Remote work is no fleeting trend. It’s here to stay, and more businesses are getting on board. In fact, the number of employers with a remote work from home option has grown 40% in the last 5 years alone—with no signs of slowing down.
As organizations start offering flexible remote work policies, they’re looking to those who have already done so successfully for guidance. That’s why we are here to give an overview of what remote work is and why it’s beneficial, then provide three solid examples of the best work from home companies so your organization can learn from the best!
What is Remote Work?
Thanks to modern business tools and evolving technologies, work no longer needs to be physically done in an office. This started the trend of “working remotely,” or doing your job outside of the traditional office setting.
Companies that offer remote work policies allow their employees to work in whatever setting is most productive and comfortable for them, whether that means their home, a local coffee shop, co-working space, or virtually any other location.
Why is Remote Work Such a Popular Trend?
Remote work is such a popular trend because it benefits both companies and their employees.
Benefits for Employers
Some of the greatest benefits for work at home companies that offer remote work policies include:
- More productive employees. Without typical workplace distractions like water cooler gossip, being grabbed for an impromptu meeting, and loud coworkers in common spaces, employees are able to stay focused and get more work done. In fact, employees who work from home at least once a month are 24% more likely to feel happy and productive at work than those who never work remotely.
- Higher employee retention rates. Happy and productive employees are more likely to stay loyal to their employer rather than looking to make a career move. Companies are catching on and using remote work policies as a powerful employee retention tool to keep top talent long-term and lower turnover costs. Those who do allow remote work are seeing 25% less turnover than those who don't.
- Reduced overhead expenses. Companies of all sizes can reduce their operating and real estate costs by letting their employees work from home. After all, with fewer employees physically in the office, organizations will need less space, desks, and materials, and use less water and electricity.
- Access to a wider pool of talent. Before remote work, employers were limited to hiring local talent or a candidate that was willing to relocate for the job. Now, businesses can break down talent barriers with the ability to hire the best talent and industry specialists for remote positions no matter where they live.
Benefits for Employees
Some of the biggest perks and advantages for remote employees include:
- Reduced travel time. Remote work means zero commute, which reduces the amount of time employees spend on a stressful trip to the office. Instead of arriving to work already frustrated from an hour in traffic, employees can wake up refreshed and hit the ground running right away, boosting productivity, morale, and satisfaction.
- A more flexible working schedule. Little things like being able to walk the dog without having to drive all the way home at lunch, fit in a mid-morning gym session, or scheduling a doctor’s appointment without having to take time off are a huge draw for remote employees. In fact, 40% of remote workers say a flexible schedule is the biggest benefit of remote work policies.
- Ability to choose your work environment. With remote work, you could choose to work in a silent co-working space on a day where you really need to focus—then work from a bustling coffee shop the next day if you’re in need of some background noise. This flexibility allows remote workers to work in an environment that is best for their working style as opposed to having to adapt their working style to fit their office.
- Money savings. It’s estimated that people who work from home only half the time can save $2,000-$6,500 a year on expenses such as gas, car maintenance, parking fees, a professional wardrobe, eating lunch out, and child care. This means they can spend more of their money on the things they love—resulting in happier and healthier employees.
3 of the Best Work from Home Companies
A recent study has revealed that 70% of employees globally work remotely at least once a week, with 50% working remotely for half the week. That’s a lot of companies offering remote work from home policies—but which come out on top?
Here are three of the best work from home companies that are offering the innovative remote work policies modern employees are looking for.
Source: American Express
American Express created their BlueWork program to help assign employees to one of four remote work categories through survey results. “Hub” employees are required to be in the office every day. “Club” employees are able to split their time between the office and remote locations, partaking in a mix of both in-person and virtual meetings. “Home” employees are based from home offices, which American Express helps to set up. They can work from home three or more days per week, and only need to come into the office for in-person meetings. “Roam” employees are typically traveling and working from customer’s offices, and are rarely required to come into an American Express office.
American Express claims this program has drastically improved worker productivity and morale. It’s also saved them between $10- $15 million annually in real estate costs! By allowing customization based on each individual’s preferences and job role rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach to remote work policies, the company has been able to effectively take advantage of this workplace strategy. The result? A happier, healthier, and more engaged workforce.
