The ability for employees to work remotely, either full-time or part-time, is definitely a big deal. You know it, I know it. Your company might be handling an emergency situation like the one we're in right now, or maybe you just want to offer more flexibility for your employees. In either case, maintaining a remote workforce can save money, and still preserve culture, connections, and productivity.
Remote work software refers to a set of tools that keep remotely located teams engaged, productive, and happy. These solutions also help companies reduce employee churn and lower rent and operating costs.
There may be circumstances when remote work becomes a necessity rather than a luxury … like right now.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, businesses across the country are closed, requesting or demanding that their workforce stay home - and stay productive.
This has reopened the discussion of how to effectively manage a remote workforce. Zoominfo highlights some of the unique challenges this presents in a recent blog post.
Now for some specifics! Let's dig into some statistics about remote workforces, the state of remote work, and the best remote work software to help manage employees from the comfort of their homes.
Remote work has grown by a whopping 44% over the last five years, with over 60% of companies now employing remote workers.
Plenty of companies have clearly hopped on board the remote workforce train lately, and it is officially more common than not for a company to offer remote working options to some degree.
99% of employees would like to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their career.
“Plenty” would be an understatement for how many employees have hopped on board the remote workforce train. This statistic hammers home just how widespread the desire is for your employees to take advantage of a work-from-home policy.
What are the business benefits of allowing workers to work remotely?
So a lot of companies are doing it, a lot of employees would like to do it, but what's in it for the company? I just happen to have a few stats ready to go that answer this very question!
An Inc study shows that employee attrition decreases by 50% among telecommuting workers. Remote employees also took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days, and took less time off.
Telecommuting is a real boon to the HR department. Less time hiring and firing, and more time developing the workforce you already have.
This same study shows that corporate offices can be reduced in size, saving $2,000 per employee in rent. Keep the employees you have, and save money while doing it, win-win.
85% of surveyed businesses indicate that they received an increase in productivity due to workplace flexibility.
This may be the best statistic of all for savvy business owners looking to get more value out of their current workforce. A separate study found even better results, citing that only 3% of companies indicated that their workers are less productive at home.
What are common remote work problems?
20% of full-time employees lack tools to make using flexible work arrangements easy and productive.
If businesses were struggling before the coronavirus outbreak to manage remote teams, you can bet it’s a challenge now.
Having the right software helps unify teams. For example, some stay-at-home parents might want to listen, rather than video-in to meetings. Many other home situations make it hard to be productive from work, but providing the right tools can help keep everyone productive, sensitive information secure, and critical connection during extended homebound stays.
Communication is the #1 challenge of remote work.
27% of the respondents indicated that communication is the main hurdle to success when working remotely.
Tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams can remedy these woes by giving remote workers the ability to chat and share files with their in-office comrades quicker than if they were there in person. Public and private channels allow them to share different file types, have one-off conversations on individual threads, and of course, create custom emojis.
Lack of social opportunities was the second biggest challenge facing remote employees.
16% of the respondents on the same survey indicated that their biggest challenge was that their social interactions with coworkers suffered.
This sentiment is best remedied by giving your employees a flexible schedule, splitting their work hours between the corporate office and their home office or co-working office. Easily wrangle these changing schedules with a solution like Deputy, allowing employees to change schedules on-the-go across departments and locations.
91% of remote employees have had at least one virtual meeting in the last week.
To learn more about other solutions these teams are using, take a deep dive with ZoomInfo’s technographic data!
In another survey, 20% indicate that demotivation is their top challenge when working remotely.
To help keep your team motivated, try Hoopla. This tool motivates teams through competitions, complete with leaderboards and prizes for top performers.
Read about some other motivational tools I wrote about here to get your team jazzed up and ready to seize the work day.
What are the downsides of having a remote workforce?
- Distraction. According to the previous survey, the main downside is that the workers get distracted, with 45.5% of the vote. Keep your remote workforce on track and focused with time tracking solutions like Time Doctor, which features built-in reminders to keep employees on track to hit project deadlines and away from time-wasting websites.
- Missing important events in the office. These employees could have stayed in the loop with the latest goings-on at the company with a solution like Yammer.
- Lack of expertise or technical support. Help your team take advantage of a company knowledgebase like Confluence to make sure they always have access to the company’s collective source of know-how.
Which companies have benefited from having remote workforces?
You may think, Sure, my employees want to work remotely, and there are lots of software options to help me, but has anyone actually done it? Did it work?
Glad you asked!
Since FY14, Dell's flexible work solutions have saved the company $39.5M.
Quite a chunk of change! Not only that, but Dell has reaped some other rewards along the way, including a Net Promoter Score (NPS) boost of 20% for team members who work remotely when compared to their corporate office counterparts.
If saving the planet is your thing, then you’ll appreciate this secondary benefit - Dell's flexible work solutions have saved an estimated 42 million kWh of energy since 2013.
In Tennessee's state government agencies, 6,000 people telework at least part of the time, which enabled the company to reduce employee sick leave by 37%.
This is now a four-year-old program, and has saved the state over $6.5 million dollars in rental costs through reduction of the corporate headquarters. They also benefited from a boost in employee productivity, according to 60% of the management staff.
Solving the remote team management puzzle is easier with text and video chat software, schedule management tools, and collaboration solutions. Supporting your teams across various locations with this software is key to maintaining the numbers you care about, as Dell and the state of Tennessee have done in previous examples.
Which tools have you used to increase engagement with your virtual teams?
Leave a review and let us know what worked and what didn’t.
About the AuthorFollow on Linkedin More Content by Marc Shumaker