Flexible work arrangements can help to foster an environment of trust and build contentment among employees, as they are able to manage their schedules and work environment in the way that best aligns with their own lives and needs. In addition to giving people the flexibility to participate in cultural practices and meet their own personal wellness needs, flexible work arrangements can also save you money. So, whether you are an employee or a business owner, flexible work arrangements can help you keep more money in your pocket.
There are countless ways that flexible work arrangements can save your business money. Here are just a few:
Save money on space
The great telework experiment brought on by the pandemic has taught companies across the globe that teleworking is not only possible, but productive. As you consider your office reintegration plans, consider how having fewer people in the office can allow you to downsize your office space. Companies who downsized over the last two years are already starting to reap the benefits. One such example is Yelp, which is allowing their employees to work remotely permanently. They estimate between $30-$36 million in savings over the next 3 years from cutting office space costs alone. Similarly, Texas-based company McKesson is offering a hybrid work solution to their employees and downsizing their office space, saving them an estimated $60-$80 million each year.
Save money on office supplies and utilities
The fewer people in the office on a given day, the less companies will need to spend on in-office supplies like coffee, hand sanitizer or printer paper. Especially for small businesses where the cost of office supplies may be greater from less bulk buying, flexible work arrangements can save organizations critical overhead costs. A 2014 analysis by OPI estimates that businesses with 4 or fewer employees spend, on average, $1,844 on office supplies per year per employee. Comparatively, annually companies with around 40 employees spend around $1,069 per employee and companies with greater than 200 employees spend only $639 per employee. Regardless of size, flexible work arrangements with telework options and increased use of technology can help to save companies thousands.
Save on employee wellness costs
Flexible work arrangements can take several forms, including the option to telework, flexible hours, or compressed schedules. Access to these options can allow employees to better care for their personal well-being. Flexible work can help give employees space to seek preventative care or work from home if they are feeling under the weather. Such arrangements save employers money by reducing the incidence of illness and, therefore, use of sick days among employees. Wellness is a gradient, and while an employee may not be well enough to work in the office, they may feel well-enough to work from home. SHRM reports that employees with access to telework worked more days during illness than those without access to telework. While full-blown sick days will still sometimes be needed, being nimble and responsive to employee needs can help you prevent an office outbreak and ultimately save you time and money.
Saves on hiring costs
Flexible work arrangements are critical retention strategies for competitive workplaces. Work-life balance is critical to retaining high-quality employees, and flexibility is key to helping employees find that work-life balance. A 2019 SHRM survey found that nearly one-third of employees looked for new work opportunities with more flexible work options. Since the pandemic, the value on flexible work has only increased. A study from Microsoft found that 73% of employees wanted continued flexible work after the pandemic. The cost of losing good talent is high. LinkedIn reports that it costs nearly $3,000 on average to onboard a new employee. Hiring great talent is important and the onboarding cost can be worth it but avoiding that cost by through retention strategies like flexible work arrangements can help to save you money.
As you consider how your work fits into your life, consider how flexible work arrangements at work can aid you in balancing your life and your checkbook. Here are a few ways that flexible work arrangements can help employees save:
Save on commute costs
When you have flexible work options, you can save money on your commute. The option to telework can cut out your cost for commuting altogether, from the cost of gas to parking fees or transit pass costs. The average Atlanta commuter travels 26 miles roundtrip daily. With average fuel efficiency on a car at around 24 mpg and the cost of gas around three dollars, the average Atlanta commuter driving to work alone 5 days a week will spend over $1,930 commuting to work each year. And this cost doesn’t even include any associated parking costs, or the time lost to commuting. Not having to commute even a few days a week can save you money. Commuting only 3 days per week with that same mpg, distance and gas price saves you almost $800 per year.
Save on care costs
For employees who balance being caregivers and workers, flexible work arrangements can help you to save money on your care costs. When employees can telework or head out from the office and finish a workday at home, they are able to balance their work needs with their care needs without giving up as much of their income directly to care costs. For example, for employees with children at home, flexible work arrangements can allow you to skip pricey after-school programs. A 2017 study of Georgia childcare programs estimated that the average program ranges from $65-$75 per child each week. So, being able to pick up your child at the end of the school day rather than needing to enroll them in after-school programs can potentially save you thousands each year. Similarly, for employees caring for elderly parents or relatives, the opportunity to relieve home aids earlier in the day can save employees a ton, as the median hourly cost for in-home care in Georgia is $18.
Save time to do other things
Everyone knows that time is money. Flexible work arrangements can save employees time by allowing them to commute fewer days during the week or commute during non-peak hours to avoid traffic. Just before the pandemic, in 2019, the AJC reported that the average commute in metro Atlanta was about 35 minutes one way. For an employee with this average commute time, commuting five days per week costs them over 290 hours – that’s over 12 days – of time lost to commuting alone over 50 work weeks in a year. Reducing a commute to just three days per week could give the average metro Atlantan back 115 hours, or nearly 5 days.
Another way that flexible work arrangements can be cost saving for employees is that they can help to reduce the number of leave days employees need to take each year. Before flexible work arrangements, an employee may need to use leave hours to go to the doctor or dentist. With flexible hours, an employee can travel to an appointment during the day and make up those work hours later in the day or across the course of the week. Similarly, with telework as an option, workers can work remotely if they are feeling just under the weather enough to not want to go into the office but are not sick enough to feel like they need to take a sick day. This means that when you want to use your leave, you have more time available to do the things you want to do!
Want to learn more about flexwork? GCO can help.