Article | November 12, 2020
The concept of remote work has been an alluring one in modern workspaces. A quick search on Google Trends shows that terms like remote work, work from home, and telecommute have steadily gained more interest from early 2000s and peaked during the height of the pandemic in March 2020.
The rising popularity of remote work has made employees take note too. As working from office became impossible in early 2020, over 90% of global businesses moved base and switched to remote mode. But is it only a solution for the pandemic or are there other benefits of working from home that you need to consider even after the pandemic has left the society? Before that is explored, take a look at where it started.
A History of Remote Work
Believe it or not, remote work is the default state in which humans worked before the industrial revolution. Only few people like ministers, clergymen, and royals would go to a separate place of work. Others like the potters, blacksmiths, jewellers, and cobblers worked outside their houses all day and knew the benefits of WFH.
As the industrial revolution took place, factories and industries were set up. And people started ‘going to work’. This was a big shift from the traditional money-making practices. As modern offices started showing up in the ‘60s, people became more acquainted to the ‘offices’ as we know them today. But still, the biggest game-changer was the invention of internet.
As technology developed with the help of internet, services like WiFi became widely available and allowed people to work from anywhere with the new found connectivity. The preference for remote work grew slowly and steadily as people started seeing the benefits of WFH, but remote work was catapulted into fast drive as the pandemic hit the world this year in 2020.
Benefits of WFH for Employees
Working from home is one of the most appreciated perks at a job as per a survey conducted by Fractl. There’s no doubt that employees covet the idea of remote work but it is not just a matter of convenience. According to a recent study by Stanford, there are also various benefits of working from home for the employees.
Higher Job Satisfaction
The best thing about working from home is that remote work offers a lot of flexibility to your employees, which is impossible to achieve when working from office. Employees are responsible for their own productivity, they aren’t worried about their superiors watching over their shoulders, and most importantly, they still have time to have a life outside of work. All of this adds up and results in higher job satisfaction among employees. A satisfied workforce is one of the strongest benefits of WFH.
Commuting takes a big chunk out of people’s expenses. Even if your employees use public transport, working from home will save them a significant amount of money. Among other benefits of WFH, as there is no need to step out every day, expenses on food, clothing, cosmetics, etc. will also reduce significantly. Fewer expenses mean more disposable income for your employees, and who doesn’t want that?
Better Work-life Balance
Working from a place of convenience allows you to take care of a lot of small things that you wouldn’t be able to do in an office. For example, taking care of a child while working, preparing a healthy meal, getting in a quick workout in the break time or even just closing your eyes and enjoying music for five minutes are all great benefits of WFH. The WFH experience offers a good worklife balance than otherwise.
As employees save a ton of time on commute, meetings, and even obligatory niceties, all the time that they put into work is now productive. According to a Flexjobs survey, 65% of the respondents mentioned that they’re more productive in a remote environment over an office one and see it as one of the primary benefits of working from home. Moreover, time dedicated to work, is solely utilized for work as employees feel more responsible for their performance when working from home.
Lower Stress Levels
Many studies have found that working from home can impact stress levels positively and reduce them. Experts believe that the reason for this may be associated with working in a familiar and comfortable environment. Benefits of WFH like lower stress levels affect efficiency and creativity at work. A laid-back employee will be able to offer a lot more than a stressed one.
Benefits of a WFH Policy for Employers
So yes, a WFH policy is great for the employees and is widely preferred. But what’s in it for you? With the exception of government mandated remote working, why should you offer WFH? This employer’s guide may help explain the details.
The truth is that there are just as many, if not more, benefits of working from home for the employers. Remote work, even if partial, can give you a big edge when it comes to productivity, competition, as well as employee retention. So what are these benefits of WFH?
Space Optimization and Cost-savings
As many companies have noticed, expenses have gone down significantly during the pandemic. The cost of office spaces is one of the obvious ones. But there are utilities, snacks, stationery, toiletries, cleaning supplies and a lot more that you save on when you offer a WFH policy. IBM alone has reportedly saved over $100 million in snacks since they started their WFH policy.
This is not the only benefit of WFH, partial WFH can help you optimize your office spaces and let you use techniques like hot desking that’ll help you reduce costs as well as let you use office space efficiently.
With all these feel-good effects and several other benefits of WFH, it is no wonder that employees stay longer with organizations that offer remote working opportunities, even partly. According to Global Analytics Workforce, over 72% of employers stated in a survey that remote working opportunities greatly impact employee retention. And it is no secret that the longer an employee stays with a company; the more loyal they are to it.
