How Remote Jobs Help You Improve Productivity and Reduce Costs

Teleworking Provides Options for Recruiting Needed, Scarce Employees

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Remote Employees Add to the Diversity of Your Candidate Pool. Kevin Dodge/Blend Images/Getty Images

Is your company benefiting from a remote workforce? Whether you let employees work from home occasionally, or you have a formal program in place, remote jobs can help your company do business.

Let’s take a look at the companies and industries that already do this well, the most common remote jobs, and the benefits that remote jobs can provide your workforce.

Companies with the Most Remote Jobs

When it comes to remote jobs, you might think your industry or employees aren’t right for such an arrangement.

But there’s a surprisingly wide variety of companies from different sectors already taking advantage of large, formalized telecommuting programs.

According to an analysis of over 25,000 companies, the 10 companies that posted the most open remote jobs in 2013 were Xerox, UnitedHealth Group, Dell, Aetna, American Express, First Data, Humana, Westat, K12, and ADP.

Other notable companies in the top 100 included Apple, the U.S. Department of Transportation, PricewaterhouseCoopers, CVS Caremark, the American Heart Association, Cargill, Bausch & Lomb, and Lockheed Martin.

The industries represented by these companies are healthcare, information technology, education, nonprofit and philanthropy, and sales and marketing. And while most of these companies boast large workforces and human resources support, small- and medium-sized companies also run successful remote work programs from which they reap the benefits.

The most important factor to consider isn’t whether or not your company is a good fit for remote work on the whole, but specifically, which departments and jobs could thrive with telecommuting options.

Most Common Remote Job Titles You might wonder which, if any, of the jobs in your organization would make good remote jobs.

While the success of a remote worker has more to do with their own skills, their manager’s support and oversight, and having the right telecommuting tools, some remote jobs are more common than others.

From the companies that posted the most remote jobs in 2013, these were the most common career fields and job titles:

Management: Executive, Manager, Consultant, Project Manager

  • Customer Service: Customer Service Representative, Travel Counselor, Insurance Adjuster
  • Computer and IT: Engineer, Software Developer, Systems Analyst, UI/UX Designer, Graphic Designer
  • Healthcare: Case Manager, Medical Coder
  • Communications: Writer, Editor, Interpreter/Translator, Adjunct Faculty
  • Sales and Marketing: Marketing Manager, SEO/Marketing Assistant, Sales Representative, Director of Business Development

Looking at this data, it’s more clear which jobs can be done remotely, and where to implement remote work options at your company. But the larger question is this - why should you consider remote jobs in your organization? How do remote jobs benefit your workforce and your company?

The Benefits of Remote Jobs for Your Company

While the benefits of remote jobs are particular to each company and ultimately depend on how well you implement your remote work program, three benefits are fairly universal: increased productivity, reduced operating costs, and expansion.

Increased Productivity

Once considered the opposite, employees who work from home are often more productive than their in-office counterparts. A 2013 experiment by Stanford University, the first of its kind, found that employee performance increased 13% when people were allowed to work from home.

Furthermore, rates of attrition and turnover fell by 50% in the same study, and workers reported substantially higher job satisfaction while working from home.

How can you replicate these results in your own organization? Give your employees the option to work from home, rather than mandating it across the company. Employees who prefer a quiet work environment and those whose work is primarily reliant on phone and computer tasks are particularly well-suited to remote jobs.

Reduced Operating Costs

Having employees work from home will save your company a substantial amount of money - a huge selling point if your managers and executives aren’t otherwise convinced.

The biggest savings comes from reduced overhead and operating costs, such as real estate, utilities, relocations, and ADA compliance.

The company in the Stanford experiment saw a $2,000 savings per remote employee, per year, prompting them to open up remote work options for the entire company. Data from Global Workplace Analytics shows that the average real estate savings from full-time remote work is $10,000 per employee, per year.

IBM cut their real estate costs by an estimated $50 million through remote work. By not having to relocate employees, Nortel estimates that it saves $100,000 per employee.

To convince management, do your own estimate of how much your company stands to save by allowing employees to work from home.

Expansion through Remote Jobs

Expansion through remote jobs happens in a few different ways.

In recruiting, hiring remote workers helps you expand your candidate pool outside of a limited geographic location. You’ll no longer need to rely only on local candidates, or those willing to relocate for your job. Depending on your company’s tax structure, you can recruit from across the country or the world, finding the best people for each role in your organization regardless of their location.

Additionally, remote jobs help you expand into diverse candidate pools you’re most likely missing with traditional in-office jobs. People with disabilities, moms returning to the workforce, and military spouses are just a few of the populations with a big interest in working remotely. By not hiring for remote jobs, you may miss them completely.

In terms of company expansion, remote jobs eliminate the need to open regional offices in order to expand into new sales territories. Hire remote workers who are based in your targeted expansion areas.

Sales and business development are two of the most popular remote jobs, and they’ll help your company test the waters without committing huge resources.

How to Get Started with Remote Jobs

If you think remote jobs will benefit your organization (and they will), it’s important to create a program that works for your particular staffing matrix and company needs. Do some research to find out what similar companies are doing in terms of remote jobs, read these 5 Key Steps to Implementing a Successful Telecommuting Program, and start with a small pilot program to test and reshape your assumptions.

If you plan and do the necessary work up-front, your remote work program will be successful and make quantifiable contributions to your organization’s future.

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