The world was deeply impacted by the global pandemic, and businesses have felt the changes greatly. One major change that happened suddenly was that if a company wanted to stay in business, it had to be able to shift much of its workforce from on-site to remote work. Generally, a transition like this takes months of planning. However, companies were required to change overnight. While this presented many challenges, it also has benefits. An innovator within the insurance industry and Co-Founder of Insurance Office of America (IOA), John Ritenour has found a forward-thinking approach to working from home that focuses on the advantages the framework provides, for employees and employers alike.
For John Ritenour, the advantages of working from home can be broken down into three main categories.
John Ritenour Shares Who Benefits from Remote Work
How Employers Benefit
The bottom line is always going to be important to any company. This means saving money is a good thing. Switching the majority of on-site workers to remote work will seriously lower overhead costs. From expensive office space to parking, utilities, and insurance, there are so many operational costs that remote work downright eliminates.
There’s another big advantage for employers: research has shown that remote work actually increases worker productivity. Employees log on to work for more hours when working from home than they do when working on-site. This is due in part to being able to work through the commute, as well as having access to work from home makes it simple to work anytime.
A remote workforce can also lead to fewer sick days. When faced with a minor cold, many people will choose to work, so long as they can do so from home. With no one coming into the office and spreading germs, there are also fewer incidences of illness. This includes the illnesses that wipe out large swathes of the office for days.
Having a remote workforce also gives employers access to the best workers anywhere in the world. When a job is no longer on-site, an employer can hire from any location, meaning they have talented potential hires from around the world to choose from.
How Employees Benefit
Some benefits of remote work serve both the employee and employer. One of these is that remote work makes the dreaded commute to work obsolete. While this can increase the time an employee has to spend at work, it also increases the time they can spend at home. This is invaluable not just for families, but everyone, as nobody enjoys spending hours sitting in a car. The lack of a commute saves the employee money on gas, tolls, and car maintenance.
Working from home can also give employees more flexibility in their schedules. Without having to report to an office, workers are able to get things done more in line with their natural workflow. They can freely work early in the morning or late at night if that suits their style. This can lead to more productivity, which is an additional benefit for the employer.
The flexibility in scheduling can prove to be a huge advantage for those employees with families, making it possible to easily free up the busiest parts of their days. They now have more time for school pick-ups, after-school activities, and family meals. Scheduling flexibility is valuable to everyone, empowering them to feel autonomous in their life. This leads to an overall increase in employee happiness, which will also boost customer loyalty. Both of these sentiments are beneficial to the employer.
It has been shown that employees working from home experience less stress and anxiety. No commute and not having to worry about office protocol allows people to relax. Less stress and anxiety is obviously great for the employees, but it is a big benefit for employers as well.
The health and wellness of employees overall is enhanced by working from home. Workers report getting more physical activity and eating healthier meals when working remotely.
Being able to work from home also eliminates office friction and can do away with strained interpersonal relationships. People have control over their own workspace and have the ability to minimize noise and distractions, including those that can be caused by office politics.
There is a great deal of crossover. The benefits of working from home to employees will often directly impact the employer as well. John Ritenour, a believer in positive corporate culture, can personally attest to this theory, as he has been personally impacted by increased autonomy, and the ability to spend time with his family after completing all professional obligations.
How the World Benefits
It’s not just the employees and employers benefiting from a shift to remote work. The world at large benefits. Remote work eliminates the commute, taking so many cars off the road. This cuts down on both auto emissions and traffic accidents. Cutting down on the use of office space also reduces everything that goes along with that, from electricity costs to the use of paper.
The Challenges of Shifting to Remote Work
Although very positive about remote work overall, John Ritenour acknowledges that there are certainly challenges to overcome.
Though there are fewer office distractions, many employees will face the challenge of having to guard against distractions from family and pets. It is important that remote workers have a dedicated workspace as well as clear boundaries with their family to respect their work time.
Another challenge is the feeling of isolation that can come along with remote work. It’s important to host team-building activities and encourage virtual meetings. Something wonderful gets lost when there is no opportunity for staff to gather together in an office. A positive workplace culture is important, and it can be much harder to promote when everyone is working in a different place.
Thankfully, modern-day technology goes a long way towards solving this problem. Tools like videoconferencing and interoffice chatting applications can go a long way towards making employees feel connected. However, technology can be a double-edged sword. It is often what makes remote work possible. It’s important to remember that it will likely present challenges. There will be times when the technology that we are now so dependent on will fail to work, and we must be prepared for that.
Embracing Remote Work
Many companies have found themselves forced to shift to remote work, even before the pandemic. Savvy business owners were long finding that remote work could have major positive consequences. In his blog, John Ritenour takes an in-depth look at these many benefits, which will mean that the “Work-From-Home Revolution” continues long after the pandemic is over.
About John Ritenour
John Ritenour is the Co-Founder of Insurance Office of America (IOA), one of the most successful private insurance companies in the country. When he co-founded IOA in 1988 alongside his wife, Valli, his mission was to empower insurance producers to be able to take control of their own business and truly benefit from the profits. This was not how the industry was run at the time, and the shift was revolutionary.
During his time as Chairman of the company, John Ritenour always embraced technology as a way to produce better results, from increasing customer satisfaction to streamlining work processes. After 30 years at the helm, John Ritenour transitioned from his leadership role in the company. IOA now rests in the capable hands of his son, Heath Ritenour, CEO and Chairman. John Ritenour is pleased to share his insights on the latest business innovations and how they can best be leveraged to the advantage of companies and employees alike.