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9 Signs You Should Let Your Employees Telecommute

September 11, 2015

Working from home: it’s a very hot topic these days as the workforce, especially in the startup world, becomes more competitive and more global. It’s also become a very polarizing issue, with people advocating strongly on either side of the debate. In 2013, Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer famously banned working from home for Yahoo employees, while companies like 37Signals are having so much success going entirely remote that they’re writing bestselling books about the experience.

So you’re running a company, trying to wrap your head around the Great Remote Work Debate. Not sure where you stand on the issue? Here are nine signs you might be more ready for the remote lifestyle than you think.

You’re running out of office space.

It’s no secret that startups have a troubling rate of failure these days. Those startups that do succeed often do so by focusing on hyper-growth tactics. Clearly, growth is important for the long-term stability of your company. Why let a cramped office environment hold you back? Plus, employees might not enjoy having to work in a claustrophobic environment, especially one where…

The office is too noisy.

Sometimes, people can thrive on bustling work environments. But only sometimes. The rest of the time, it might be nice to have a little peace and quiet, so you can, you know, hear yourself think. Especially if your employees are on the phone a good portion of the day, you might consider letting them work from their homes, where it might be a little less noisy. But if you need still another sign that your company should go remote, you can probably agree with this sentiment:

The rent is too damn high.

via Shutterstock

Unless you’re headquartered in Montana—not that there’s anything wrong with Montana—the rent for your office space is probably one of your biggest operational expenses. And it’s not going down any time soon. If you’re pushing for growth, why not cut a few unnecessary costs and let your employees work from home. You’ll be that much better off if...

You need to increase everyday efficiency.

Now, because the rent is too damn high, it’s quite possible that your office is somewhere out in the suburbs or even further, not in the center of a city where no one can afford to have an office. This most likely means that your employees have a commute every day. Let’s face it: nobody likes commutes. You don’t like it because your employees show up to work late. Your employees don’t like it because traffic jams are a nightmare and crowded trains are, well, crowded trains. Skype is faster than a car anyway. Let your employees telecommute.
Companies like Toptal have the remote work lifestyle down to a science. Learn from their example, especially if...

You need to improve employee morale.

Let’s face it: sometimes startups can be stressful environments. You’re operating on a tight budget, trying to stay ahead of the curve, and oftentimes you have to do all that without being able to pay your employees. Sure, they love working for the company that’s truly going to change the world, but it might be a good idea to give them more flexibility in their work environments if you can’t exactly give them a paycheck every two weeks. At least let them work from the comfort of their own homes. It’s the least you can do. Simple allowances like letting your employees telecommute will also go a long way if…

You want your employees to stick around.

Because the startup culture is so volatile, employee attrition rates can be high. And that’s a shame. You don’t want to be losing employees right in the middle of your hyper-growth push. So why not make them as comfortable in their jobs as possible? Harvard Business Review’s study of Ctrip’s remote work experiment showed that along with saving money and increasing productivity, letting employees work from home significantly lowered the attrition rate. These sort of stats start to add up if...

You’re looking for good PR.

Think about it. What are companies like Google and Facebook most famous for? Their ridiculously cushy work cultures. Okay, fine, you may not be able to afford nap pods and climbing walls and free laundry services and everything else your employees could possibly imagine, but you can let your employees telecommute. If it increases productivity and employee morale, that’s good for you. You can brag about that. So let them telecommute. You want them working in the best environment possible. It’s good for business. But you know what else is good for business?

You should be hiring the best talent out there.

Why be restricted to the local talent pool? Regardless of whether you’re in Silicon Valley or not, it’s simple math: if you’re hiring within the region, you’re restricting yourself. Running your company remotely opens up literally the whole world as a hiring pool. The best way to make sure your company keeps a steady rate of growth? Hire the best people. No excuses.

But it’s not all just about your employees. You deserve to work remotely too, don’t you? After all…

You’ve always wanted a treadmill desk, but you’ve never had the room.

Now you do. Work remotely.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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