One of the biggest benefits of a WFH policy is that you get to pick your team from across the world. There are no location specific restrictions and you can hire the best members for your team without having to compromise too much on your budget.
Progressively more companies are now open to hire for completely remote positions from across the world as they see this as an opportunity to improve the quality and diversity of their teams.
There are several surveys and studies, including institutions like Harvard, which have found that remote work improves productivity in employees. There can be several reasons for the improved productivity such as fewer distractions, little or no commute, and comfortable environment. But whatever may be the reason, if you want to switch the gears on your operations, you may want to consider the benefits of WFH on productivity.
Absenteeism is a big problem when it comes to working in a team, especially if the project requires multiple collaborations. A large amount of absenteeism is tied up to logistical or minor issues such as vehicular breakdown, sudden change in childcare routine, or a minor sickness.
As all of this can be easily averted when working from home, employees prefer not to take leaves for minor issues. When working remotely, there are fewer logistical errors, household responsibilities can be tended to simultaneously, and minor illnesses don’t bother them too much in a comfortable environment. This leads to a more planned workday, and higher availability of employees which all adds up to the several benefits of WFH.
Longer Working Hours
At this point, it might seem like a stretch that there are so many benefits of WFH. But studies have shown that when employees work from home, they put in extra hours. It could be the result of KPIs switching from punctuality to results. But whatever the reason, employees are willing to put in more effort and longer days when given the chance to work remotely.
Several companies like Twitter and IBM have made headlines with their lenient WFH policies. IBM has been offering remote working opportunities for years now, and Twitter recently announced that it will allow its employees to work from home as long as they want even after the pandemic has subsided.
Just a minor change in the policy has earned Twitter a ton of goodwill, and no doubt the preference of potential employees. That’s how powerful remote work can be as a tool. A good WFH policy can bring you good PR as well as great candidates for future positions.
Better for the Planet
Business operations aren’t just costly, they are also a big source of carbon emissions. From the daily commute of all your employees, to the electricity consumed and toilet paper used, your office has a deep impact on the planet. In fact, the highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. is the burning of fossil fuels for electricity, heat, and transportation.
When you switch to a remote mode, you lower the emissions for your organization by a considerable amount. It may be a small percentage globally, but every drop in the bucket counts and is an added benefit of WFH that you can use by adding this to your branding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the pros and cons of working from home?
No hiring restrictions
Feelings of disconnect
Very little contact with co-workers
Why is work from home good?
There are several benefits of working from home including a better work-life balance, improved performance, lower stress levels, and higher efficiency.
How does working from home benefit a company?
Organizations see a big improvement in employee relations as employees are happier, more satisfied, and more efficient when working from home. Another benefit of working from home for the company is the reduced costs.
Article | March 9, 2020
From employees to customers - why total quality management in HR isn’t what it looks like, the role played by HRM and 5 simple TQM implementation steps. What can a healthcare provider, an artisan instrument maker and a management institute have in common? Try tangible returns on their Total Quality Management implementation for an answer! There is no such thing as sitting on your laurels in the competitive business world.
Article | May 4, 2020
The year 2020 is here and so the new changes in the workplace. With technology becoming advanced, new trends are hitting up the market, and adaption to those has become mandatory to stay competitive. Well, changes in the working method of human resources are not new for hiring professionals instead they are facing it for decades. Over the years, it has moved well beyond its traditional role of compliance to a more important and strategic role within an organization.
Without a doubt, having good talent at the place, a company can’t wish to meet the business goals within the pre-defined time frames. And this has been recognized by c-suite executives and other decision-makers that have caused to give more importance to HR heads and their way of working. According to research, the key challenges human resource professionals will face in the coming years are about creating smooth and efficient HR processes that offer a good employee experience. To make this happen strongly thought out and strongly executed processes are needed otherwise it can negatively impact and hurt the engagement and retention level in the organizations. And looking at today’s hiring market situation demand for good employees is fiercely competitive and so poor HR process is a risk no one wants to afford. This blog consists of best HR practices that are impactful in today’s talent-scarce job market. Thanks to the developing technology solutions and enterprising minds that help human resource professionals in planning workflow, increasing productivity, and helping employees help themselves to better work experience at the workplace.
