Companies need a remote work policy to increase diversity and inclusivity and better retain employees.

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COVID-19 has spurred the height of a workplace flexibility revolution — a revolution that was well on its way to rumbling even during pre-pandemic times. Since the mid-2010's, employees (especially in younger generations) have been calling for companies to go remote work-friendly. And now, as business leaders are realizing how beneficial a remote work policy truly is, their call has been answered by many big-name companies.

It's no secret that allowing employees to work remotely comes with a whole lot of benefits. From a better employee experience, to a more productive workforce, to a greater talent base to hire from — making remote work possible has been proven to attract and retain more employees.

Not convinced yet? Here are three advantages of having a remote work policy:

Gain Access to a Wider, More Diverse Applicant Pool (And Better Retention After Hiring)

Companies that create a work from home policy and then advertise it in their job postings will have access to a much, much larger pool of applicants. By offering remote work, you'll be able to attract, in addition to your normal applicant pool, younger generations, non-residents of the city your business is in, and applicants who belong to minority groups.

Many job seekers report the ability the work from home as a major asset for the companies they apply to. Some even report that they would take up to a 28% cut in pay to have the added benefit of working from home. This is especially true for younger employees, who have indicated that flexible work schedules is something they want and expect from a potential employer. Offering this type of benefit can help your company attract these young, highly-skilled employees that might not otherwise be interested in a role.

Giving employees the ability to work remotely also allows you to hire outside of normal commuting distance. This can be particularly beneficial in locations or professions with skills shortages, as small businesses can widen their nets and work with the most talented individuals, regardless of where they’re based.

Plus, having a remote work policy can increase a company's diversity by offering flexible work for those who need it most — which is often people who identify as minorities. For example, think of female employees. Those who have children will find a remote work policy attractive because they can stay home as needed and skip out on the commute time, which can be repurposed and put towards taking care of kids or a household. Employees with disabilities are another good example of how a remote work policy can help attract a more diverse applicant pool. If your company is open to remote work as a norm, rather than an accommodate, disabled employees who have health concerns that make commuting challenging can feel included and accepted in the workplace — while working comfortably from home.

This increased comfort goes a long way in improving the employee experience for the people working for your company. And, in turn, a better employee experience goes a long way in increasing employee retention. (In fact, a recent study suggests that companies who offer the comfort and flexibility of a remote work policy enjoy a retention rate of up to 50% more than those who do not!)

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Increased Productivity

Though we've heard a ton of reports about managers and business owners wondering if remote work drives down productivity, there's plenty of evidence on the side of the contrary. In fact, during the pandemic, one tech company has used data to show that remote work has caused a 47% increase in productivity.

One reason for this could be increased comfortability at home, as well as an increased sense of autonomy that comes with working outside of the office. For example, giving your employees the ability to work from home allows them to operate in a way that suits them. Because people prefer different work-life styles and have individual thoughts about when and how they like the work, a WFH approach allows you to accommodate all of those different opinions all at once. At home, people have control over these variables; whereas in the office, they must all adapt to the same style.

Your employees know how to access their best work far better than their employer does. Putting a remote work policy in place that allows employees to work from home as they please means giving them the freedom to set themselves up to do their best work, each and every day.

Greater Ability to Keep Up With the Times

Earlier this year, COVID-19 came out of nowhere and totally shook up the workplace for many companies. As employers started sending employees home, many who did not already have a remote work policy in place faced challenges navigating the first few weeks of remote work. Those who did have a remote work policy in place have reported a much easier transition to remote work in the face of a pandemic.

This is important because though Coronavirus is a seemingly once-in-a-lifetime thing, there will always be mitigating factors at hand that could keep employees out of an office. From natural disasters to office safety concerns, a remote work policy allows your company to shift quickly and efficiently to take in-house operations back into the home.

Though it may seem natural to worry about productivity in the face of remote work, the statistics show that offering out-of-office work arrangements has so many benefits. It's important to note also that this is not an all-or-nothing proposition — and in fact, the most inclusive and productive solution is to offer remote work, but continue to have an office that employees can come to as many times a week as they prefer. But to help build a more diverse and inclusive culture, we recommend starting with the creation of a remote work policy to show employees and job seekers alike that your company embraces flexible work arrangements. (For help creating a remote work policy, check out our top tips here.)

Brilliant Hire by SAP provides companies with an innovative way to build diverse and inclusive teams. It offers an efficient, unbiased applicant screening solution powered by a network of experts. With a mission to remove unconscious bias from the hiring process, Brilliant Hire has been trusted by countless talent acquisition professionals to cut down on screening time while ensuring every applicant has an equal chance of moving forward. Check out our blog for more information, or request a demo here.

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