By Chelsea McClain, Marketing Manager
It was sometime around January 2020…you know, the pre-COVID era… my boss said something along the lines of, “We need more diversity in our employees.” I said, “Sure, but Nashville is pretty white, so what we need to do is allow people to work from home so we can extend our search across the country, or even the world.” She wrinkled up her nose and said it was a possibility, but she was not overly enthusiastic. And then BAM! COVID.
Overnight our work location policy went from a tiered work-from-home plan that correlated the number of days per week with years of service to everyone working from home 5 days per week.
I’m an introvert, so I think working from home is the best thing since sliced bread. I know you don’t all agree with me, and I actually do like to leave the house some, too. I’m just WAY more productive when my commute consists of walking from one end of the house to the other in my “business on the top, workout on the bottom” attire.
I see you extroverts hyperventilating at the thought of no personal interaction. You all were about to beat down the door when the office opened back up, albeit with a part-time, rotating schedule. I don’t think any of you have missed a single day that you have been able to work outside of the house, have you?
Not only has our hiring changed to include applicants from all over the country, but our new policies have helped us with employee retention. Several employees who would have had to leave our company to move with their families to new locations were able to move their jobs with them. We now have employees in eight states! Out-of-state employees all work from home except for one who rents office space just for herself. For those living close enough to the office, we offer a hybrid in-office/work-from-home opportunity. We have both assigned, shared office space as well as a flex space for drop-ins.
In my own life, our policy change allowed my family to move to a different state without one disruption to my job. All companies should really offer this option going forward. If you’re on the fence, just look around and see that it’s working. Not only will your existing employees be able to do their best work in the environment that suits them, but this arrangement will open up, and diversify, your potential employee pool to include WAY more people.
With this economy now favoring the employee over the employer, it’s important to keep policies flexible and current when it comes to where and when work can be done. The result will be happier employees, a higher retention rate, and more applicants.
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