Ever wonder what the most successful businesses (and those who shine on glassdoor.com) do that earns them happy, productive, and loyal employees?
Most companies offer sick time, vacation time, and benefits. Many give out holiday bonuses. But what makes the difference between a typical staff who follows the motions (but can’t wait to get home) and one that thrives and exceeds expectations?
It’s not just about finding the right talent from the beginning.
It’s much more about morale.
Bonuses are nice. But putting employees first for the long term is what makes a company great.
Give your employees flexibility and they will be forever grateful.
You will reduce the stress and frustration of bad weather traffic, lost vacation or sick time, and much more by offering them the option to do their work outside of the office once in a while.
We’re not implying that you tell your employees they no longer have to come to work and can just work at home from now on. Far from it. We are simply suggesting that you give them the capability, technology, and option to work remotely when it makes sense for their situation and their team. (More on this later.)
This is what makes a happy company. This is what makes for great morale.
And fortunately for everyone, technology – and especially modern communications – have made this shift very easy. Plus, numerous studies continue to prove that the remote work environment increases productivity at a statistically significant rate for most people. It makes them happy, which is even better for morale and the success of the company as a whole.
We understand it’s a big decision to allow an employee (or several) to “work from home” at all, let alone on a consistent basis. And it’s a very big decision that has been studied, debated, evaluated and observed for over a decade (check out any of our social media pages and you’ll see plenty of examples).
At first, many managers and owners are openly hesitant to make this choice because it means they will have to let go of the “supervisor” role in their minds. But think about that for a minute. Are they working for this company specifically to play babysitter? Do they have employees that are so untrustworthy that they actually need to be watched – or supervised – in order to do their job?
We hope not, but there are always bad fish. And those who do need to be monitored constantly are the ones who can’t be trusted to do their work in the first place, which is a bigger problem in itself.
But let’s just focus on the good fish (i.e. the employees you want to have around for the long term). There are two main reasons the average boss feels the need to monitor their employees at the office: (1) many people are easily distracted by coworkers, socialization, gossip and unnecessary meetings (planned and spontaneous), and (2) employees aren’t as productive as they should be all of the time, and could be wasting time “on the clock” if no one is keeping an eye on them.
Take a step back and think about how these two main concerns might be different if employees were doing their work outside of the office…
- Working remotely often means working alone at home, a café, or a library. This immediately eliminates the hallway chatters, break room gossip, impromptu “stop-by” meetings and more. Remote workers are much less distracted and more focused by default.
- When you take an outside look, how many of your employees were hired to be physically present from 8-5? Is their hourly presence the reason you are paying them? With the exception of receptionists and possibly other support staff whose positions require them to be available during certain hours (but not necessarily in physical locations), most of the people working for your company are there to perform the role they are best suited to fill in order to contribute their talents. Some may work slower than others, some may be very efficient, and, yes, some may be time-wasters.
But at the end of the day, they are being paid to do the work they’ve been hired to do, and whether it’s in the office where they are being watched (by someone who probably has more important work to do) or outside of the office where they have the freedom to do their jobs with more flexibility and fewer distractions, it’s up to them to get it done.
And the ones who are worth keeping around for the long term are the ones who will do even better work when they are trusted to do so without your physical supervision or direct observation.
Give them the chance to prove it to you.
Give them the gift of flexibility.
Stay tuned for the next article of this series: give them the gift of time.