Why your organization should try harder to make work from home the new normal

Why should you try harder to make your organization’s shift to work from home your “new normal”? Because you benefit substantially if the effort succeeds. There are many ways you can lower your costs of doing business when your staff is working from home.

A lot has been written about the way a shift to business operations from one office to many (in some cases thousands) of separate locations is a big drag on business. But little has been written about why this shift represents a benefit to your business’ bottom line and, at the same time, keeps a lot more cash in your employees bank accounts.

What is in it for my business if I can shift to work from home for my employees?

Finish Line: Remote work benefits both employees and employers“, written by Davana Pilczuk for the savannahnow website (published by the Savannah Morning News) is an example of “work from home positive” editorial content. Pilczuk presents costs most employers might not be thinking about because the old “normal” way of working made them mission critical, meaning costs employers had no option but to pay:

“The average cost of an office cubicle easily ranges anywhere from $1,200 to $3,500; that’s for the cube, the chair, desk and a guest seat for visitors.”

An early stage software business employing 200 people will struggle to pay $12K per month rent, or more, based on the numbers Pilczuk presents. But this same business, if it can successfully follow Google & Facebook, or Twitter, or Salesforce, can cut this cost in half. How? By making work from home a profitable reality on a hybrid model.  Why not select a small group of your total employees and ask them to travel to your central physical office one or two days per week? You can save thousands of dollars per month if this shift works.

The savings don’t stop with cheaper office space. Pilczuk mentions office supplies as another area of cost savings when work shifts to people working outside of a central office:

“At home workers almost always end up buying their own office supplies, postage, printer ink, office chair, computer accessories and the list goes on. These are all items that would be covered if people were at work. However, many work-from-homers simply choose to pay for those items out of pocket.”

What is in it for my employees?

Your employees will benefit too if the shift to work from home sticks. Here is a big one for employees: working from home means the monthly $360.00+ most commuters located in or in the immediate surroundings of major US cities have to shell out just to travel to a central office can be either eliminated or mostly reduced. Wonderful. Not to mention pocketing the clothing costs they would otherwise have to pay for dress clothes for the office (yes, some employers pre-pandemic were still pushing back against business casual dress guidelines for the office), dining-out costs for lunch, and, unfortunately, more.

So what is blocking more organizations shifting successfully to work from home? The answer is a big story in and of itself:

resistance to change

Most organizations are stuck in old patterns and hard pressed to find a way out. Even those organizations fitting our example, early stage software businesses, can be stuck in these old ways. Removing this resistance, unfortunately, is not an easy task. Eighty percent or more of organizations working on it end up failing. But given the enormous cost savings achievable from the shift, making the effort should be a no brainer. I hope you work on it.

Like this story? Here is a link to another you may find helpful:

Three reasons why a bet on work from home lasting longer than expected might be a winner

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