Your office building is burning down. Let it.
By Molly Middleton, Recruiting Manager at Praxent
Remote teams and telecommuting technology are disrupting the traditional 9–5 office culture. Remote work is no longer just an experiment – successful companies of all sizes are adopting a progressive, flexible work environment that empowers team members to do more with less. And the icing on top of the cake? Everyone is happier.
Family members balk when I mention I am working from home. It’s a foreign concept that their generation hasn’t gotten on board with yet. My aunt recently retired from her job of 40 years. The company didn’t even allow them to wear jeans. As a manager herself she had to let her manager know if she needed to leave 5 minutes before she was “allowed” to. Needless to say, she’s floored when I speak about my company’s flexible work hours and environment.
Our CEO, Tim, mentioned in a recent town hall that he intentionally chose to foster a remote environment because he found that it allows for creativity to flow freely. Why is this? I genuinely think it’s because we humans and Americans value our autonomy and freedom. None of us like feeling trapped or powerless. At Praxent, we believe that where you do your best work is where you should do your work. No strings attached.
For me personally, I do my best problem solving and brainstorming when I’m moving. Read: most of my problems are solved during my nightly walk, versus behind my computer screen. I’d be willing to bet many of you are like this, too.
According to a recent article published by Forbes, employees are happier with their flexible, distributed work environment. Employees are more productive, they can take breaks when they need, they are less distracted, and they can allow life to happen on life’s terms without feeling the looming-work-guilt-cloud following them. Most professionals commute between 30-60 minutes in and out of the office. Allowing folks to work from their home five days a week saves 5-10 hours in which they can feel and be even more productive.
Distributed workforces are healthier.
Employers are happier with this type of work environment because they’re saving money on health related costs, they’re retaining talent longer, their employees are missing less work due to “sickness,” and the team morale is much higher. It cannot be forgotten that wellbeing isn’t just relegated to physical health, but includes mental and emotional health, too. Commuting has been correlated with high blood pressure and negative moods.
In my case, there are inevitably at least two days a year in which I sleep through my alarm. In the past, I have woken up in a frenzy, rushed through the house to get everything together and ready, forgotten something, then sped through traffic in order to get to work. Then you feel guilty, out of sorts, and your day is off on a bad foot before it even starts. Since joining the Praxent team, however, I once slept through my alarm and immediately felt tension in my body cease when I realized that it’s okay to join my morning meetings remotely and then head into the office an hour or so later.
What’s stopping you?
The main reason employers don’t foster this type of environment is due to a perceived lack of productivity, and an assumption that employees won’t honestly commit to their work. But where’s the proof of that?
To overcome these trust issues, approach things from a point of view of listening to employee needs to maximize resources. If you knew your kid’s favorite candy was Kit Kat, would you try to bribe them with a 3 Musketeers? No – because it probably wouldn’t foster the optimal result. If we want something from someone, and we have access to what might move us in the direction of getting what we want, then why not utilize our resources?
As a Recruiting Manager, I speak with candidates all day long. At least 80% of my interviews conclude by talking about culture and remote work flexibility. I often hear that the reason they’re talking to me is because of our remote work flexibility policies. For those employers struggling with talent acquisition strategy who haven’t adopted a distributed workforce yet, feel empowered to challenge the status quo.
At a recent conference I attended, I spoke to another talent acquisition employee who mentioned having a tough time recruiting because his company didn’t allow a remote environment, and candidates didn’t want to move to the company’s headquarters. Can you imagine the talent that company is missing out on by limiting their workers to a physical location?
Ready or not, the remote workforce is here, and it’s scaling. It’s your turn to choose if your company will sink or swim. As we at Praxent like to say, “Someone (or in this case, something) is going to disrupt your business. Make it you.”