By Frank Weishaupt, Owl Labs CEO

If you told me there was an employment strategy that would improve my company’s employee retention, hiring, and productivity — yet I ignored it — I bet you’d question my leadership. 

I find it shocking whenever businesses limit their growth opportunities when the data stares them right in the face. The 2019 State of Remote Work report found that more than half (62%) of U.S. employees work remotely — that means nearly 2 in 3 employees are working from home at least some of the time.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with distributed teams for nearly my entire career. At Owl Labs, we’re focused on creating productive meeting experiences for remote and office workers alike with the Meeting Owl 360° smart conferencing camera. Understanding remote working trends is key to being able to serve our customers, which is why my company produces the annual State of Remote Work report

We as leaders need to shake off our biases cultivated from long-gone workplaces of the past, and if we don’t we’ll be holding back our long-term success. 

Here are what I think are the 5 most impactful findings that show how supporting remote work is going to have a significant impact on your bottom line. 

1 in 4 U.S. employees would take a pay cut of up to 10% to be able to work remote.

The battle for the top talent is tough. Creating a compelling benefits package that stands out among your industry has been a tried and true strategy, but have you adapted it to include remote work opportunities among your benefits? 

Anyone can offer free beer or unlimited snacks to employees, but benefits that help employees thrive outside of work are much more compelling. 

If you do offer remote work among your benefits package, you’d likely find favorable results when going head-to-head with other employers in your space. In fact, 71% of survey respondents agree that the ability to work remotely would make them more likely to choose one employer over another in their next job. That’s something you can’t ignore.

74% of workers agree that the ability to work remotely would make them less likely to leave an employer.

Hiring is expensive, and there’s nothing worse than losing an employee prior to seeing the impact of your investment come through. 

Remote work is proving to be an effective technique to improve employee retention. Current remote workers say they’re likely to stay with their employer for the next five years 13% more frequently than on-site workers.

Why might this be? Better work-life balance is the #1 reason people choose to work remotely

Increasing retention is often a delicate balance of keeping high-performing employees engaged, challenged and happy at work. And if you create an environment where they can balance their professional and personal responsibilities, they’ll be happier and more productive — and less likely to leave your company — in the long run.

79% of remote workers work from home to increase their productivity and focus.

Increasing employee impact is a constant conversation happening at the helm of many companies. “How the heck do we get more out of our teams?” 

Here’s a good one for those hanging on to old-school thinking: by letting people choose their work location, you’re likely to see higher output. This seems like a contradiction for many leaders, especially for those who come from a world in which butt-in-seats was the most prominent method for monitoring productivity. 

It’s simply not true anymore. In fact, I’ve seen this for myself. On occasion, I personally get my best work done from my kitchen table at 5:00 am in the morning. The same could be true for a software engineer at her home office at 9:00 pm at night. 

If that doesn’t convince you, turns out remote employees work more than the standard 40 hours per week 43% more often than on-site workers. That says a lot. We need to let go and let people work when and where it’s best for them — not best for us.

81% of U.S. workers agree that the ability to work remotely would make them more likely to recommend their company to a friend.

Employee referrals are key to scaling hiring across a company. This has been true for me both at Owl Labs and my previous companies. If your top employees are recommending your company to similarly talented individuals, you have a sure-fire recipe for fast and efficient hiring. 

However, an effective referral model isn’t guaranteed. Your employees need to be bought into your team’s mission and culture first. Simply put, if they don’t love where they work, they won’t refer members of their network who could be a good value-add to your organization. Start there. 

Remote workers say they’re happy in their jobs 29% more often than on-site workers.

Building a strong and productive company culture has been a long-time priority of mine, as well as many of my fellow colleagues. When it comes down to it — if you can create a culture where your team is both effective and happy, you’ve made it.Remote work not only increases an employee’s opportunity to be happy, it also makes employees feel more trusted. 82% of workers agree that working remotely would make them feel more trusted at work, and trust and a sense of contribution among team members are critical for effective communication and collaboration. 

Keep your biases in check.

To stay ahead, you need to question where you’ve been. 

Seeing remote work as a casual perk for some employees is a thing of the past. Look at the data, consider the needs of your organization, and consider how remote work can play a part. By offering the benefits and flexibility employees want, you’ll be able to attract, engage, and retain top talent so they’ll invest in helping your business grow in the long run. 

Don’t just take my word for it. To read the full report and see more data, download the 2019 State of Remote Work report.


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