There is a strong case to be made for both you and your employees to work remotely. The average travel time to work (commute time) in the United States is 25.4 minutes. This of course depends on location here is a link to a great time-wasting tool that shows commute times throughout the United States (https://project.wnyc.org/commute–times-us/mobile.html). The average employee attends about two meetings a day. Most employees admit to doing unrelated work during the meetings. Imagine the time spent walking or cost of driving or even the cost to flying to a meeting. Today’s technology empowers us to have an interactive work spaces where the traditional “meeting” is no longer necessary. The other case to be made for working remotely is productivity. As humans we are curious beings and social by nature. This might mean using search engines to find examples of how people waste time at work, talking with the person in the next cube, or staring out the window day dreaming.
Commute time is a huge time waster for most people. In the 90’s and early 2000’s people tried to be more productive on their commutes with smart phone and gadgets – that only increased problems – accident rates when up and laws are being passed to curb the distractions. I use my commute time as my quiet time without my kids. I would much prefer this quiet time at my home office, but accept the fact that my employer wants me behind a desk. I have listened to podcasts, audiobooks, and a variety of other non-visual entertainment on my commutes, but again, time would be better spent with zero commute time. My new business will be completely remote even as I start hiring employees. Processes and procedures must be established ahead of time to ensure expectations are met.
Meetings…everyone’s favorite time of the day. One ironic part of my job…I come to work to sit behind a desk and hop onto conference calls. Several times a week I will drive ½ mile over to our main office for meetings there. One thing that happens to me frequently when I am in those meetings – usually at least one person says – “oh I have that, but it’s at my desk…I’ll email everyone when I get back.” Or, we sit in silence as we read a report that was just given to us – that since it is so much information we need time to “process” and will discuss at yet another meeting. All of us have a digital device as we sit around the table, listening to the person talking our hand just reaches over to tap the device to see what time it is. Pretty soon you are checking email, texts, and your social media feeds. In the end, the organizer of the meeting says they will send out a recap of the meeting with our assignments. What if we skip the meeting concept and go with a shared space and project management platform that keeps track of who is doing what, when, and why. The where typically doesn’t matter.
Productivity is in my opinion the best case for a remote work strategy. As a mom who works outside of the home, I have always had “mom guilt” and have longed to spend more time with my little guys. Not a single employer of mine has been supportive of a remote arrangement. I am an accountant – I sit at a desk 8+ hours a day listen to music, attend meetings remotely or in person. There is no task I can not do from home. I have VPN access into our system – for the nights or weekends I take work home with me. That’s as flexible as they got. (To their defense – my schedule is flexible). When people work remotely, they are not worrying about being home for the delivery person or the furnace person. Additionally, “absenteeism” goes down as people are more engaged and “presenteeism” is not required in person.
Why does this all matter? As I start my own business – I am making decisions on office space, overhead costs, employee costs, etc. I want my future employees to be engaged and productive and I want to provide the best environment to encourage those traits.