Unexpected and scary as it might seem, the fact is that right now, remote working is quickly becoming the new normal. The spread of COVID-19 has caused companies to flock to telework as an alternative to keep their staff and clients safe while continuing operations. Naturally, this sudden switch is concerning for those in the financial department, worrying about the potential negative impact. However, there is also a substantial potential economic benefit to having staff work from home, and not just in the short-term!
The daily cost of business-as-usual is high – higher than many even consider. The price of office space, equipment, maintenance, and worker travel expenses all add up for both employees and business owners. It’s not only these either; think smaller, from business clothes to lunches to work phones, everything costs money in a way that could potentially be avoided by remote working practices, especially in our increasingly digital and intercommunicating world.
There are a whole host of potential financial benefits for both employees and employers from remote working, especially as more and more jobs are done online and can, therefore, really happen from anywhere. Here are four main benefits to consider.
Save on the Commute
This one is especially for employees, but it also applies to those employers who contribute to or cover travel expenses. It’s just a fact: travel is expensive. Unless you are lucky enough to live within walking distance, the work commute costs daily for bus tickets, gas, and insurance for your car, a metro pass, or any other way to get to work other than your own two feet. It’s not just that, though; there’s a draining emotional cost to spending hours traveling, too. Back to financials again, for those who drive, every mile you spend driving too and from work is a mile depreciated from your car’s value – losing your money when you eventually trade-in. If you live with someone who also works, you likely have to pay all these fees twice!
On average, cutting out travel costs can save $100/month for every employee. That kind of money can add up fast, whether saving for something specific or being placed in an investment. For employers, it’s the kind of money that could go towards employee morale, better hardware, or other promotions for the business.
If you live in the city and can swing it, getting rid of your car entirely can help you save even more money! No insurance and no gas costs mean less outgoing income, which is rarely ever a bad thing.
Money is time, and time is money.
Cliché? Perhaps, but it exists for a reason. Without getting too morbid, our time is limited, and every minute is precious. Even outside of that, from a purely business sense, time spent traveling is time not spent working! The average travel time for an American going to and from work is around half an hour each way. Using this average gives an output of five hours per week, and 260 hours – 32.5 days – per year spent on the commute alone.
Remote working eradicates this, and the benefits to the employee are apparent. Meanwhile, the employer may be handed those extra five hours for more meetings, quicker customer responses – anything that will boost productivity. A relaxed employee who hasn’t had to sit on a city bus is going to be more helpful, too!
This one is just for the employees, because if we’re honest, no matter how much we love our jobs, we rarely want them to be forever. The only way to speed up retirement is by having the money to support yourself – and the modest savings here and there when you work remotely are perfectly capable of helping you do this. Even if you only save a small amount each month, putting it away for later will build up, and every saved penny is a saved second of work in your later life. And there’s more potential to have money to save when you’re working from home, too: use the extra commuting hours to put in some overtime, and you’ll earn it back at the other end!
The remote staff has a lot of apparent benefits from telework, but vast amounts of money can be saved by business owners, too. Surveys put the number of employees who would prefer the option to telework over a raise at around 1/3 – meaning you save money on wage increases and have happier employees to boot. You can potentially save tens of thousands of dollars per year, too, on expenses like:
- Office space (especially in big cities!)
- Relocation packages
- Location requirements on job listings (limiting potential employees and wage restrictions)
When physical locations are required, renting or sharing is easy enough.
Hiring remote staff is not just a temporary problem-solution in response to the virus, then, but a way forward that could potentially benefit employers and employees alike permanently.