This month we welcome HBG Research Associate Heather Hoke to the blog. Even before she joined HBG, Heather had years of experience with the benefits of being a remote worker. In this week’s post, Heather shares her knowledge and some of the latest research on why virtual workers may make sense for your organization.
Are you looking to hire or retain a superstar fundraising researcher? Consider implementing flexible work arrangements, including work-from-home (WFH) policies. There are benefits to both employers and employees.
Based on what I see on Prspct-L and APRA’s Career Center, many nonprofits are hiring new staff in prospect development. There are some 5,300 colleges and universities and more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the US, and there are about 2,000 APRA members worldwide. As you can see, the potential pool of development researchers to be employed at these institutions is quite small. If you are not looking to hire now, you likely will be in the future. A survey released by CareerBuilder found that more than one in five employees are planning to leave their current place of employment during 2016, a 5% increase since last year. Why not do something that will keep your best employees and expand your hiring pool to include people that live in other states?
I have been fortunate enough to work from home at least part time since 2001. When people hear that I work from home, I usually get an excited response that they wish they could do that too. Based on an analysis by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 80% to 90% of the US workforce says they would like to telecommute at least part time. Offering WFH is a significant benefit that you can offer to existing staff and new hires, at no additional cost. In fact, you can realize cost savings by having remote employees.
The top reasons WFH makes good business sense…
- Employees are happier!
- They stay longer!
- Productivity increases!
- Employers save money!
- Unscheduled absences are reduced!
As researchers, we want to see some evidence…
A study by Stanford professor, Nick Bloom, evaluated the benefits of WFH and found workers were more productive, worked longer hours, took less breaks, and used less sick time than their in-office counterparts. Employees reported being happier and staff turnover fell sharply, dropping by almost 50% compared to the group who went into the office on a regular basis. The home-workers also reported higher work satisfaction and less “work exhaustion” in a survey. He estimated that the company saved around $2,000 per employee who worked from home.
Staples found that employees who worked from home experienced less stress, 76% were more willing to put in extra time on work since they did not have to commute, and said they are more loyal to the company since telecommuting. Furthermore, more than 80% reported that they were able to maintain a better work life balance. Other companies that have found a 35-40% increase in productivity among their telecommuters include, Best Buy, British Telecom, and Dow Chemical.
Forty-seven percent of Aetna employees telework, including 42% of supervisors and managers and 19% of staff employed less than one year. Its home-work policies contributed to employee retention at Aetna, where annual voluntary turnover of teleworkers is about 3%. It also lowered Aetna’s overhead costs, eliminating about $78 million attributable to real estate, heat, air conditioning and other amenities.
According to a survey done of job seekers by Flexjobs, 82% of respondents said that they would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options and 39% have turned down a promotion or have not taken or quit a job because of a lack of flexible work options.
Another potential benefit, is that some states including Virginia, Georgia, and Oregon offer financial incentives for businesses to adopt telecommuting.
Billionaire founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson touts that he has never worked from an office, and never will. He has been a vocal proponent of flexible work arrangements and gives his employees the option of where and when to work. He says, “Give your people freedom to be independent, and your business will reap the rewards.”
Considering these benefits to both employers and employees, it’s no wonder the number of telecommuters is on the rise. WFH (not including those that are self-employed) has grown by 103% since 2005 and 3.7 million employees now work from home at least part time.
Here at The Helen Brown Group, most of us WFH. We are a great example of how allowing your staff to have flexibility can lure top talent, boost productivity, increase morale and offer a work-life balance that we all need.