Thinking of working from home this week? Or wondering if your employees will really be as productive while they are working from home? Either way here is why you should consider working from home as an option.
For managers, allowing your employees to work from home might just be the best decision you make for your organisation. Given that the average employee productivity will go up by 13% while working from home and also offers a reduction in operation costs, it’s the world’s smartest management strategy. When I say that, I mean it, smart management strategies will always increase productivity and revenue while reducing costs.
For employees, avoiding the gruesome commute to work is reward enough to get more done in lesser time and hence be more productive. However, for employees, it requires significant effort to achieve this extra productivity while working from home. There is no shortage of distractions while one works from home, the urge to sleep for ‘just five more minutes’ being the most dangerous one.
In this blog, I will be talking about two things. Firstly, how organisations can benefit from allowing employees to work from home. Secondly, how employees can ensure they enjoy working from home, stay productive and most importantly, get work done.
How employers benefit by enabling working from home?
When you are an employer or a manager, your most important concern is to boost the productivity of your staff while reducing the operation cost. Work from home is a management strategy that allows you to increase revenue while reducing cost. In other words, a quick but permanent productivity boost.
There are other ways to reduce costs, but an increase in productivity is not guaranteed by these methods. Here are some earlier and popular alternatives to working from home.
- Downsizing: While it effectively reduces the costs, revenues suffer too.
- Centralising and Decentralising: Apart from being very time consuming, these strategies also don’t increase productivity.
- Reorganising: The most famous and pointless strategy to increase productivity.
So, how does allowing employees to work from home benefits organisations?
Raise in employee productivity
Various studies have established that they observe a significant increase in productivity when employees work from home. A study conducted by Harvard Business Review concluded that employees are 13.5% more productive when they work from home. Another study from Gallup shows that employees who work from home 3 to 4 days a week feel 33% more engaged in their work and are hence more productive.
Attrition rates go down
Employee turnover can be very expensive for organisations. Especially when you weigh in the fact that finding, hiring and training a replacement can cost almost two years worth of salary of the employee that just quit. This is, of course assuming that you find the right replacement, given the war for talent in the job market.
It might also be worth noting that employees that enjoy working from home are 50% more likely to stay with an organisation. Also, the millennial workforce is more likely to pick up a job that offers them the flexibility of working from home, some would even accept lesser pay for the same job.
Lower operation cost
Productivity increases when employees get their privacy and are not distracted at work. Planning for privacy for employees in an open floor plan is very challenging and not all employees can get a private office. Working from home, in this case, provides the most privacy for any employee. Also, it reduces the need for getting fancy digs or office furniture and thereby lowering the operation cost. Working from home allows employees to be more productive.
Fewer sick days
When employees are allowed to work from home, they are more likely to continue working even while sick. It also serves the additional purpose of protecting other employees in the office against contagious cases of flu and reducing the stress levels of the sick employee as there is no need to commute in tiring traffic.
How can employees be more productive while working from home?
While many freelancers have embraced the work from home culture, it can be hard for employees to adapt and start being productive while working from home. Tuning out all the distractions while working from home is hard for the uninitiated. Here are seven ways you can be consistent and more productive while working from home.
Have a dedicated workspace
- Choose a workspace that you can easily separate from the rest of your house.
- Use your dedicated workspace as often as possible, it should become your workplace away from the office.
- Avoid using the dedicated workspace for non-work related activities.
Stick to a rigorously planned work schedule
- Figure out which are your most productive hours.
- Build a schedule around your most productive hours and stick to the schedule.
- Tune out from things that can distract you during productive hours.
Finish some work ahead of time
- Identify work that you can finish ahead of time and submit later.
- Finish off pending work when you have spare time, avoid build-up of work.
- When you are having a slow day, work completed ahead of time can come to your rescue.
Begin each day with a planned work routine
- Plan out a step by step routine that will help you get ready for work, not sitting at home.
- Making plans is only the first part, sticking to those steps every day will help you stay productive.
- If you plan to work in shifts, define a proper routine to transition between work and play.
Set priorities and follow-through
- End each workday with setting up priority tasks for the next day.
- Begin each day by attending your priority tasks first, then other tasks.
- Do not engage in other tasks until your priority tasks are complete, no matter how tempting or small the task.
Define and communicate expectations
- Know exactly what you need to work on. When in doubt, ask!
- Do not invest time in tasks you are not absolutely sure about.
- Keep your teammates in the loop, communicate frequently, effectively and provide updates.
If you are an organisation, do not make your employees feel like they have to come into the office every single day. Allowing them to work from home can reduce costs and still drive productivity.
If you are an employee, working from home is a benefit and has to be treated as such. Slacking off while working from home will only make your employers more sceptical about their decision to let you work from home.