Table of Contents:
- Social Media Enabled ATS
- Video Interviewing
- Internal Communication
- Managing Remote Workforce
Social Media Enabled ATS
Using social media in the hiring process comes up with many benefits. It helps you establish an employer brand, finds more eligible candidates, and build the talent pipeline faster. Applicant Tracking System is invented way before then social media and still, many human resource professionals find it difficult to understand how an ATS support social media recruiting. And this being the reason many recruiters have not adopted the full potential of social media sites. Here is the answer to how you can do it.
According to stats, 70% of organizations use social media sites for hiring new candidates along with other hiring methods. When you decide to post a job vacancy on various social media sites, it comes up with untold complexity and headaches. It gets difficult to manage and communicate with applicants from separate systems. Here technology like social media enabled ATS comes to the rescue. It allows human resource professionals to broadcast available positions to different social media networks and reach to the maximum suitable candidates. Some providers also offer matching candidates based on the information available on their social media profiles whereas some offer mobile access to the organization’s job portal.
Social media enabled ATS will make it easy for employees to share the job posting to their network and you will end up getting quality employees from the references.
Learn more: ATS to attract the top talent
To find the best candidates, to stay innovative and competitive; recruiters are coming up with the newest ways of carrying out interviews. Many companies now consider live and recorded interviews in the hiring process. Otherwise, the standard interview process would consist of candidates submitting applications, HR going through it, and call eligible candidates for the interview, taking some tests to analyze the candidate capabilities, and then finding the right fit.
But video interview has made this task time and cost-efficient. According to a result taken from a recent survey of 506 companies showcased 47% of employers use video interviewing to shorten the time required for hiring. This technology is specifically more useful when candidates are not local.
Virtual interviews are also appreciated by the side of candidates. They do not need to take separate time out for the interview and don’t need to travel across the city or country to face an interview. They can do it by sitting in one place, during the break or after the office work. All they need is a webcam and a fast internet connection.
Companies who use video interviews provide positive candidate experience with a short hiring time frame and end up getting top employees from a large pool of candidates.
Employee centric HR communication has the ability to impacts the atmosphere of organizations. The company culture consists of goals, values, and practices and it should be conveyed according to best practices so that employees can act upon it. So the message you want to deliver to your employees is as important as the way you deliver it.
It is essential to communicate and engage with the workforce to see the result in productivity and employee retention. Organizations need to share relevant and customized communication across channels with employees. Having a common communication platform where employees can quickly search and find the needful information makes a huge difference.
There are plenty of internal communication platforms that HR professionals can look for and choose one that fits. This will help in maintaining a thriving company culture and growing both the employee and the organization.
Managing Remote Workforce
Remote working is going to be or in fact, it is already a new norm for employees and many companies. Managing people who are physically unavailable in the office is going to be a challenging task for the human resource department. Leveraging employees where and when they are most productive and result-driven is the need of an hour. But adopting remote working is not a thing you do standing on your head.
Many companies have already prepared, knowing the benefits of remote working and are finding higher results in the work. When asked about remote working during COVID-19, Mike Dickerson, who is CEO of ClickDimensions, shared his view.
The way our company operates today is very similar to before COVID-19. Our global team has always been familiar with teleconferencing and working with customers and colleagues via remote environments. And because our solutions are built natively within Microsoft Dynamics, we have a strong technology infrastructure that can serve a remote workforce. I’m sure it helps that I spent 10 years in the collaboration industry helping people work together when they weren’t together.
- Mike Dickerson, Chief Executive Officer at ClickDimensions
Read the full interview here.
Technology has transformed the way hiring used to be done. It is all set to break the geographic barriers where organizations can build a talent network from candidates all around the world and position themselves as a top performer with the best use of technology.
Well, these were best practices for using HR technology in 2020 and beyond to help you in minimizing the recruiting efforts and maximizing the benefits. Reach out to us sharing which best practices you are using in your company to see the change.
Article | April 10, 2020
Companies all over the world are rallying around their employees as their entire workforce has been working from home due to COVID-19. Organizations that have not thought of the possibility of 100% remote working, are also finding it adjustable and running all operations smoothly in the lockdown period. They are pulling out all the stops, keeping the spirits high, spreading the waves of happiness and trying hard to maintain a light-hearted atmosphere during this time of stress.
In this challenging time of adapting to changes and the prevailing circumstances, here are five proactive approaches to provide your employees support and keep them motivated throughout.
