If it seems every third person you know does his or her job from home, or sets up shop at a local coffeehouse, it's because remote work has really taken off in recent years. Technology makes it easy for employees to telecommute, and so folks whose jobs don't require their physical presence at an office are increasingly asking for permission to work remotely, at least on a partial basis.
The good news is that many employers are saying yes, recognizing the need for more flexibility on their part. The bad news, however, is that not all companies are getting on board. As such, a good 36% of employees are considering leaving their current jobs because they don't have the ability to work remotely, according to a new report from Randstad US.
If your employees are begging for the option to telecommute, it's time to rethink your stance and accommodate them to some degree. Otherwise, you risk losing key talent to competitors who aren't as rigid and behind the times.
Why workers crave flexibility
These days, a large number of employees are struggling to achieve a good work-life balance. Part of the reason is that many feel pressured to be perpetually available to their employers and, as such, are compelled to log on after hours or on weekends to address job-related needs. And again, technology makes it easy for employees to work all the time.
But workers want to experience the flip side of easy remote access to work -- they want the option to do their jobs outside the office. Once allowed, employees can work from home when their kids are too sick to attend school, or when they're required to let service people into their homes to tend to maintenance items. Employees can also work from different cities to experience various cultures -- all without having to use up their limited vacation days.
This flexibility can have a huge impact on workers' outlook, and output. And when it's denied as a matter of course, it can demotivate employees to give their jobs their all or drive them to the point where they're ready to quit. Neither is beneficial from an employer standpoint. Therefore, if you've yet to embrace the remote work trend, revisit your company's policy. That doesn't mean allowing workers to do their jobs remotely all the time -- there's still a value associated with face-to-face interactions, and there are still those tasks that demand in-person teamwork. What it does mean, however, is adopting as much flexibility as you can without hurting your business.
You might start by allowing employees to do their jobs from home one or two days a week, or during periods when the work itself is less collaborative. Or you might green-light remote work on an as-needed basis -- say, when an employee needs to be home to oversee a repair or watch children when school isn't in session. There are plenty of ways your company can be more flexible about remote work, and the sooner you get on board with it, the less likely you'll be to see your most valued employees jump ship.
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