Retaining Talent: Is Working Remotely the Answer?

There has been a seismic shift in the WDC regional business community regarding working remotely from home.  Just three years ago, hardly any of my insurance clients had ‘work at home’ options with their employees.  Now the successful ones have policies.  They started doing it to retain talent, but now they do it, because it’s the smart thing to do.

With new highway and metro train construction seemingly everywhere, the major thoroughfares in and around DC/MD and NOVA are absolutely jammed now between 7AM to 9:30AM and then again from 3PM to 7PM.  It’s crazy!!  It now takes two hours to get from Woodbridge, VA to Tysons!  That’s four hours per day and 20 hours per week.  Who has that kind of time to waste?

So you’re having trouble acquiring or even retaining your talent?  Umm…why not give your employees a break and allow them some flexibility?  Based on recent consultations with my WDC clients, here are some reasons why working remotely can be beneficial to not only employees BUT to employers too:

  1. Saving Money: Add up the costs of commuting plus eating out for lunch five days per week and you will be surprised.  At an average commute of 25 miles round trip at .55 cents per mile plus a $7.50 lunch equals approximately $425 per month or $600 per month pre-tax.  That’s $7,200 per year.  Save $3,000 per year by working remotely two days per week.  With remote options for employees, you may not have to pay absolute top dollar to the prized candidates you are seeing to attract.
  2. More Productive: I recently posted a blog discussing “Deep Work.”  Working in a quiet home office is more conducive to deep work (concentration, focus…) than working in a cubicle with all sorts of distractions around you.  It has been proven that working remotely increases work productivity by at least $35%.
  3. Online tracking tools: There are now many kinds of online tracking tools to keep employees accountable for their time.  If they are goofing off at home, you’ll know about it.
  4. Earn it: many of my clients have an institutionalized process where employees earn the right over time to work remotely.  It is a stated policy.  Most provide one day after 90 days, two days after one year, and three days remote after two years.
  5. Professional Efficiency: working alone forces employees to find their own solutions to problems and not continually bother co-workers for answers.  This allows everyone to be working in their own zones.
  6. More effective meetings: rather than sitting passively in a meeting with ten people for an hour reviewing a group power point presentation, a few clicks with web-based tools will enable your employees to have more targeted meetings with fewer people using chat functions to share documents.  Tactically, targeted meetings with targeted attendees tend to be more productive and more fun!
  7. Avoid office politics: who needs this? Working remotely eliminates the drama of office politics.  Do your job, hit your targets via online tracking tools and you’re good.  A little mystery never hurt anyone either…showing up a few times a week for the most important meetings will elevate your status amongst your peers.

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