demands of their own workforce, thus losing good talent to competitors with more flexible options like remote work.
Why should we follow Bill Gates' advice?
We already know remote work has great benefits for both employees and the companies for which they work, so let's highlight some compelling reasons why it makes sense to move your business to more flexible work arrangements.
Employees save money.
Remote work options will attract top candidates tired of the financial burdens that come with long commutes, train/bus fares, onsite childcare, and expensive housing in large metro areas. By appealing to their wallets, the average person can save $7,000 per year by working remotely, according to TECLA. With the prospect of cost savings and eliminating geographic restrictions on the talent pool, companies will attract better talent and ultimately boost their employee retention numbers.
Companies save money.
One study has shown companies saved almost $5 billion in 2018 alone from letting employees work from home part-time. If you're catching the big picture here, it means having fewer expenses due to leasing/renting of office space, paying for desks, computers, utilities, and providing for parking, childcare, food and other amenities in the office.
Every generation seeks flexible work options.
For years, we've known Millennials want (and even demand) more work-life balance. In one study, a staggering 85 percent said they'd prefer to telecommute 100 percent of the time. Naturally, we tend to stereotype Millennials as the pampered generation demanding flexible work options. Not so fast. In one survey of more than 5,500 work-at-home respondents, the majority were Gen-Xers (41 percent) and Baby Boomers (31 percent). Now, with the emergence of Gen-Z workers, every generation seeks flexibility in an era where 73 percent of all teams will have remote workers by 2028.
According to Gallup's 2017 "State of the Global Workplace" Study, remote workers crank out an average of four hours more per week than people who work onsite. Additionally, a two-year study by Stanford University found that there was an impressive increase in work productivity among employees who worked remotely. The study compared 500 people who worked both remotely and in traditional settings. The conclusion? Productivity among remote workers was equal to a full day's work each week.
Owl Labs' recent study, "The Global State of Remote Work," found 50 percent of the 3,028 global employees surveyed say they're "happy and productive" in their job, while 29 percent are "neutral" about work. Plain and simple, remote workers score consistently higher compared to all workers in many studies I've reviewed, perhaps because they simply enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes with choosing where and when they work. Who doesn't want this?