With companies such as Buffer, WordPress and Upworthy reporting numerous benefits after abandoning the office environment, an increasing number of startups are questioning whether a remote workforce is right for them.
If you’re the type of business owner that takes pride in managing a small and close-knit team, the idea of going your separate ways might sound like a terrifying prospect.
However, research suggests a flexible or remote working policy could help your business thrive and gain a competitive edge.
Here are five simple and powerful ways remote working could help your startup:
1. Increase happiness.
It’s been scientifically proven that employees and their employers benefit from remote working. Studies suggest “that with most jobs, a good rule of thumb is to let employees have one to two days a week at home. It’s hugely beneficial to their well-being, helps you attract talent, and lowers attrition (HBR).”
2. Boost productivity.
Working as a team plays a vital role in helping a small business grow. If you’re used to bouncing ideas off your team on a regular basis, you understandably might be reluctant to embrace working remotely. However, research suggests employees are likely to be far more productive if they work at home. In fact, when given the freedom to choose their own hours, they’re likely to work beyond a traditional 40 hour workweek.
3. Reduce distractions.
With everyone working in one environment, it’s easy to get distracted. “The workplace is becoming increasingly distracting, the Wall Street Journal reports.In addition, some companies are acknowledging that too many meetings and a heavy reliance on internal email as a means of communication only aggravates the problem (Huffington Post).” However, by allowing employees to work at their own pace without workplace interruption, they’re likely to get far more done in a shorter time. One remote working survey revealed that 86% of workers prefer to work alone.
4. Attract the best talent.
Companies that provide employees with the opportunity to work from home often benefit from a higher number of applicants every time they recruit. As a result, they can have their pick of the very best candidates. By allowing employees to work anywhere, you also benefit from access to a global talent pool. Not only can a remote working policy help you attract top talent, it can also help you retain the staff you already have.
5. Lower overhead costs.
If you say goodbye to your office, you’ll no longer have to worry about overhead costs associated with leasing office space. You can also implement BYOD policies and reduce the needs to purchase and maintain standard office equipment. Over time, this cash can then be used for other things such as marketing and technology.
It’s clear that flexible workplaces are the key to business growth and employee satisfaction. However, in order for such a policy to work you’ll need to organize regular communications and embrace cloud-based apps like Dropbox, Trello and Hipchat, to name a few. Most importantly, set and monitor targets.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Jennifer Hill is a content writer at UK-based Synextra Ltd,a cloud services and IT support company. She enjoys writing about the benefits of remote working and experimenting with new apps to make her life as a freelancer easier. Connect with @synextra on Twitter.