Why Do Some Employers Fear Remote Work

iStock_000025587491_SmallIn your organization, are terms like “telecommuting” and “flex work” music to management’s ears – or sources of real fear?

For years, Mom Corps has extolled the virtues of flexible work arrangements for employers and employees alike. Still, lack of information, persistent stereotypes and ill-founded worries prevent companies from leveraging the myriad benefits flex work delivers.

Here are a few of the most common fears employers still have:

Employees will slack off. Not surprisingly, many managers fear that remote workers will take advantage of their freedom and “slack off.” But in reality, the exact opposite is true:

Flex work only benefits employees. From improved nutrition to decreased job stress, the employee benefits of telecommuting and other flexible work options are extremely well documented. But the advantages aren’t one-sided! In recent years, countless studies have been published which clearly show that flex work is smart business:

  • Research cited in this Harvard Business Review article indicates that organizations officially permitting remote employee work at least three times per month were more likely to report revenue growth of 10% or more within the last year – as opposed to organizations without such policies.

  • A Global Workplace Analytics meta analysis provides solid evidence of the cost-savings flex work options create:

  • Increased employee satisfaction. Employees consider workplace flexibility (including the ability to telecommute) a high priority, one that greatly impacts their satisfaction with work.

  • Reduced attrition. Forty-six percent of companies that allow telework say that it has reduced attrition, and research cited in an Inc.com post lists a lack of work/life balance as the second biggest reason employees quit their jobs. Flexible work options enable professionals to achieve the work/life mix they want, ultimately decreasing turnover costs.

  • Improved attendance. Most employees who call in sick aren’t really ill; they have family or personal issues to deal with, or are simply stressed. Providing greater flexibility through remote work options allows employees to fulfill non-work commitments without missing a full day.

Managing remote workers is too challenging. True, managing a dispersed team can be intimidating. It’s not necessarily harder than managing a traditional workforce; however, it just requires a different approach. Here are a few strategies for creating and maintain a high-functioning virtual team:

  • Choose self-motivated, disciplined team members who communicate well in writing.

  • Establish a work process that naturally flows from east to west, with time zones.

  • Set realistic deadlines for projects that incorporate remote work, to allow for inevitable technology snafus or other distance-related problems that can delay projects.

  • Find ways to combat the feelings of isolation and insecurity remote workers often experience: avoid sarcasm in distance interactions; handle sensitive issues with discretion; and provide regular, timely feedback.

To remain competitive, your organization must get past its fears about remote work – and start offering the flexibility your employees require. Mom Corps is here to help! With local professional staffing and search offices from coast to coast, we provide rapid access to exceptional talent to support your team’s need for greater flexibility.

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