Remote Work: The New Standard for IT Jobs?

Remote Work: The New Standard for IT Jobs? 1

Employees Expect a Work-From-Home Option

More than half of employees in the US already work remotely at least once a week. Remote work is becoming the norm, particularly in the IT industry.  57% of IT employees worked remotely in 2016, and more companies are offering remote work every year. As remote work becomes more mainstream, jobseekers expect to find employers who offer this benefit.

A Top Consideration for Jobseekers

Working from home is also one of the top benefits sought after by jobseekers. In 2017, Harvard Business Review surveyed 2,000 jobseekers, ranging in age from 18 to 81. They asked these prospective employees what benefits they valued the most that might entice them to take a lower-paying job. 80% of respondents said that the option to work from home would play a factor in them opting for less pay.

Companies of All Sizes Offer Remote Work

The expectation from IT candidates to be able to work from home is also on the rise due to the high-profile companies that tout their work-from-home policies. Among those tech companies featured on Forbes’ Top 100 companies for Remote Jobs list are Amazon, Dell, Intuit, Fiserv and Secureworks.

But it’s not just large, well-know companies that are hiring remote. Susan Snipes, a virtual HR Consultant shared her experience with small businesses and start-ups with 100% remote workforces:

“My clients are pioneering new business owners who are able to attract and retain some of the best talent in their industries. Most of them don’t offer health insurance or high salaries. What they offer is far more valuable to those they hire: The opportunity to work flexible hours from home. It’s not the wild west. There is structure and accountability and they have documented, well-communicated SOPs. They also use inexpensive tools to keep everyone connected and on track. I have seen developers, analysts and executives all succeed in their roles, while working remotely. This arrangement allows employees to better achieve their personal objectives and enables the businesses to achieve their financial and cultural objectives.”

Why Employees Want Remote Work (And You Should Too)

Improved Productivity

Most full-time employees surveyed believe that working remotely would improve their productivity. It’s also been shown that two-thirds of managers see an increase in overall productivity when they allow their staff to work remotely. Many employees find there to be fewer distractions when they work at home. Staff are also able to make better use of the 1 to 2-hour commute time they are no longer forced to endure.

Modern project management, document sharing, virtual whiteboard and instant messaging apps allow workers to be very plugged-in while at work. Slack, Asana, Zoom, Skype, LiveBoard, DropBox and GoogleDocs are among the most popular apps used for remote workforces. With these solutions, team members maintain a sense of community with their coworkers, and they enjoy transparent collaboration that reinforces accountability.

Health Benefits

Remote work has been linked to some very real health benefits that decrease employee and employer costs. Workers surveyed by Staples Advantage reported being 25% less stressed when they worked from home. Since stress negatively impacts health and is one of the main propellants of employee turnover, it makes sense for companies to try to reduce it. Additionally, more than 80% of the employees from the survey said they experienced a better work-life balance once they worked from home. Employees who work remotely also have more control over their environments, including their workstation setup and food choices. This allows employees to eat healthier and sit, stand or move around as much as they need to throughout the day. Fewer germs from sick coworkers is yet another great reason working from home improves peoples’ health. Hiring remote workers also profits the company. Better health equals better attendance and fewer costs associated with absenteeism and over-utilization of health benefits.

Decreased Costs

Allowing employees to support the company remotely reduces business costs in several ways. For one thing, remote work has been linked to decreased turnover. According to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work 2017 survey, companies that offer remote work have 25% lower employee turnover than companies that do not allow remote work. With the cost to replace a highly-skilled worker ranging anywhere from 1.5 to 213% of the worker’s annual salary, reducing turnover clearly significantly reduces costs.

Perhaps more obviously, remote work decreases overhead costs associated with leasing office spaces. The average real estate savings for companies with remote workforces is $10,000 per employee per year. Sun Microsystems, for example, saves $68 million a year in real estate costs due to their remote workforce.

How much can most companies and employees expect to save by telecommuting? GlobalWorplaceAnalytics.com estimates that a typical business can save $11,000 per employee per year, and an employee can save up to $7,000 per year. Employees save money on everything from fuel and vehicle maintenance to food, clothing and healthcare costs.

The money employees save, paired with the other benefits of working from home, compromise a significant part of employees’ total compensation. Companies should be prepared for job candidates to ask about this benefit and be able to leverage the work-from-home option at the bargaining table.