For a while now my employer has been bringing up the remote work policy. Rumors fly every year that management wants to take it away, kill the policy. This bothers me, not because I personally work remotely, but because driving to an office 5 days a week for 8 hours a day is an antiquated view of the working mother.
It’s old. It’s tired. And it’s expensive, both for the employee and the employer.
It’s costly for the employer because they have to create and maintain a physical work space for you. You will take days off (loss of productivity) when there is a snow day or when your child is sick and cannot go back to daycare or school until the fever has been gone for 24 hours (this can take several days). The employer also has to deal with employee burn out or drop out. Many working mothers go back to work for a while, but ultimately drop out of the work force for some period of time. This costs the company money and resources. They need to post the job vacancy (should they fill it), spent time scanning resumes, scheduling interviews, employees sit on hiring committees, references are checked, then making an offer, onboarding, etc. From a financial perspective, it’s cheaper to keep the employees you have and treat them well. Happy employees are productive and loyal employees.
Working remotely is less expensive and saves the employer money. They don’t need to dedicate a cubicle for remote workers. They can offer flex space so there is a desk available if someone is in the office for a meeting or other ocaission. Many companies have these flex spaces. Any empty desk or cubicle could be designated for several remote employees to share.
Companies save money by not having employees take entire days or weeks off due to weather, child illness, etc. They don’t lose productivity. I would argue that they gain productivity. Having a flexible schedule that fits the needs of your family makes people HAPPY. Happiness has been related to improved morale and productivity in the workplace.
In fact, over the years I have grown to love my supervisor and RESPECT her. She is very supportive of work/life balance and remote work. I have a job that is deadline driven and those deadlines are set by the federal government. I can’t not get my work done.
I shatter the myth that employees can’t be trusted to work from home.
I shatter that myth every single day. Even more so because I do my job, am available for phone calls, meetings, etc, all while being at home with my 5 month old child. I am not special. I am not a type A. I am just an honest employee who understand the value of having this very flexible arrangement and do my best at my job each day so that this great opportunity keeps happening for me.
I am also more productive because I don’t have a commute to contend with. I can work longer if I am in the middle of something rather than having to stop because I have to beat the traffic to get my children from their child care provider. This also makes me more focused. I am not worried about the weather, early pickups, or half-days. I can stop missing my child and wishing it were already 4:30 because I am with my child already.
It would be a real loss if my employer does not continue to offer the remote work arrangements. Many employees utilize this benefit and would seek employment elsewhere if this goes away.
We live in a different time. It’s not the 1980’s or the 1990’s. Technology is light speeds from where it was then. Remote work makes sense in a global economy. You no longer need to only attract people from your locale to work for you; you can draw from across the entire United States or over seas. Remote work just makes sense.
Women had to fight to get their feet into the work place as anything other than a secretary, teacher or nurse. Outside childcare was the answer in the early days and became a booming business that is nearly unaffordable to today’s working families. Outside childcare was the working woman’s model, 40 or 50 years ago. Why are we still expecting this to be the answer for today’s working families?
With the research to support the benefits of remote work and the fact that being happy in your job increases productivity, I don’t see how the Boomer generation can ignore this and continue to propagate the status quo. Have they become “the man” they protested 60 years ago (“never trust anyone over 30”)?
Longevity is about renewal. Let’s encourage our workplaces to reshape what work life looks like for the millions of working families out there.
Did you know?
Just how much are they spending? Nationally, the average cost for a week at a child care center, for one child, totaled $196. An after-school sitter set the average family back $214 for 15 hours of work a week. And hiring a nanny topped $556 a week.”
This means on average, (4 x 196 = $784), families are spending $784 a month (more if the month has 5 weeks) or $10,192 a year for child care. This is not including the annual registration fee you pay or the non refundable “enrollment” and “application” fees. Child care costs are also significantly higher in dense or urban/city areas.