Does Work-from-Home Option Boosts Employee Productivity?

Boosts Employee Productivity

HR on Cloud

Who wouldn’t love being able to work remotely from home? Isn’t this an attractive job perk?

With the rise of digital independence, the working landscape has changed dramatically. Employees are demanding better work-life balance, and most employers have adapted and offered occasional work-from-home days to meet employee needs.

Work-from-Home – The concept is extremely meaningful for employees and employers. A company gets a chance to make significant savings on maintaining a physical workspace and day-to-day employee needs, whereas employees enjoy a better work-life balance and feel more satisfied. It can be a key factor to motivate and retain the top talent. It has been observed that telecommuting workers are 48% more likely to rank their job a 10—the highest level—on the happiness scale.

Quite a few individuals believe that they produce best work when working from home, as they’re able to block distractions and focus more behind the closed doors. Major distractions, like impromptu meetings, prolonged project discussions, redundant client calls, office politics and water-cooler conversations, can be escaped that kill employees’ time.

In the comfort of home, work-life balance can be maintained better, by fulfilling personal commitments without hampering work. Forbes study says, 91% of remote workers believe “they are more productive when working remotely from home”, as they could reenergize themselves whenever needed. While working at home, employees have the flexibility to go out for a walk to clear things in the head, take a quick bite in the kitchen, spend time reading a newspaper, take a short nap, or even exercise a little bit and get back to work with more enthusiasm.

work from home


Why Employees Prefer Work-from-Home Option?

Commute Is an Issue

In a post published by Forbes, it was found that 1 in every 5 people are estimated to be working from home at least once a week. That’s 30 million people of the 140 million who have jobs. The main reason behind humongous surge in work at home employees, is because of the time lost in commute. Majority of people spend over an hour on commuting to work. Health issues, physical stress, exhaustion and long commuting hours take a toll on employee happiness.

On exploring why people prefer WFH option, it was found the lure of no commute, a more comfortable environment, and the opportunity to spend more time with family are the major reasons. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that more companies are planning on introducing work at home opportunities over any other benefit.

The only challenge is the persistent fear that “work from home” becomes an excuse for employees to slack off from work. But thanks to technology, today’s WFH capabilities have become more sophisticated. Work can now be discussed, not only on phone calls, but over email, chat, video conferences, cloud collaboration software, and other technologies to get the job done on time.

Are employees working from home more productive or it’s a myth?

Here’s an evidence of remote worker productivity in action. Read on.

According to a popular study in 2014, Nicholas Bloom and James Liang, co-founders of a Chinese travel website CTrip experimented with their call center staff by providing them work-from-home option on regular basis.

The performance of employees working from home was compared with that of in-office counterparts. The founders planned to allow half of the team to WFH and kept rest of the staff in office. This set up continued for 9 months. After the experiment got over, employee performance data was collected and analyzed. At-home workers were found to be more productive. As these remote employees ended up taking 13.5% more customer calls than those who were present in office. This increased productivity level was equivalent to almost an entire day’s work.

CTrip also found that at-home workers were happier, more productive, engaged and less likely to quit. The company significantly saved money on infrastructure which was estimated to be $1,900 per employee for 9 months. Isn’t this amazing?

Who wouldn’t want to own a highly productive workforce, while saving significant costs and enjoying low employee turnover rate!

In the past decade, flexible work schedules have been a debatable topic. Some employers believe that it is important to have a work-from-home policy to let employees enjoy flexi time for work, while others have a different perspective on this.

When asked why people get more work done at home, Mark Bishop, a spokesman for Cornhill Direct said, that people have made a stereotype image about employees working from home. Telecommuters are believed to be sitting at home and enjoying coffees, daytime TV, long hours sleep, an early finish, and what not. However, that’s not the truth. Those who enjoy flexible work schedules get more work done than people back in the office, for a reason. They feel an additional pressure constantly; they are always under the scrutiny and constantly feel the pressure to prove that they’re working hard. Having few advanced tools make a day even more productive for a telecommuter.

The Downside

In a WFH setup, employees’ productivity can be lost due to the following reasons:

  • Tardiness: At times unpunctuality and laziness take a toll on work. Performance cannot be improved, if a person constantly feels lazy while working. Sitting on a bed with a laptop isn’t the best idea to keep laziness at bay. Employees are suggested to opt formal seating when working at home.
  • Social Gap: By being at home all the time, a person can only remain in touch with the team and not the entire office. An employee may thus miss out on day-to-day interactions with colleagues. Hence, Work-from-Home only for a day or two in a week is recommended.
  • Interruption: Sometimes, an employee may face multiple distractions when working from home. Dealing with temptations of spending excessive time with family or kids during work hours, or watching favourite shows on Netflix, or just surfing social media or Internet endlessly, is very difficult. In such a situation, the best idea is to set goals and track them on ongoing basis. Using automated tools can be a great help.
  • Accountability: In a remote working environment, there is no one to keep an eye on an individual’s work and activities. There is no manager to observe instantly or regulate one’s behaviour. Thus, an employee may feel less accountable resulting into low productivity. Using employee timesheet and performance evaluation tools can overcome this challenge.

TAGS: Business Performance, Employee Engagement, Employee Motivation, Employee Productivity, HR Department, HR Technology, Performance appraisals, Performance Feedback, Remote Employees, SMART Goals

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