According to Price Waterhouse’s recent survey, 88% of executives are seeing higher-than-normal turnover. Yes, the “Great Resignation” is still going full-steam ahead, so now is a good time to implement those inflation-based pay raises. But simply throwing more money at your employees isn’t the answer. Flexibility ranks high on the list of reasons that employees are leaving for greener pastures.
While Kuno Creative has always been an employee-centered organization that supports a work-life balance, that has only intensified. When we called for a vote to determine our return-to-work strategy, rather than going the hybrid route, Kuno employees voted in favor of 100% remote work. This level of flexibility has benefitted the employees and the company. Here’s a snapshot of those benefits.
Company Benefits of a 100% Remote Workforce
Some companies need a physical location. For others, the benefits of going remote outweigh the costs:
Broader talent pool & client reach
We were headquartered in Avon, Ohio, and although a large percentage of our employees are located in the Cleveland area, we have employees from Arizona to Texas to North Carolina. This gives us a much broader talent pool to choose from. I’m proof of this point. When the pandemic hit, I decided to transition from in-person to 100% remote work. If the job had required me to be in the office, I wouldn’t have even applied.
You also broaden your client reach since they don’t have to live in your area to work with you. Even if they do, not having to leave their office to meet with you in the middle of a freezing-cold winter or a hectic schedule is a huge bonus.
The much lower overhead may seem like an obvious benefit of being remote, but these expenses add up to thousands of dollars. It’s estimated that companies save $10K per year per employee on real estate alone. Here are just a handful of costs to think about:
- Rent and utilities
- Cleaning service
- Facilities repairs and maintenance
- Office equipment and maintenance
- Snacks and supplies
- Internet service
That’s not to say that some of the perks of a physical location have completely gone away. Virtual organizations have to be more intentional in their efforts to engage employees.
When I was hired, I received a swag bag in the mail full of high-quality snacks, a Kuno tee-shirt (in my size!), a notebook, and other must-haves for writers. Since so many employees work in the Avon area, Kuno also pays for coworking spaces for employees who want to collaborate in person. These are just a couple of examples of the many steps we’re taking to keep employees engaged as a remote company.
Health & Safety
Every now and then, I hear people whisper the ABCs when washing their hands in a public restroom. Now that we all have a heightened awareness of germs and how easily viruses can spread, remote work has never looked so appealing.
In addition to not having to worry about germs being passed around from person to person in the office, we also don’t have to deal with the headache of creating and enforcing policies related to vaccines, mask wearing, and social distancing.
A Sense of Ownership
Our core value of ownership has only been strengthened by the trust our leaders must place in employees they don’t supervise face-to-face. We solidified that sense of ownership even more when we became an employee-owned company. Each employee now participates in our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), so Kuno’s successes as a company financially benefit all employees.
Why Our Employees Love Working Remotely
Have you ever met anyone who loves to commute? As much as we may love our Audible tracks and podcasts, I think it’s safe to say we love the extra time even more. No commute means there’s even more space for other things, such as quality time with our families, supporting loved ones in a time of need, or pursuing a passion.
Here are some other reasons we’re happy to be remote:
Diversity and inclusion
We have employees living in nearly every time zone. Rather than hiring employees in one small spot of the US, opening our doors to talent nationwide brings diverse thoughts and ideas to the table.
People with health problems, such as a high intolerance to allergens and chemicals, as well as those with challenging health and mobility issues, will also find it easier to work in their own space.
Remote work also supports busy families. Getting children to and from daycare or school, attending parent-teacher conferences, and dealing with their children when they are ill are easier with the increased control over work schedules and location.
Because we know that attracting and retaining a diverse workforce is integral to the health of any organization, our diversity and inclusion committee has continued to meet remotely and our employees participate in regular DEI trainings.
Less stress, more balance
Because employees have different needs, some of those needs conflict when everyone is under one roof. Some people work best while multitasking with rap music blaring. Others need complete silence. Some thrive off of interacting with people while others are exhausted by eight hours of constant chatter. Introverts can benefit in particular as we are more affected by our environment and the people in it.
Remote work allows us more control over our work environment and to design our days in ways that are most conducive to individual productivity levels. Many of us love being able to work outside as the sounds of nature and natural light are energizing. Others prefer the steady hum of a coffee shop or the social buzz of a shared workspace.
And while we all know that taking our laptops to the beach will be more likely to result in sand in our eyes and between our keys than some brilliant idea for our clients, we like knowing that we can. Having choices is stress relieving, even if we never act upon them.
A sense of achievement
People who value their work want to have a sense of personal accomplishment, and not just because it’s their job. In a creative role, chaotic work environments can thwart those efforts. Every office seems to have at least one Tasmanian devil type. They whirl into the office, make a bunch of noise, create chaos, and then leave, only to repeat the cycle when you least expect it.
For people who need long periods of focus without interruptions — writers, designers, and leaders — remote work allows us to be more creative and strategic. While we miss our coworkers, when we do get together, either socially or in coworking spaces, it’s much more meaningful.
Continuous Improvement is Key
Working remotely is not without challenges and these challenges will change over time, which is why we’re always looking for ways to improve. Our employee engagement committee meets regularly to report concerns and brainstorm solutions. We’re still refining our remote work processes and figuring out how to translate in-person traditions into digital ones, such as holiday celebrations. While many of our employees miss the “spontaneous creativity” that happens when people work together in person, the freedom that comes with working remotely pays much bigger dividends.
Jennifer Malins, Kuno Creative