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The downfall of the office

August 1, 2019

By Mary Corrado, courtesy SBAM Approved Partner ASE

The remote work trend continues to grow.  More and more I’m reading about workplaces that are 100% remote. 16% of global companies are now fully remote and 52% of employees around the world work from home at least one day a week.  Will the office eventually go away completely?

An article on recently reviewed many of the benefits of remote work that is leading to this workplace evolution:

Increased Productivity – Remote workers tend to be more productive because:

  • They don’t need to commute into work.
  • They can finish their work on their own time.
  • They aren’t distracted by their coworkers.
  • They can take breaks when they need to.
  • Their schedule is more flexible.
  • They are self-motivated.

As you may know, ASE recently completed a three-month trial where a majority of our employees work remotely two days per week. Upon meeting with various staff members, the feedback I received coincides with the benefits listed.  The reduction on commute time is very significant to our team members. Now that the three month trial has ended , we have decided to continue with the two day per week remote option for our team.

Larger Talent Pool – With a remote workforce you can hire anyone. You are no longer limited to your locality.  Even within your locality, it opens up the pool.  As already mentioned, commute time plays a key role.  Allowing remote work also has been shown to improve employee retention.  Most studies I’ve read estimate a 10% improvement in retention.

Cost Reduction – Remote staff means you’ll need less real estate. It’s estimated that the average employer can save $10,000 per employee per year by allowing remote work. According to the Forbes article, Aetna reduced their footprint by 2.7 million square feet of office space resulting in a cost saving of $78 million per year.  Even on a smaller scale, the cost saving could be significant. When ASE’s lease expires late next year we will be looking at saving costs by reducing our footprint.

Remote Workers are Healthier – This was a new one for me.  I hadn’t read this before. It all has to do with the reduced stress associated with not having to go to the office and not having to commute. Commuting length has been associated with higher blood pressure and negative mood in the workplace.  Flex Jobs surveyed over 3,000 workers and found that 77% of respondents say they would be healthier if they had a flexible job and 86% would be less stressed.  Other studies back this up.  Reports show that 82% of remote workers report less stress.

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