The Financial Benefits of Having a Flex Work Environment
By Dale Lawrence
There is ample evidence that most organizations see productivity gains when their workers are able to work in a flexible environment, whether entirely based in their home office or flex between the office and their home. This doesn’t mean everything is rosy and the recent and sudden movement home during the pandemic saw many workers having to share workspace with their families. This wasn’t ideal but necessary. However, now that most businesses are beginning their journey to work in the new normal, it is time to evaluate one aspect that can provide real savings for your business. Flex Work as a permanent work style. There is data to prove it.
A recent two-year study by Stanford in which 500 call center workers using the same equipment were split into two groups (one at the office and the other in a designated space at home) found the equivalent of a full day’s work additional productivity, reduction in attrition and fewer lost days to illness. This has been seen in other companies as well, but this study demonstrated many benefits, including financial ones.
Some of the key findings:
• 13% improved performance
• 9% increase in total minutes worked
• Once lower performing employees were shifted back to the office in phase two, the new remote working group saw even better results with a 22% increase in performance
• 50% reduction in attrition leading to lower recruitment and training needs
Attrition is Halved by Working from Home
But what about the hard savings for the company?
The same study also concluded that the company saved $2000 per employee in rent savings, lower attrition and improved performance. This benefit would lead to year-over-year benefits for the organization including:
- A permanent reduction of leased space in major cities. Examples of typical commercial rental costs per square foot in 2017:
- Washington D.C. – $595
- Boston – $550
- Auston – $486
- Denver – $284
- Atlanta – $239
- Salt Lake City – $187
- St. Louis – $168
- Lowering of heating, cooling, lighting costs for office space;
- Shift from often very high costs for dedicated internet for business offices to the more reasonable residential home version. Even if the company subsidized monthly home WiFi, there likely would be some savings depending on needs;
- Reduction or elimination of rental or purchase of office furniture;
- Decrease for funds allocated for parking for employees;
- Lower costs for job postings and time allocated by managers and Human Resources for recruitment.
Is This the Right Approach for Every Employee?
Not necessarily. Once the first phase of the study was complete, they analyzed overall performance and found that historically poor performing employees should not be selected for the work-from-home option but should be either in the office or flex between the two. Once an evaluation of which employees qualified for remote work, performance increased even more.
Once the experiment concluded, the company rolled out the learnings across all teams and saw long-term improvements in performance and cost control. Their workers increased output and improved their ability to serve their customers even better.
Selection Further Increased the Performance Impact of Home Working During the Company Roll-Out
While not for every employee, most companies have the ability to shift some or most employees to a Flex Work model. In some cases, as Propulo found for our workforce, all employees can work entirely from home and see massive savings. Yes, the organization must transition carefully in order to ensure processes and productivity are managed properly but it is worth it from many aspects, including financially.
At Propulo, our team has the expertise to help your business plan and implement a sensible Flex Work strategy without pain. We work with you to enable your worker’s discretionary effort, company culture and processes are able to shift properly and continue to deliver results for your organization and customers.