Source: @lifeatappen Facebook Page
Appen is a technology services company with offices in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines. They directly employ over 400 professionals and support almost a million contractors across the globe, and have made FlexJobs' top 100 list of work from home companies multiple times. The company prides itself on its "always accessible global workforce," and allows its employees to work from anywhere to "consistently meet the needs of its clients.”
Appen has a number of flexible roles that allow for remote work anywhere from five hours per week to full time, depending on the project. They say this flexibility enables their employees to customize their schedules to "fit the work around other commitments" or “supplement their income through a second job.”
While many companies might try to discourage their employees from taking time away from work for other passions, commitments, or sources of income, Appen has taken the opposite approach. Realizing that their employees have other responsibilities, empowering them to do everything through flexible remote work policies, and being transparent about it all makes their staff feel genuinely valued. Ultimately, this boosts workplace satisfaction, long-term employee retention, and productivity.
Amazon offers “virtual locations” (or work from home positions) to qualified individuals who live within 50 miles of their physical customer service sites. While some are full-time, they also offer part-time remote positions that provide a lot of flexibility and valuable perks. For example, a “Work from Home Seasonal Customer Service Associate” is a part-time position that typically entails 20-29 hours of work each week. However, during peak season (such as the holidays) or a major event (such as Prime Day), these employees could work up to 60 hours a week with overtime pay. This position also includes an employee discount, access to the Employee Assistance Program that provides 24/7 support and professional and personal growth resources, plus healthcare coverage after 90 days of employment.
Amazon’s various remote work options appeal to both full-time and part-time job seekers, and allow freelancers to work more or less depending on their availability and the time of year. This helps the company attract top talent that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to hire due to geographic limitations. Overall, Amazon is using technology and flexible remote work options to break down talent barriers in an innovative way!
What Makes the Best Work from Home Companies so Successful?
The best remote companies all have a few things in common when it comes to their work from home policies. If you want your organization to make the list of best work from home companies in the future, here’s five simple things yours should provide:
- Flexibility. The main draw of remote work is that it allows each employee to work in whichever way is best for them. But, implementing a one-size-fits-all policy that is the same for every single employee, regardless of their role or preferences, takes away from this flexibility. Make sure you’re working to create policies that are adaptable and customizable for various departments, job functions, and team members for optimal success and employee satisfaction across your entire organization.
- Clear expectations. While you want your remote work from home policy to be flexible, you don’t want to give employees so much free reign that they aren’t able to get their work done or can’t be held accountable for their tasks. Be sure each remote employee knows who they’re directly reporting to and working with, what their tasks are each week, who to reach out to if they have any concerns, and what the consequences are if they’re not meeting goals or completing their workload.
- Regular communication and feedback. Seeing as 17% of remote workers say their biggest struggle is collaborating and communicating, ensuring managers are consistently reaching out to their remote teams is essential. They should be regularly scheduling set times to check in about workload, progress on projects, and satisfaction, as well as reaching out through IM platforms such as Google Chat for quick reminders, comments, and questions throughout the day.
- Provide time for collaboration and teamwork. With 19% of remote workers claiming loneliness is their biggest struggle, helping them collaborate and build relationships with their team members is important if you want them to be as creative, engaged, and satisfied as possible. Managers can set aside time for their remote team members to get to know each other by hosting online group trainings so remote teams can learn new skills while also getting to know one another. You could even start virtual interest-based groups, such as a book club, to encourage remote workers regularly video chat about non-work related topics and build more personal relationships.
- Access to the right tools and technologies. If you want your remote work policy to be successful, you need to equip your employees with the tools they need to work on-the-go. In fact, companies that make the necessary business apps easily accessible from any device or location report 17% less time spent on manual processes, a 16% increase in collaboration, and 16% faster decision-making. After all, if your employees can’t pull up files, access business apps, or join conference calls remotely, it would be nearly impossible for them to get their jobs done outside of the office.
Do you want to be one of the best work from home companies so both your organization and its employees can reap the many benefits of remote work? Setting up a remote work policy is only the first step—giving your employees access to the right business workflow and collaboration tools necessary to carry it out effectively is the key to long-term success.
At Protected Trust, we believe a truly mobile and modern digital workplace is built on an ecosystem of Microsoft Teams and the Microsoft 365 platform. If you’re ready to implement these valuable tools and transform your remote work from home program, reach out to one of our experts today!