Is working from home actually more productive?

With more and more employees doing their work from the comfort of their own homes, we’re asking whether this could be a positive change for productivity and job satisfaction.

Working from home

Thanks to the digital revolution, remote working has become the norm for many employees. With laptops in our bags and smartphones in our pockets, there is seemingly no longer any need to head into the office to boot up your desk PC. But does this mean that the stereotypical ‘workplace’ is officially dead and buried?

Well, maybe not. Most businesses – even small businesses – use at least one office space as a hub of company activity. There remains an ongoing debate about the best place for workers to carry out their daily tasks, so we thought we’d take a closer look at this issue. Let’s explore some of the benefits of working from home.

Less commuting

The benefit of homeworking that people most often cite is no longer needing to commute. Between traffic and train delays, commuting can be stressful and unreliable; taking up time that could otherwise be spent doing something productive. This also alleviates travel costs.

Fewer sick days

Results from a Canada Life Survey revealed that homeworkers took fewer days off compared to office workers (1.8 days of sick leave a year compared to 3.1 days respectively). This is because, when it comes to mild sicknesses like colds, it is often the act of travelling into work and seeing other people which is challenging, rather than the work itself.

Increased productivity

The same survey also found that homeworkers rank their productivity at 77%, which is higher than that of office workers (65%). This may be because, without the presence of office distractions like chatting with colleagues, it becomes easier to carry out long stretches of work.

A larger talent pool

Offering greater flexibility across the working week opens up job vacancies to high quality staff who may find it challenging to commute to an office 5 days per week. For example, great candidates who live miles from a workplace may still apply for a role if they can work from home for one or more days a week.

Similarly, quality candidates with mobility issues may be well suited to a role given the opportunity to work from the comfort and convenience of their own home. Home working or, at least, remote working can also help attract millennials, who on average place a greater emphasis on maintaining a healthy work–life balance.

Higher employee retention

With homeworking comes greater flexibility for employees, and this can be an important factor which may prevent them from seeking other employment. Not only is homeworking generally seen as an attractive work perk, but it can make things a great deal easier for parents who would otherwise need childcare.

Lower office costs

As an employer, you’ll save a great deal of money on office supplies, equipment, utility bills and the space itself if you allow your staff to work remotely. By reducing overheads it is possible to improve cashflow and channel money into other areas of the business.

Time for personal appointments

In the past, employees took a half-day or even full day off in order to attend an important appointment. However, homeworking allows employees to dash out to an appointment during the workday and simply take it out of their lunchbreak. Homeworking also allows employees to stretch and exercise without feeling self-conscious, and this is important for people spending long stretches of time sitting in front of a computer screen.

The downside of remote working

However, there are reasons why some employers are hesitant about permanent homeworking for their employees. For one thing, if there isn’t an extremely strong level of trust between an employer and their workforce, it can be difficult to manage people working from home and ensure that they are indeed working during the designated hours. It can also be more difficult to communicate as in-person conversations are not possible, putting a greater reliance on calls and Skype. And of course, not all employees want to work from home all the time, as some enjoy the community spirit of a strong team environment.

 

What do you think? Is homeworking the future of business, or does the office still reign supreme? Wherever you set up for the day, working as part of your own business makes work an adventure, not a chore. 

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