Is it a solution worth pursuing or a fad that will dissipate over the next few years?
We take a look at some of the pros and cons and how you might be able to track your employee productivity if working from home is implemented.
It is undeniable that technology is progressing at an astounding pace. We can sit in the comfort of our living room and Skype our colleagues, connect to our work servers via cloud-based technology, and even scan and file paperwork through the use of apps on our mobile phones.
A study done by Stanford found that workers given the opportunity to work from home has a more productive day and was more content with their jobs, however, they were lonely and started expressing a desire to head back to the office, just to experience a little human interaction.
Many companies are embracing the policy, at least part-time. Less than 2% of Americans work from home full-time, while almost 4% work from home part-time (flexi-hours). As an experiment, it might be prudent for a company to begin allowing their staff to work from home one or two days a week. Give your staff the opportunity to pick which days and with whom they will be working. This might improve moods all around and give them a sense that the company takes their needs into consideration. Mondays and Fridays are tricky, but exceptions can be made.
A study here is South Africa, done by Vodacom, would suggest that workers who can pick their working hours are more willing to put in extra or longer hours than those who work the standard 9 to 5 hours.
Picture the following scenario. It’s a Monday, you have 75 emails to get through, every 5 minutes a colleague pops in to ask something or have a chat, the phone rings constantly etc. How many of us have gone to work early or stayed late, just to have a few hours of productive time. Will workers who work from home be more productive the entire day? Probably not, but they will definitely have less distractions than at the office, assuming they don’t have a house full of kids or the like.
According to an evaluation by the Association for Psychological Science, the success or failure of a work-from-home program is as much dependant on execution and the position each employee is in, as the personality of each individual. Some positives for companies to take into consideration is that employees who work from home cost the company less money on resources, and take less sick days and vacation days. A company could even look to outsource and draw from a much larger pool of professionals, where location or commute used to play a much larger role. Let’s take a look at the larger picture of pros and cons:
What’s in it for the employee?
• Little or no commuting
Very few people enjoy commuting to work, and it’s even worse for those who have to spend hours each day in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Often, this alone is enough to put an employee in a bad mood, even before the work day starts. Working from home will help alleviate this problem.
As stated, companies no longer need to look at just local talent when recruiting. So you, as an employee, could work for a company across the country. All you need is an internet connection and a phone, in most cases.
• Family responsibility
Often, our lives are filled with responsibilities and tasks that fall outside our control. If you have the flexibility to take care of those tasks / situations, your life would become less worrisome.
• Less distracted workspace
When you work remotely you have more opportunity to focus on your tasks without the potential interruptions from your colleagues.
What about the company?
• Lower overheads
Less employees at the office means less money spent on resources, electricity etc. This might also mean that you can exchange your 3-story building for a smaller, cheaper office space.
• Increased productivity
Not in all cases, but the majority of employees working from home tend to be more productive. It seldom happens that employees take advantage of the situation, but clear monitoring would reign in those that need a little more control or guidance.
• Happier employees
Happy employees tend to deliver a higher quality end result. They also take less leave.
• Healthier Planet
Ok, this one isn’t so much a perk for the company, but with fewer people on the road, we can’t help but think that it would benefit our planet as well.
Advancements in technology are moving forward in leaps and bounds. Who knows where we will be in the next 10 years. Companies like Sync are already developing shared spaces, where individuals from any walk of life can gather to complete their work, share ideas and find help when needed. Is this the future? Only time will tell.
ERSBio has cloud-based clocking solutions that employees can use from the comfort of their homes. Our mobile clocking app also allows individuals to clock in at any location, and at any time. Head over to our software solution webpage here and find out how ERSbio can benefit your business, be it at the office or monitoring the productivity of your employees working from home.