When a cubicle-dweller wants to convince his boss that their company should offer flexible work options, he may be tempted to focus on benefits to himself.
It’s clear that those benefits—avoiding a nasty commute, say, or improving work-life balance, or working from home in a quieter environment—are great for many workers.
But if he really wants to get his manager’s attention, our average Cubeville resident may want to focus on the company’s bottom line.
Evidence shows that work flex can save companies money in many different ways. So if you want to make the business case for flexibility to your boss, consider sharing some of these examples.
1. Flexibility brings increased productivity.
Several recent studies show that offering workers flex options can boost productivity.
For example, according to statistics compiled by 1MFWF supporter Global Workplace Analytics, AT&T found its telecommuters worked more hours at home than its office workers. JD Edwards teleworkers were shown to be 20-25 percent more productive than their office colleagues. And American Express employees who worked from home were 43 percent more productive than workers in the office.
When workers are more productive, the company saves money. Simple as that.
2. Recruiting and retaining workers is easier when flex is an option.
Every business manager knows that finding great new employees is not only challenging, but also expensive. Beyond the cost of advertising positions and conducting interviews, training people takes a good chunk of money. And then you have the productivity you lose while you’re bringing them up to speed.
By offering flexibility, you’re more likely to build a workforce that is happier and enjoys better balance. As we’ve noted previously on this blog, “Happier employees are more productive, more loyal, and less likely to be tempted to jump ship when new opportunities arise. All of that is good news for a company that wants to keep its quality employees.”
3. Companies that allow telecommuting can save on real estate and other related office costs.
Buying or leasing commercial office space can be a huge expense for a company, whether it’s large or small. By offering flexibility, like telecommuting, businesses can avoid some of that expense.
For example, the Global Workplace Analytics statistics mentioned earlier also show that the average real estate savings with full-time telework is $10,000 per employee per year. Specifically, the organization found that such options allowed IBM to cut real estate costs by $50 million, and Sun Microsystems saved $68 million a year in such costs.
That’s serious money, and much smaller companies also can see significant savings by offering flexibility.
4. Flexibility can lead to fewer work interruptions and less absenteeism.
According to information from 1MFWF supporter A Better Balance, absenteeism can cost some large employers more than $1 million per year. Workday interruptions to care for family can lead to similar large costs for companies.
Flexibility is one of the most effective ways to reduce those expensive problems. According to the organization, telecommuting alone cuts absenteeism by almost 60 percent. By giving people options, you allow them to keep working, and that saves money.
5. Hiring part-time or remote workers can allow companies to ramp up quickly without spending a fortune.
Some businesses may struggle to boost their employee numbers fast enough to keep up with rapid growth. And if they do hire quickly, the corresponding jump in payroll may be hard to swallow.
Again, flexibility is one potential answer to this problem. A business that hires excellent part-time workers can grow without paying the costs of full-time employees. Alternatively, a company can add telecommuters without buying or leasing more office space. Saving money is a good idea for any business, but it’s especially vital for one that is trying to grow.
6. Flexibility allows companies to match payrolls to seasonal shifts in employment.
This is a financial benefit that may be harder to see, but it shouldn’t be ignored. According to an article on the Forbes website, companies that have alternating busy and slow seasons can save money by focusing on flex.
“Giving employees the flexibility to work long hours during peak season and fewer hours during off season allows them to indulge outside interests,” the Forbes article said. “Some of these employees average out to 100 percent employment, others to 75 percent. Payroll goes up when income is high. When income is reduced so, too, are expenses. The company gains an unquantified but still real cash-flow advantage. Employees are happier.”
These are just a few of the ways flexibility can boost your company’s bottom line—but if you’re trying to make the business case for flex, these examples are a good place to start.
What other financial benefits can a company realize by offering flexible work options? How much savings have companies that you have worked for secured by allowing flexibility? Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments section.
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