Remote work has become more popular over the years, but some companies are still reluctant to let their employees work from home. Even in fields where remote work is a logical option, such as computer programming, a majority of workers still show up to the office every day.
However, remote work offers some key advantages that employers may want to consider before they mandate every developer head to the office every day:
1. No More Times Wasted on Commuting
Commuting is a way of life in many fields, but experts have long known that lengthy commutes have a number of negative consequences in terms of work/life balance, employee stress, and more. Allowing your employees to avoid 10+ hours of commuting each week can help them focus on what really matters: working productively on the clock.
2. Distraction-Free Work
The workplace is full of distractions, and trends like open-plan offices have detrimental effects on productivity. Some of the most common tech company gimmicks — like ping-pong tables and lounges — only add more distractions.
Individual developers spend much of their time focusing deeply to solve complex problems. Peace and quiet may be necessary for developers to come up with the best solutions to difficult problems, but distraction is unavoidable in a typical office.
Remote work is empowering, as it allows employees to create and work in environments that are most conducive to their productivity. Some people prefer silence, and others find that music helps them focus. With remote work, everyone gets what they want.
3. Cut Down on Office Costs
Every employee who shows up to your office needs a desk, and square footage is increasingly expensive in hot labor markets like New York and San Francisco. Allowing employees to work from home cuts down on these costs.
Furthermore, many businesses in the software field grow rapidly, requiring them to take on more and more staff. Requiring everyone to come into the office also means that you lose weeks of productivity every time you have to move to a larger space.
4. Recruit Better Talent
Popular tech areas, including Silicon Valley and New York City, are expensive places to live. Even the relatively high salaries of developers do little to offset the burden that comes with living in these hot labor markets.
By allowing remote work, companies give employees the ability to live in more affordable areas. Letting talented employees live where they want can make your company more desirable compared to your competitors. Plus, if you allow remote work, you don’t have to limit your recruiting efforts to a narrow geographic space. You can hire the best developers no matter where they live.
5. Scheduling Flexibility
In some scenarios, it’s important for software developers to synchronize their schedules. In most cases, however, developers can set schedules that work best for them. Strict office hours might prevent employees from working at their most productive times of day, but with remote work, developers who thrive at night can work at night. Those who prefer mornings can work during the mornings. Regardless of when they work, you get developers who operate at peak performance.
Remote work can be frightening to some employers, but this trend shows no signs of slowing down. Remote work is something employees want, and businesses aiming to attract top talent will need to offer at least some remote working opportunities to stay competitive.
Kevin Borders is cofounder and co-CEO of Collage.com.