By Mark Gregory, Content Marketing Manager for GroWrk. GroWrk delivers, upgrades and services home offices for your teams anytime, anywhere.
We're grateful to GroWrk for sharing their expertise. Any opinions expressed within this blog post are those of the author and not necessarily held by Workplaceless itself.
The world’s work setting has changed. Eighty-eight percent of companies mandated or encouraged their employees to work from home when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. With more than 52% of people reporting working from home now at least one day a week, there are officially more people working remotely (at least some of the time) than those who don’t at all.
As companies transform their processes to accommodate remote work, they must also adapt the benefits they offer to their remote employees. Perks like healthcare, wellness packages, and retirement plans are subject to change as companies hire more people from different geographic locations. Another benefit to consider is providing remote workers a well-equipped place to work inside their home.
Unfortunately, less than half of remote employees receive this benefit. But what are the tangible benefits of providing a workspace for your remote workers? How can providing a workspace for your remote workers help your company in the long term?
Here are the top three benefits of providing a workspace for your remote workers.
While many health benefits result from switching to remote work, it also comes with its fair share of risks. Inadequate office equipment can lead to severe injuries like musculoskeletal problems of the neck, shoulders, and back.
The American Chiropractic Association reports that 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives while one-half of working Americans report back pain symptoms every year. Ergonomic office chairs and standing desks have been shown to reduce back pain, so why are they not a priority for the office equipment that companies provide?
Most Human Resources (HR) departments will assume that since chairs and desks are common household items, their remote workers already have them. However, there is no comparison between ergonomically designed office furniture and a common kitchen chair. Both were designed with different purposes, one for sitting for short periods of time and the other for hours on end. Instead of just providing a laptop and monitor companies should consider providing an entire workstation for their distributed team members.
Supplying your remote employees with complete office setups now can help you ensure your employees’ health and safety in the present and avoid a potential lawsuit in the future. Strains and sprains make up 30 percent of all workers compensation. You don’t want to be held liable for the back pain of your remote employees when it could easily have been prevented.
The pandemic completely changed what we consider to be an office, and lawmakers across the world are submitting new legislation to address the new normal. However, this normal might not be all that new. The home office was prevalent long before the pandemic. In 2018, 4.3 million Americans were working remotely. That same year there was a 40% increase in the number of companies offering the option for remote work. Several laws addressing the needs of remote workers already existed before COVID-19, and plenty of new actions are being legislated as we speak. We can use these laws to predict national mandates in the future and prepare our companies for years to come.
In the US, remote work laws vary significantly. California, for example, was the first state to pass a law regarding remote work—all the way back in 2016! California requires businesses to reimburse remote employees for any business-related expenses (including home office furniture and even WiFi). Texas will only go as far as saying you need to pay them at least the minimum wage.
Governments across Europe are paving the way for different standards. Germans are close to having the home office become a legal right. Their labor minister, Hubertus Heil, has mentioned in press briefings and interviews that a legal definition is necessary to ensure companies will comply with COVID-19 restrictions. The German government also offered a €600 tax rebate to compensate workers for the expense of working from home and made their definition of the home office more inclusive.
Spain released a royal decree in the fall of 2020 that gave remote workers the same protection under the law as in-office employees. One of the rights guaranteed in the decree was a stipend for internet bills. Remote workers and companies will also have to sign a legal contract in which the equipment that the employee expects their employer to provide will be agreed upon.
After reviewing all of these new legal developments and what’s already in place, it’s safe to conclude there will be more regulations in favor of the ever-growing community clocking in from their houses. Spain and California, especially, show a trend toward requiring the provision of equipment.
If your company offers furniture stipends and assistance with bills like the internet and electricity, it can prevent future legal liabilities when more laws and regulations come into effect. Acting now also means you can provide a workspace at a much more affordable rate than when the changes are mandatory.
As remote work continues to grow, filling essential remote roles in IT, engineering, and sales will become increasingly competitive. Retention is just as tricky. In a US-based study, up to two-thirds of American working professionals said they might leave their job in 2020. In a market this competitive, anything that will make you stand out should be embraced. When high-demand candidates like software developers, designers, and account executives are looking to differentiate between companies, offering perks can give you an added advantage and play a role in which company a top tier candidate chooses.
In the State of Remote Work 2021 survey, 48.9% of teleworkers said their most preferred benefit would be a home office equipment stipend. The same survey revealed that only 30.8% of those workers received this benefit. The solution: give the people what they want! It’s a popular benefit, and offering it will put your company in the sought-after minority. Providing home office equipment can give you the edge over the competition.
If your current workers have shifted from a physical office to a remote one, providing them with a workspace has its benefits for retaining them. Many people weren’t prepared for the sudden switch. Only 54% of Americans had any kind of home office equipment in their homes before the pandemic. Giving them a furniture stipend will make these employees stay at your company longer because they’ll know you care about them. They will feel included in the culture and that they are building together toward something greater.
For top talent that you want to hold onto, these benefits can prevent them from leaving for another company that would offer to upgrade their entire workspace.
Give your remote employees a workspace. You can avoid the risk of severe injuries, stay current with new and current laws regarding remote work, and gain a competitive edge in employee recruitment and retention.
If you’re not sure where to start with equipping your remote workers, try GroWrk. Our easy-to-manage distribution system will help you send furniture and equipment to your remote employees all over the world. Your HR department won’t have to lift a finger.