Table of Contents:
1] Essential Support to On-site Staff
2] Building a Virtual Office Culture
3] Stay Healthy, Stay Fit to Stay Away from the Disease
4] Educate & Communicate
5] Anticipate Secondary Effect
1] Essential Support to On-site Staff
As the governments all over the world are seen preferring lockdown to curb the impact of COVID-19, many companies are forced to shut their doors immediately for an indefinite time period. However, some vital industries are allowed to remain open.These permitted industries include production of consumable and protective goods, along with the warehouses and transportation services that need to ship them. As an employer, it is extremely important to take care of employees’ health especially those who are working on-site. Whether it is a manufacturing plant, a warehouse, or they are working in a closed office, checking with them on their health and providing necessary help is part of our ethics as HR professionals. Unlike many companies that are putting their employees first during pandemic, everyone can contribute to maintaining a healthy atmosphere among the employees.
2] Building a Virtual Office Culture
Many of your employees might have pets and kids. And this is a new addition to the virtual workplace they have created. A little flexibility in the atmosphere is bringing fun to the work resulting in increased productivity. Here are some examples of how employers are embracing the change in the workplace:
Vox Media is hosting a daily story time for parents with kids, courtesy of its parent- employee resource group. The CEO of the company joined via Zoom to read stories to families.
LiveIntent –a marketing technology firm created groups on the communication platform #the-bark-side, #thedailybaby, #parentsofliveintent and #WFHTipsandTricks, where people are helped to stay positive and productive, said Global Marketing SVP, Kerel Cooper.
The New York Times’ advertising team held a “pet parade” for everyone to show off their pets, said Sebastian Tomich, SVP and global head of advertising solutions.
These efforts from employers to support employees’ new work-life balance include practical tips too. Merkle created an internal microsite that provides learning resources along with some other content- all for parents whose kids are at home.
3] Stay Healthy, Stay Fit to Stay Away from the Disease
One of the advisory ways to protect people from the coronavirus is to stay healthy. What’s a better way than to arrange some health programs from your organization for your employees. This will also help you strengthen the bond between the company and the employee.
You can arrange some live workout classes twice a week like Cubeiq is doing for its employees. Managers at PubMatic are organizing “exercise-from-home-hour” where they set a particular time of the day for virtual workout classes. During this employee can pay attention towards their health by going for a walk and get active.
A great example of LiveIntent which created a teledoc service that offers in-home COVID-19 testing for qualifying employees who swab themselves at home. And the tests are sent overnight to a lab for results.
Some other options to encourage your employees to stay healthy is arranging a 15-20 mins session of tips on keeping better mental and physical health or inviting nutritionists to provide information on what to eat and how to stay fit during these days, etc.
Also, being happy means being healthy right? So you can arrange some fun activities to contribute in your employee’s health. Those happy hours or minutes can consist of things like virtual coffee meetings, music listening sessions, or some other entertaining activities like work from home photo contests, etc. Doing this will not only make the workforce happy but also increase the productivity.
4] Educate & Communicate
During a time of crisis like the COVID-19, people are seeking support. Something which will give hopes and make them feel better on the improvisation of the situation. What HRs simply can do during this time is, call them and ask how are they doing. Ask them if they are okay and need any kind of help from the company side including supplies, hardware and files they need. Encourage them to ask questions if they have any. The current situation can be a time for companies where new employees are about to join. Make sure they are getting every needful help from your side and adjusting well with the new work structure. With the business situation changing so rapidly, employees value companies that cheer them up and are able to improve themselves along with the company. For something like this not to feel disconnected from the organization, make some passing moments by asking simple conversational questions that will be emotionally helpful for them.
Most companies said they are increasing the cadence of their communications to employees. Their executive teams are proactively connecting, and more departmental heads are meeting to collaborate. Things like these are important to show your support towards your employees.
5] Anticipate Secondary Effect
Due to the critical situation of COVID-19; schools, universities and businesses have to close immediately. Considering these aspects of an employer’s life can make a huge impact. Parents who were dependent on daycare for their children, have fallen into a dual responsibility situation. In many cases there are not immediate family members who can step in. As an employer, you can ease this situation for employees who have become sole caretakers by allowing them modified schedules, alternative shifts or some time off.
Some of the businesses have to shut the doors immediately and this has become the reason for some families to face financial crisis. For such employees of your company, any amount or relief can be a godsend. In turbulent times, financial help, workplace flexibility, or any other outside assistance can dramatically change employees’ livelihood. As we overcome the critical health situation, these small supports can help everyone for a smoother transition to normal lives.
Learn more: Post Coronavirus recovery practices to follow