Naturally, we’re big proponents of the advantages of virtual technology, which allows people to be anywhere, anytime. So we were happy to see that Forbes recently reported on the importance of a virtual or semi-virtual office environment when it comes not only to employee satisfaction, but also to a company’s bottom line.
According to the article, industry leaders like Aetna and American Express have reaped the rewards that come with offering virtual work options, including employee retention and satisfaction.
Through offering a work-from-home policy, Aetna has saved $78 million a year, after factoring in savings on real estate, utilities and other associated office expenses. Likewise, American Express claims that allowing employees to opt for a compressed workweek, reduced working hours, or telecommuting days saves $10 to $15 million annually, while improving staff productivity.
Forbes contributor Jeanne Meister says that offering flexibility helps companies attract qualified employees by showing that they are on top of emerging trends and innovations, which is particularly important to the younger generation of workers.
“Flexible policies signal that a company is willing to innovate, evolve, and adapt to a changing marketplace,” says Meister. “Talented recruits don’t want to land at a company stuck in the 20th century.”
Meister also points out a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, which indicates that 58 percent of HR pros believe offering flexibility options is key in attracting new talent.
Proponents of flexible work scheduling find it to be mutually beneficial: not only can it promote a healthy work/life balance for staff, it also helps the company attract quality candidates and save money – particularly important for small business owners.
So what can employers do to increase their flexibility? Fast Company lists Skype as one of the best telecommuting tools a professional can utilize to stay productive and efficient while working remotely.
And when it comes to recruiting, virtual technology like Skype offers unique benefits for small businesses – whose owners may have limited time and resources – including the ability to interview candidates who aren’t local.