Of all the things the Internet has done for society, changing the image of the workplace is one of the most exciting. Canadian businesses are embracing the idea of remote workers as part of their long-term plan, due to increasing evidence of the many benefits of a flexible workforce. Research and guidance is also increasing in Canada, as more businesses explore telecommuting and virtual commuting.
The number of benefits companies enjoy with a remote workforce are impressive and far-reaching.
This new work structure is where we’re all headed and many businesses are already testing the waters. Both small and large businesses consider it a practical direction to move in, reporting a profound reduction in expenses and staff turnover. Telus, for example, was able to reduce their real estate footprint by more than a million square feet, with a goal of a $50 million dollar reduction in lease expenses by 2016. Their CO2 emissions were reduced by 20,000 tonnes in just two years.
The top 10 benefits of a remote workplace include:
- Remote workers use their own equipment and workspace, thus saving the company money in overhead.
- New employees will often accept lower wages for the option to work at home. Not only because they want to work from home, but also because they save money on commuting, wardrobe, etc. Don’t make the mistake of paying them less for the same job just because they’re working at home though. As the practice grows, so will your competition for the best employees.
- Employees are more productive, if for no other reason than wanting to keep the option to work from home. Many also work longer hours. As far back as 2013, a Citrix study showed 18% of small businesses in the United States, Canada and Australia are enjoying a 30% increase in productivity through the adoption of mobile work styles.
- New hires become affordable and practical for small businesses. They may even opt to contract instead of a traditional hire (like a Virtual Assistant), releasing you from obligations like health benefits and tax deductions.
- Lower turnover. A Richard Ivey School of Business study indicated 100% of Telus’ mobile and at-home workers were considered low-risk of leaving.
- Less sick time and childcare issues.
- No commuting issues to make employees late, such as backed-up traffic or typically bad Canadian Winter weather.
- A natural disaster at the home office doesn’t necessarily mean your business grinds to a halt. The same applies to pandemics, as businesses have learned the hard way.
- Your talent pool is virtually global. I’ve personally worked for companies and individuals from across Canada, the US and the UK.
- It reduces the corporate environmental footprint, including lower real estate requirements and less individual commuters.
For more information, Canadian statistics and tips, read our full-length feature article, Mobile Commuting / Telecommuting is Increasing in Canada.
Does anyone in your company telecommute or use virtual assistants (VA’s)? What’s holding you back? Please share your experience or questions in the comments below.
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