Six months into the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. economy is still gripped by the outbreak. Any semblance of recovery has been painfully slow, and there are some indications it could worsen before it gets better. With so much pressure to survive, businesses are searching for ways to adapt to the new normal. But there’s one key change many companies could make that might just get the economy back on track (and perhaps stronger than ever): having a permanent remote workforce.
Until there is a widely distributed vaccine, most people won’t be returning to the office. But,should they even when things get back to normal? I believe companies that can work remotely should do so permanently.
Not only does a remote setup ensure workers’ health and safety, but it also is good for business. At Hubstaff, we recently surveyed 400 business owners and managers to determine what insights they gained from the pandemic. The data showed that remote work helped prevent layoffs for 66% of companies, and 44.25% of companies expect remote work to increase profits. That means the more companies that can work remotely, the better off our economy will be as a whole. But, why is remote work the key? For several reasons.
Companies Save Money
Bottom line: having a physical office costs money. You’re paying rent, utilities, and office supplies. By having an entirely remote team, those expenses disappear. That now gives the company cost savings, which they can re-invest in a variety of ways. That leads to growth. They can even move their headquarters to lower cost of living locations if they are not wholly reliant on local talent. All of this allows for the capability of hiring more employees, which ultimately drives down that unemployment rate and injects capital into the economy.
Workers Are More Productive
Our study found 45% of companies expect remote work to increase productivity. Why? With team members in different time zones, you naturally extend the work day and allow people the flexibility to work when they are most productive. It also cuts out daily commute time, giving employees back several hours a week.
And maybe most importantly it means that employees are more in control of their time and can choose to block out interruptions and distractions from coworkers. In an office environment, it is all too easy to run over and interrupt someone with a question, and it’s the number one reason offices are so unproductive.
The Talent Pool Expands
Removing the restrictions of having to hire locally based on an office location means workers can come from anywhere and allow employees to live where they want. Usually, this is in smaller markets, which drives talent to smaller markets and enables the employee to live in areas where rents and homeownership costs are lower. The employees can now re-invest this extra capital into those local economies or savings and investments. Plus, companies now can help lower unemployment rates in local economies that would have a harder time bouncing back.
Employees Have More Disposable Income
Just how a company saves money by not having brick-and-mortar related expenses, so too does the employee. The typical worker in the U.S. travels 16 miles from home to work, that’s around $2,000 per year in gas expenses alone. And workers commonly pay to go out to lunch daily costing an average of $5 a day. With 250 working days in a year, that’s another $1,250 in a year. Add in the car repairs, drive-through coffee, etc. and savings quickly amount to thousands. All of that extra cash can now go back into savings, investments, or supporting the local economy with a nice dinner. The possibilities are endless, but they all benefit the economy as a whole.
Dave Nevogt, CEO and co-founder at Hubstaff