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Creating An Ocean-View Culture – Is It For You?

iStock_000009568716MediumInterested in boosting employee productivity, engagement and loyalty? If you haven’t entertained the idea of creating a culture with an office desk on the beach, it is time to rethink the possibilities and go outside of the box. Employers are reluctant to entertain the idea of remote workplaces despite the benefits. Remote, virtual or telecommuting office culture is becoming more and more common as employees thrive and excel in their “beach setting” environment.

As a proponent of remote workplace alternatives, I have found from personal experience the benefits out way any disadvantages. Extending from coast-to-coast across the United States, the culture cultivated by our team provides:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased creativity
  • Empowerment for employees
  • Increased loyalty

The virtual culture works for us by providing efficient time management and innovative ways to stay connected. Skype is a tool we use extensively.

Is A Remote Culture Right For You?

Granted, some professions require onsite presence. Firms now, however, have the opportunity to take a more flexible look at the standard office environment; allowing employees to use technology enabling them to connect and collaborate from anywhere.

Small changes can produce significant benefits simply by empowering employees to gain more control over their schedule. Studies have shown that telecommuters increase productivity by eliminating the worry of driving to work, cutting gas expenses and removing office politics. Firms who engage in creating a virtual culture reduce business costs on overhead, reduced sick leave and less turnover.

Research conducted at Stanford with a Chinese company reveals working from home is actually more productive than working in the office, as well as other benefits in the form of increased job satisfaction and fewer people leaving.  The study revealed employees who worked from home reported higher job satisfaction and were 50% less likely to leave than their colleagues who worked in the office.

Another study compiled information from Kate Lister, author of Undress For Success—The Naked Truth About Making Money at Home (Wiley 2009) and the whitepaper, Results-based Management: The Key to Unlocking Talent and Increasing Productivity. This research revealed virtual workers are more productive and happier than traditional workers.

Virtual Employees:

  • Best Buy, British Telecom and Dow Chemical found that virtual workers are 36% – 41% more productive.
  • The work-from-home nature of virtual work reduces absenteeism by $1,134 per employee, every year.
  • 79% of traditional workers would prefer to work from home and 61% would take a pay cut to be able to do so.
  • Virtual workers get an extra 2-3 work-weeks of free time in commuting savings and report they use this time to spend with family, friends and for leisure.

Traditional Employees:

  • Gallup found that 54% of traditional U.S. workers sleep walk through their day.
  • An additional 18% are “actively disengaged” (meaning they actively undermine what an engaged worker accomplishes). Together, these groups make up a shocking 72% of the traditional workforce.
  • Another poll found that 1 in 3 high-potential traditional employees do not put full effort into their job.

Times have changed, and with that, firms need to stay abreast of the options and benefits available to them. Leaders should face the importance of an employee’s autonomy and the increased results of productivity and fulfillment by incorporating or exploring a remote culture.  Lifestyle will often trump salary in an employee’s decision making process. Firms who embrace a remote culture can gain an edge in recruiting highly-skilled employees.

 Question:  Does your firm engage in a virtual employee culture?  If so, what advantages and disadvantages are you finding? You can leave us a comment by clicking here!

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Compensation Conflict? What Employees Really Want

Is your compensation and benefits package aligned with your firms goals and designed to attract and retain a winning team? Firms with a mediocre compensation plan are likely to lose potential qualified job candidates and deal with high turnover. Costs involved with employee turnover are high. Retain your team by giving them what they want.  Incorporate fundamental components into your compensation package to enhance morale, performance and employee retention.

In addition to salary, an employee benefits package should be standard. It is expected by today’s leading employees. Employees equivolate their value by how you compensate them. They are more productive, focused on common goals of the firm and acquire loyalty.

Most business owners are in denial when it comes to what employees want and what it takes to retain them. A new study by MetLife found that employee loyalty has dropped steadily since 2008, but employers mistakenly believe it’s on the rise.

What employees really want in a compensation package:

Base Salary Provide a base salary along with a structure of ranges. Employees want and need something to strive for. If they can’t visualize “moving-up” and advancing in the firm, chances are they will find another place where they can excel. No one wants to be in a dead-end career.

Bonuses- Bonus dollars based on performance are a great incentive to increase productivity. Set goals that are measurable and attainable, yet stretch your employee to develop and reach new heights. Performance based bonuses don’t need to be a competition in the work place, use bonuses individually or as an entire group effort.

PTO: Employees need time away.  Without it comes burn-out resulting in reduced productivity. Many firms are choosing to offer a Paid Time Off program or PTO. PTO offers a flexible arrangement that give employees a set amount of days off to be used at the employees discretion for vacation, sick leave, personal days, etc.

Health and Wellness If your firm is not offering a complete health and wellness package, you are going to fall short in attracting and retaining qualified and loyal employees. A total health and wellness package should include health insurance with dental and vision benefits, long and short term disability and life insurance. The good news for employers employees would rather pay for a portion of their benefits rather than not have them at all.

401(k) or Other Retirement Plans Employers are in the dark when it comes to determining what benefits are key drivers to employee loyalty. As referenced earlier, the study by MetLife revealed more than half (52%) of employees named retirement benefits as a vital payback. Financial insecurity has become more widespread, therefore, employees are looking for ways to plan and enhance their retirement years. Retirement plans give employees a compelling reason to remain loyal.

Flexibility- Offer some flexibility and your employees may be willing to give up some of the other “perks”. Telecommuting’s popularity is on the rise. Working from home has never been easier with the growth of mobile technology. Employees, particularly those raising families, are in desperate need of flexibility. Place trust in your employee and provide flexibility. The trade off could benefit your bottom line by lower costs of “housing” another employee along with increased productivity from your telecommuter.

Your firm’s compensation program will need continual reinforcement. Communication is vital between managers and employees to keep your compensation strategy alive. Plan frequent reviews of your firm’s compensation plan as well as frequent communication with each team member. Talk open and honestly. Encourage feedback and be willing to make changes. As a successful leader, it is important to know in today’s economy you will need to reach and maintain high levels of employee motivation, engagement and contribution.

Ironstone’s Vision is to forge and guide the personal and professional lives of entrepreneurs and business professionals alike to realize their full potential. Coaching and consulting allows us the opportunity to form an environment where success happens and goals are reached.

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