According to a worldwide study, approximately 70 percent of global employees worked remotely at least once a week in 2018, while 53 percent telecommuted closer to half the week. These figures are significantly higher than studies from previous years, where Gallup found that 43 percent worked from home at least sometimes in 2016 (and 39 percent in 2012). As telecommuting acceptance and the number of remote employees continues to balloon, employers must learn to appreciate the significant value remote employees bring and support their unique needs. If you have ever worked from home, then you know how it feels when you are truly supported as a remote employee—and how it feels when you aren’t.
During a two-year study conducted by Nicholas A. Bloom, an economics professor at Stanford University, remote employees were found to have increased productivity by 13 percent and decreased turnover by 50 percent. Remote employees are happy, engaged employees! And as employers, optimizing the employee experience should be our number-one priority: research consistently confirms that employee experience impacts everything from retention and productivity to sales outcomes and the bottom line.
Employers eager to benefit from this emerging segment of today’s workforce are offering exceptional benefits and incentives to attract top talent, including:
- Housekeeping services for the entire home, not just the area used for work
- Cash bonuses for not checking email or doing anything work-related while on vacation
- Reimbursements for the costs of relocating to more affordable areas
- Flexible schedules, vacation time and paid parental leave
- Gym memberships
Here at Ultimate Software, remote employees represent 40 percent of our workforce. Our corporate culture is driven by putting our People First—wherever they work and in whatever capacity. We understand that not every role in the company needs to be a typical in-office role, and we fully embrace having virtual job opportunities in nearly all of our departments.
Some of the ways Ultimate Software supports its remote employees and consistently ranks as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For include:
- An allowance of $500 for full-time and $250 for part-time remote employees to purchase office furniture and accessories
- A $100 monthly allowance for the purchase of office supplies like pens, highlighters and paper
- A $75 allowance to offset the monthly expense of high-speed internet service
- A $50 allowance each month for employees who use their personal cell phones for business use
- Virtual classes and other online learning opportunities that enable remote employees to learn and advance their careers without the inconvenience of travel
- Care packages full of shirts, hats and other Ultimate Software swag sent to their homes
- Co-working events hosted in cities all over that bring perks available at our corporate offices like masseuses, catered breakfasts and lunches to remote employees
- Three UltiService days each year employees can use to volunteer in their communities and receive full pay
- Department retreats and team meetings that allow remote employees to connect and collaborate with their teammates
With the clear potential for increased productivity, employee satisfaction and profitability (as well as significant recruiting appeal), the demand and availability of telecommuting options is likely to continue increasing. Savvy employers looking to capitalize on this trend will need to find innovative ways to support their employees, wherever they may be.
To learn more about the six different types of virtual employees, their unique needs, and how to keep them engaged, check out our “Virtual Employees: Employee Experience (EX) Case Study.”