There are benefits to having all your employees working together in one place. You know who’s there and what they’re doing, and there is certainly synergy for people who work in the same space, developing and building the culture that is your work environment.
At the same time, there are costs to having all your employees come into an office every day. These costs center around three primary factors, and they run much deeper than we tend to see on the surface. The three factors are Physical Cost, Talent Cost, and Employee Satisfaction.
The Physical Cost of employee co-location includes everything involved in getting your employees to come to, work in, and maintain your facility. According to the US Census Bureau, the average commute time in 2018 for US workers was 27.1 minutes daily. One way. That’s 27 minutes per day per employee of time that workers are ready to work but unable to due to their commute. Included in the Physical Cost is the gas money that comes out of their employees’ paycheck (averaging $368 per month/per household). These commute costs are an indirect drag on the business’ bottom line as well as the employees’ bottom line.
The most easily visible Physical Cost is that of the facility itself, but often forgotten in that facility cost is every element of infrastructure that enables your employees to do business during peak hours. This includes your on-premises network infrastructure, support staff for facilities, IT, security, and common hardware such as printers and phones.
Then there’s the food… Most businesses supply some sort of pay-for-itself concession system, if not a full-on subsidized lunch service. These services do have a direct cost, even if they pay for themselves on their face. As with the cost of getting to work, food costs need to be viewed as an indirect cost to the business if the employees are spending their paycheck on this rather than food that would be cheaper via other means. If your employees already spend an hour a day commuting, they are less likely to pack a lunch, too. If they don’t pack a lunch, they are eating out, which is generally more costly than home prepared food. That margin is paid by your business.
Another cost that can be overcome with remote work capability is the inadequacy of the smaller, local talent pool that physical co-location demands. Your talent pool can easily extend across the nation and the globe once you can attract professionals with a remote-work culture. Salary expectations vary wildly around the world as well, which could be a plus if you are used to paying salaries in a high cost-of-living area. Also, as remote-work opportunities become more available to more trades, the most desirable candidates will likely be looking for those opportunities.
Employee satisfaction is what keeps your best employees around. To employers, telework is an efficient model, but according to Forbes, 4 out of 5 employees consider telework a job perk. When polled, 2/3 of employees said they would take a different job just to ease their commute. On top of that 4 out of 5 sick days taken are estimated to be used for reasons other than the employee being sick. Telework reduces that number as well.
If you can escape the old mind-sets and paradigms, the Modern Workplace has tremendous value. There is so much money that can be saved if a work-from-home culture can be implemented. This can also reduce the tendency of some to micro-manage, as leadership is forced to adopt and focus on Results-Based Management outcomes.
If your first reaction is “My business can’t implement a work-from-home opportunity,” think creatively and look at the options available to you. The array of modern collaboration tools allow anyone to be seen and heard across the country and even around the world. Not only can we meet, but we can work shoulder-to-shoulder virtually through cloud-based technology. Take a good look at what you’re trying to accomplish with each department. Understand what each task requires. Even if they need to be in the office for some of the work, do they need to be there for all of it?
Most employer objections to telework are fear-based. I recommend anyone take an honest look at what your leadership is indexing to for daily quotas. As I told my own hourly-rate employees, I am not concerned with what they may be doing with their time, I am concerned that great work is being delivered. Have a clear standard set, so your employees know the expectations they can build on to set themselves apart. Fault no one for delivering to the standard and have a visible and valuable reward system for going above and beyond. This creates an environment of trust between employees and employers where the ultimate goal is that no one has to “look like they’re working,” they just need to deliver great work.
Secondary to the connected culture of a remote-enabled workforce are the tools of a Modern Workplace. The following are just a few of the business tools that help you realize on-time, high-quality delivery for your customers without requiring employee co-location.
Highly Connected Business Applications
- Microsoft Dynamics 365: This suite of products marries the Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Resource Management tool into a dynamic intelligence tool. It is a cloud-ready solution to help “achieve success on your own terms,” integrating data and business intelligence in a highly available system.
Compare with: Salesforce CRM and HubSpot CRM
- Microsoft Teams: Teams is much more than a messaging application and is more of a collaboration hub. Beyond enabling meetings to happen at a moment’s notice with users around the world, it also enables collaborative work through many other secure integrated applications as your team co-labors on the vision of your business.
Compare with: Slack, Zoom, and HipChat
- Power BI and Power BI Mobile: With Power BI, you can start small and grow your commitment as you learn to exploit the value of the tool. With the ability to aggregate data from disparate and varied sources, this cloud-ready business intelligence tool aims to deliver real-time, actionable information on most any platform.
Compare with: Google Data Studio and SAP Business Objects
Blueprint offers structure and training designed to help your organization transform with lightning-fast collaboration tools. Check out our story here and be sure to contact us when you’re ready to start a conversation.