By Kyle Allerton

It is not uncommon to find people getting stressed about work. According to a recent study, chronic stress often leads to sleeplessness. There is a huge emphasis globally to promote the culture of working from home – to reduce stress and increase work-life balance.

Isn’t it great to be able to work from the comfort of your home!

There are a number of studies that have highlighted the various benefits of being able to work from home. This could include working with a degree of flexibility of attending to personal interventions, dressing up the way you want, creating a setup at home to suit your mood, communicating with the team without any distraction from co-workers, saving time on commuting to work, and avoiding those dreaded traffic jams.

It is natural to anticipate a loss in productivity, given the comforts and distractions at home. However, the other side of the coin does exist with performance and dedication reaching a paradigm. According to a survey conducted by Connect Solutions, telecommunicators were found to be almost twice as productive when given the privilege of working remotely.

For example, IT giants, like Dell in 2016, pushed a culture of flexible work options. 25% of its employees worked remotely. Dell’s HR department found that not only did the company save more than $12 million in labour costs, but work from-home options got more done in the same amount of time. It also helped employees balance time with their families.

While there is a possibility to get distracted at home with pets, children and other domestic activities, the level of distractions at the workplace could also be relatively high (think office parties and watercooler conversations). It is often found that working from home comes with an obligation of producing output more effectively than when compared to working in an office environment.

Apart from tangible economic gains to companies in terms of higher output, remote working increases employees’ well-being, which employers consider a peripheral benefit.

There are also a number of ways employers are able to track the in-office time, screen activity, and breaks taken. However, there are fears that it may lead to micromanagement and, ultimately, lack of performance due to fear. The truth is that whether this is done via a tracker or in the office, the impact remains the same. While this may be a negative aspect of remote work and employee tracking, the positives far outweigh the negatives. For instance, honest employees that work hard feel optimistic about the fact that their employers are aware of their efforts – so there is hardly any room for lack of communication and mistrust. Streamlined and transparent workflows, constructive feedback, and financial insights are some of the benefits to both remote workers and employers.

Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom conducted a 2-year study and painted a very positive picture of the productivity boost of working from home.

Bloom carried out a ground-breaking experiment and helped design a test whereby 500 employees of Ctrip (China’s largest travel agency, with 16,000 employees) participated. Workers were divided into 2 groups – remote workers (who worked from home) and a control group (employees who worked from their headquarters).

The 2-year study showed an astounding productivity boost among the remote workers. Employee attrition (resignation, personal health, etc.) decreased by 50 percent among the telecommuters. They took fewer sick days and shorter breaks. Not to mention the alleviated carbon emissions from vehicles clogging up the morning commute.

The travel company, Ctrip, saved almost $2,000 per worker on rent by reducing the amount of HQ office space.

Working remotely – the future of modern workplaces

At the end of the 2010’s, numerous organizations aim to transform into “modern workplaces”. This majorly constitutes a flexible work style where employees are able to maintain a work-life balance, giving equal importance to family when they need them. Many employers offer this as perks to employees as it increases both the rate of retention and productivity.

Leading organizations currently offer 80% desk space, allowing the remaining 20% to work from home. This reduces pressure on the resources at work and gives everyone an opportunity to work with ease, whenever the need arises. (Source)

The modern workplace culture is becoming effective with the pool of benefits it offers to the employees, increasing efficiency and productivity. It is important that employers identify the benefits of letting their employees work remotely, treating them as responsible adults. With modern technology, such as time trackers, employers are also able to get personal and business insights into the collective time spent and how effectively HR is utilized. Given the fact that more organizations are becoming agile, the benefit of letting employees work from home is the future of how these workplaces are evolving.

The take-away?

Numerous studies and experts from various sources have proved that working from home not only boosts productivity, but also ensures that your employees are happier and healthier. With giants such as Dell, Microsoft, and Toyota that are increasingly allowing employees to work from home, it is evident that remote work might soon be a widely-accepted phenomenon. In the past, employees were just numbers and companies mere faces. Recently, through remote work, the human element has emerged – companies are feeling the pressure to retain the top talent. Thus, working from home is one of the essential perks companies are now expected to provide, since failure in the aforementioned transformation may result in greater employee turnover numbers.

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