Should you offer farm worker housing?
Providing staff housing is a common practice, particularly for the fruit-picking, agriculture, and tourism industries. By providing a stress-free, practical housing solution, you can attract and retain better staff.
There are many benefits to building a new farm home on your property. However, as a business owner, your time and energy are already in high demand. When you already have so many responsibilities to take care of, building a new farmhouse can be overwhelming. Fortunately, there is an easier way.
In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of farm worker accommodation and how to do it with minimal disruption to your daily operations.
Advantages of staff accommodation
Investing in staff accommodation can be daunting, but once you understand the benefits it’s usually worth the upfront cost.
1. High-quality staff
When it comes to finding top-quality employees and retaining them for longer, offering comfortable on-site housing is a major selling point. Providing real-life value and a warm, dry home with no morning commute can be a powerful incentive for your ideal worker to choose you. With seasonal staff all arriving around the same time, competition for limited accommodation is high - so offering secure, stable housing is a huge drawcard for employees.
Workers who live on-site are more likely to stay with the company for longer periods, reducing turnover rates and recruitment costs.
2. Cost savings
While the initial expense of building a new house may seem daunting, having another house on the land can save you money in the long run. That’s because providing accommodation can help offset lower wages, making the job more appealing to prospective employees.
Since on-site housing eliminates transportation costs and the daily commute, you’re more likely to find workers at a lower pay rate. With lower living costs and a simpler lifestyle, your staff will be happier and more likely to stick around. Over time, this results in significantly lower recruitment costs as well as more time on your hands to focus on your own work.
3. Increased productivity
When employees live on-site, they’re more likely to arrive at work on time, ready to start their day. With little or no commute, there is far less risk of them being delayed by traffic or roadworks. Furthermore, they may be willing to work longer hours since they can save time by avoiding transportation.
4. Enhanced community
Offering on-site accommodation can help build a sense of community among employees. This can lead to stronger relationships, teamwork, and a more pleasant work environment.
This is especially true for seasonal work where employees are living together for a set period of time. If you offer housing for these employees, they can quickly build a positive community atmosphere that translates into their daily work as well.
Staff housing also makes a job more appealing for families, who might otherwise not be able to move to more isolated positions.
5. Resale value
On-site staff accommodation adds to the value of your farm when you’re ready to sell. Buyers are looking for rural properties with strong infrastructure and development plans so a durable, practical staff house is a huge advantage.
It also helps to demonstrate that the farm has a history of looking after its employees. This is attractive for buyers who want to keep the operations running smoothly when they take over, as the workers are more likely to stay.
Prefab staff accommodation
A cost-effective alternative to traditional staff housing is to build a prefabricated home. Prefabs are built off-site in a factory and transported to the location when construction is complete. The house is then fixed to the foundation and connected to site services in a few short weeks.
This process significantly reduces the build time and cost while also keeping interruptions to a minimum. The builders are only on your building site during the final touches and then your staff can move in once connected.
When planning your new staff housing, you can easily adapt it to meet the specific needs of your staff. With a variety of layouts, sizes, and finishes available, the process is simple and straightforward.
Our most popular staff accommodation layouts include the following:
Why choose a prefab house?
If you need a practical design but also want to keep disruptions at bay, the off-site approach is ideal. The key benefits of the prefab building method include the following:
Faster build times
Minimal disruption to your land and operations
Providing staff housing can be a significant advantage for both employers and employees. It can improve recruitment and retention rates, reduce transportation costs, increase productivity, and create a sense of community among workers.
However, investing in on-site housing also comes with significant drawbacks, including high building costs and disruptions to your operations. For more advice on how to minimise stress, reach out to the Genius Homes team today.
To make your life easier, we have a practical range of prefabs designed for staff accommodation. Check out our farmhouses and accommodation complexes to find one that best suits your farm and staff.
For more detailed information, download your free copy of the Farm Accommodation Brochure.