In a previous blog post, we discussed the negative effects of presenteeism in the workplace, which bears repeating. To recap, presenteeism occurs when employees are physically present at work but not functioning at their full potential because of an illness or other medical condition. This is a bad practice that pre-dates the pandemic, costing U.S. employers $150 billion to $250 billion annually. An unintended but positive consequence emerged during COVID-19: employers are recognizing that staff are as productive, if not more, because of more flexibility and working remotely. In short, employees are doing just fine spending less time in the office.
Employers should pin this mantra to their doors: Quality of Work, Not Quantity of Time. Beneath, you can include the following data:
A recent report by Udemy that surveyed a swath of employees showed they felt “significantly less productive” because of workplace distractions, with chatty co-workers (80%) and office noise (70%) cited as the top distractions at work, both of which are lower issues when working remotely.
An MIT study in April and May of 2020 reported that 50% of the workforce was working remotely. The authors of the study note that employees aren’t wasting as much time or resources on commuting and that “This shift is pushing companies to focus on performance and output as opposed to just ‘clocking hours’.”
More Employees are Staying Because They’re Happier
At the start of 2019, HR Dive projected that more than half of U.S. workers would look for a new job in 2019, leaving their current one in less than a year. While the economic downturn has limited selectivity, it behooves companies to focus on retention.
According to Forbes, “The average U.S. employer spends $4,000 to hire a new employee. Organizations can reduce this cost by reducing employee attrition. As mentioned in a 2015 SHRM article, 46% of companies that allowed telework said that it had reduced attrition, and 95% of employers said telework had a high impact on employee retention.”
Other Positive Impacts for Employers
You know what costs a lot? Rent. According to MarketWatch, the average office space costs per employee in certain metropolitan areas ranges from $7,000 – $14,800. Even if you have only a handful of employees, that’s a lot of cost savings.
You know what else costs a lot? Absences. In fact, unscheduled workplace absences cost organizations to the tune of $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,650 each year for salaried employees, on average. As Forbes notes, “Many employees take days off unexpectedly when working in a traditional office environment. Remote employees, on the other hand, are less likely to take unexpected days off to deal with family issues or coordinate appointments because their time can be more flexible when working remotely.”
Employees who work remotely, as long as they can deliver, feel empowered and have a greater sense of trust with the company.