Companies spend stratospheric budgets on branding activities, recruitment PR-campaigns, fancy presentations about missions and values, Welcome Days, corporate parties videos distribution and other stuff bullshit to attract and retain top tech talent. But do not exploit the benefit that can play a critical role in accepting or rejecting a job offer nowadays – work from home option.
Frankly, hi-tech companies do not differ much in their work conditions and available perks, so if a software engineer gets two equal or slightly different job offers, statistically priority will be given to the one that offers remote work opportunity. This is why at the job interviews, only the lazy don’t ask about the possibility to work from home, if not from the first day, then at least in the future.
In 2019 remote work or work from home is not a hype or a trend anymore. This one of the available forms of teams and work process arrangement. Even must-have in the modern urban environment for the generation with a work-life balance as a top priority.
And it is crystal clear why for many people it is an indisputable motivating benefit – the bonuses it gives can not be compensated in any other way. Here are the most frequently named:
- Saving money and efforts. Commuting time with rush-hour traffic jams (some locations seem to have never-ending congestions) absurdly increased and gets people stressed and tired before they even get to work. Also, working from home one can expect to give away less money on food and clothing.
- The retained time can be spent on self-development and education.
- Avoiding the disrupting atmosphere of open-plan offices with its continuously accelerating time waste and sustained anxiety.
- Flexible schedule which enables people to have more qualitative rest and work on their own productivity peaks (though the room for manipulation is not that big here as may seem at the beginning, but still), which increases both efficiency and creativity.
- Work-family balance. It was proved that being able sometimes to make personal issues priority decreases stress levels and improve general well-being and happiness level.
However, work from home is not a “one-way street” case. There are also distinct benefits for companies, such as:
- Measurable financial and resource savings. Money usually outlay for rent, furniture, equipment and utilities can be invested in company development and retained space can be used for creating a comforting atmosphere in the office (arrange extra facilities like meeting rooms, rest zones, etc.)
- Faster, easier and cheaper recruitment. Companies offering work-from-home option face less competition and their chances to hire great talents double or even triple. So, they hire faster and cost per hire decreases. Moreover, they can enjoy passive recruitment more than anyone else. However, what is the most beneficial, they may start working with “best of the best” because with work from home option only the sky is the limit.
- Differentiation amongst those employers that don’t implement work-from-home practices, the company that does, can become kind of a unicorn, mystical, desired and well-recognised.
- More mature and developed workers. Well, it is not a secret that work from home is not for everyone: despite the physical possibility to stay at home and arrange a working place there, it requires a certain level of maturity and cast-iron self-discipline. And most issues companies have with remote workers can be eliminated with the help of the right hires – people ready to take responsibility for their action and continuously develop competencies.
- Happier, more satisfied and loyal employees. Such a conclusion was reached by researchers of Pennsylvania State University, who surveyed and analysed 13 thousand remote workers. I do not see any grounds for mistrust, do you? Productive employees = met deadlines. No doubt that happy, satisfied, mature employees produce greater results!
Despite the obvious advantages for both parties, working from home is still the job dream situation for millions of IT specialists. Only certain companies attained to the idea, and workers at limited job positions (primarily senior-level specialists) can enjoy the privilege of working from home.
The most frequent reasons/fears/myths mentioned are:
- Underwork (working less than 40 hours weekly). Frankly, do all office busy bees work 40 hours a week sharp? No. If to subtract coffee breaks, smoking, corridor small talks, being stuck in ineffective meetings, lost hours awaiting late colleagues, how much is left? Over the course of an eight-hour workday, the average employee works for about three hours states Business Insider.
So, in this respect, work from home is not that bad or ineffective.
And, well, you can always introduce remote Scrum meetings, daily calls, use Slack or any other chat to see what is going on during the day. Plus, task tracking systems will help ensure the job is done on time. Anyway, you buy their talent, not their time.
- Communication mishaps. Communication is probably one of the key reasons for all the problems in any company. Distance may intensify them, but not that much. With modern world opportunities, communication means and channels, this gap can be reduced to a minimum. Moreover, the unresponsiveness of teammates is always a more personal issue. Hence, well-establish processes, and overall communication will go swimmingly.
- Roadblocks in management. Some employers believe that if the employee does not have a manager behind the back, monitoring them round the clock, then they bungle a job and miss deadlines. However, when in the office, do the managers continuously look at the workers’ computer screens and ask what they are doing every half an hour? If yes, then it is not a manager and hyper controlling micro-managing moron with an inferiority complex. Autonomous, well organised, professional adults do not need constant supervision. So, here, stakeholders should decide whether they want to excel and provide corresponding freedom and trust?
- Staff turnover. Come on. Retention of tech talent is a troublesome issue worldwide. And not because specialists can go to job interviews uncontrollably during work hours, but because something is missing or not done correctly by a current employer. So, do not blame work from home, but start at home!
Definitely, there are much more objections against implementing work from home practices, but mainly they are lame excuses to cover companies’ reluctance to learn and change.
As there is always room for negotiation, alternatives and agreements. For example, companies may start offering a mixed schedule (1-2-3 days from home) or offer work from home option only for high performers, suggest some kind of work-from-home probation period or test people for the need skills, whatever. In my opinion, options here are limitless here and worth trying, and bonuses – competing for.