Are you dreaming of a life as a digital nomad but feel unable to even try because you don’t want to quit your job? Maybe it’s a good job and you enjoy doing it. Or maybe it pays well and you (think you) have no other options.
Don’t despair! More and more companies are seeing – and reaping – the benefits of letting employees work remotely. In fact, quite a few WiFi Tribers work remotely as employees of companies and never set foot in an office.
But if you’re the first to attempt this in your company, you might have some barriers to overcome. The biggest of which will be to convince your employer that letting you work remotely isn’t a loss for the company – it’s a benefit.
It really is! And we have the arguments to prove it.
Yes, there are studies...
Don’t worry, we’re not pulling these arguments out of our backsides. There have been a myriad of studies to back up our claims. If our arguments alone don’t sway your boss, having the results of legit studies and research on hand can be helpful.
For example, Nicholas Bloom found that home-office workers were more productive, got more done, worked longer hours, took less breaks, and used less sick time than their in-office counterparts. These happier employees also quit less than the regular office-workers.
Canada Life Group discovered that homeworkers ranked their productivity at 7.7 out of 10, as opposed to the score of 6.5 that office-workers gave. The study also revealed that employees working from home took less sick days.
In a survey on the "Surprising Differences in Workplace Happiness & Relationships” conducted by TINYpulse, an overwhelming 91% of remote workers stated that they got more work done remotely than when sitting at the office.
A study comparing the productivity of home-based versus office-based employees at a Chinese travel service provider found that people working from home completed 13.5% more calls than their office-based colleagues. Basically, the company got almost an extra work day out of them.
You’ve probably already spotted the most common denominators that all these studies have unearthed: remote workers lower costs while increasing productivity. Lets look at this more closely.
Companies with a remote staff save money. It makes sense if you think about it for just a second. Instead of paying rent for a large office space, companies can opt for smaller offices – or none at all. This means reduced costs on rent, utilities and equipment.
Even if you’re the only employee in your company working remotely full-time, someone else can sit at what otherwise would be your desk, saving the company that extra desk space and equipment.
Many companies also pay their employees’ commute to and from the office, in full or at least in part. Obviously, when the commute doesn’t happen, there’s no need to pay it.
Remote workers also pay for their own WiFi and electricity. Sure, those aren’t gigantic costs per employee if only a few are remote; but if half the staff works remotely, that will cut a company’s fixed costs down by quite a chunk. And if you’re working for a startup, they’re often looking for even the tiniest ways to save money.
In conclusion: Companies pay less on rent, utilities, equipment and transportation for remote-working employees.
Saving money is great, but that doesn’t help if your remote employee’s productivity tanks because he’s out living the high-life, watching Netflix or playing video games in his PJs or bungee-jumping off bridges in exotic locations instead of working.
At least, that’s what a lot of people think we remote workers end up doing when we’re unsupervised. The truth, as stated earlier, is actually quite different. Studies have found that productivity increases for remote employees. But why is this the case?
It’s obvious, really. As a remote employee, you enjoy quite a few advantages:
• Higher flexibility to work, rest, exercise, eat and socialize when it fits you as an individual
• Lower stress levels, as more studies have shown.
• More motivation to work at your own pace in your own time.
• Able to adapt to your own bio-rhythm; some people are most productive early in the morning while night owls do their best work later in the day.
All of which leads to the one important factor: improved work-life balance.
In conclusion: Remote employees experience a better work-life balance and are therefore happier employees. Happier employees are more motivated, less often sick and enjoy their work more. Hence, they are more productive.
The bottom line is...
If your boss has listened this far, he has probably already figured out one thing:
Basically, per remote employer, the company earns more money. That usually gets their attention, even if nothing else does.
Sure, you’re going to have to figure out together how you’ll be communicating and exchanging information with your employer and your colleagues when you’re not in the office. And it will have to be tailored to your specific type of work.
Sadly, not every type of work lends itself to remote work. As a kindergarten teacher, it’s impossible to keep an eye on your brood and interact with them properly via a computer. An assembly worker can’t put together a car without actually being present at his place in the assembly line.
On the other hand, it’s amazing what types of jobs can actually work remotely. Just check out our own remote recruiter Nichole! You’d think recruiters would have to interview people in person – but there are different ways of having a face-to-face conversation these days, thanks to the amazing advances in technology.
Pro Tip: When you have this benefits-of-working-remotely conversation with your boss, it’s a good strategy to also have suggestions ready on how you’re planning to keep in touch and exchange information. Then your employer will see that you’re not just interested in getting out of the office asap, but in making this work as smoothly as possible for everyone involved.
Hopefully these short, sharp bullet points will help you speak to your employer and negotiate a system that works for you and for them. Please feel free to add your comments below if you had to go through this process and check out where we're going next as inspiration!
Pia Newman is a copywriter, translator, virtual assistant and novelist. She finds her inspiration in many things, but above all in traveling around the world as a digital nomad and a happy member of WiFi Tribe. Follow both her novel writing- and digital nomad journey on her English blog, or find out more about her services, as well as her guidebooks on virtual assistance and earning money online on her German website