Allowing employees to work from home is a controversial policy for some. In spite of the fact that it can offer a number of advantages to both employers and employees, many still see it for the drawbacks. Do employees quickly find themselves distracted, binge-watching television or spending extra hours in bed? Do you lose productivity when you allow team members to work from home instead of coming into the office, where they’ll be more closely supervised? Is it just paranoid to question the work ethic of your employees?
As a business owner, I allow my employees to work from home and I appreciate the advantages that go along with it, although it wasn’t always that way. Have you been on the fence about allowing your employees that benefit? Consider the advantages of remote working as well as how to make it work for your business.
When it comes to allowing employees to work from home, as an employer, I’ve found that it offers plenty of advantages.
Employees are more productive
One study of employees suggested that employees who worked from home increased their productivity by more than 13% over those who completed the same job from the office. While there are plenty of distractions at home that can pull employees away from their job tasks, there are just as many distractions in the office and some employees may find it harder to fight that pull when they’re in the office.
Employees don’t have to take as many sick days
Regardless of whether employees are actually healthier, employees who are allowed to work from home don’t have to take as many sick days. If they are too sick to physically come in for work or to sit at a desk all day, they may be able to complete their daily work tasks from home. When they can stay home, they also don’t bring their possibly contagious illness to the office, and don’t risk infecting their colleagues.
Employees are happier
Happy employees are more likely to stick with your company long-term not to mention having a better option of your company, which they’ll likely share with others in the field. Happy employees are also more productive, less likely to take unnecessary sick days, and more likely to give their best for your company. Allowing employees the flexibility to work from home increases work/life balance and makes it easier for them to manage their responsibilities outside of work, whether it’s caring for a sick child or intercepting a package or contractor.
You’ll decrease unnecessary meetings and drains on productivity
There’s more than one reason why employee productivity increases when employees are able to work from home. Not only do employees stay more focused, but there are also fewer overall drains on productivity. Employees will waste less time on their daily commute, and chances are, you’ll decrease the amount of time you spend in unnecessary meetings. Even a work lunch that runs over can actually decrease productivity in a way that goes essentially unnoticed.
You’ll decrease some expenses
Employees who work from home require fewer office supplies. If your employees work from home on a regular basis, you may not need as much space in the office for example, employees can share desks if they work alternating schedules. Employees who don’t work in the office on a regular basis may also need less space anyway, since they’ll keep many of their materials and reference items at home, instead of in the office.
You can hire for skills, not based on geographic location
One of the biggest advantages to allowing employees to work from home is that you can choose employees based on their skill set, not based on where they’re currently located. No relocation expenses required, and you can have employees anywhere!
Allowing Employees to Work From Home: Making It Work
Are you ready to start allowing employees to work from home? Are you excited about the benefits? If you’re still struggling with some potential drawbacks, consider these strategies for getting the most out of employees who aren’t coming into the office.
- Monitor employee productivity. Keep an eye on what employees are going to accomplish each day though that doesn’t mean micromanaging. Like employees who work in the office, employees who work from home will have days that are more productive than others. As long as there is an overall trend of productivity, employees should be able to continue working from home at their convenience. Consider using project completion guidelines, rather than hourly monitoring.
- Keep it flexible. Don’t insist that employees work from home only on specific days, unless those days are the only ones that work for your company for some reason. Instead, allow employees to choose the days that work for them: days when they have responsibilities at home, or need a bit more of a break, or feel that they’ll be more productive outside the office than inside.
- Bring employees together to continue checking in and enhancing team cohesion. If you have employees who work remotely full time, check in by Slack, Google Hangouts, etc. If you’re all in the same general geographic region, consider bringing even remote employees together in person a couple of times a month. This will allow employees to develop better relationships, work with one another in person, and get to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
- Use the right project management software. In order to increase efficiency for work-from-home employees, make sure they have access to all the information they need to successfully complete their daily job responsibilities. We use Asana at our office to manage day to day tasks. Check your project management software to make sure that it allows you to set up permissions, allowing employees access to the information they need at any level. Make sure it contains the right data so that employees can work efficiently no matter where they are.
By allowing my employees to work from home, I’ve experienced plenty of key advantages. Do you need more help making the transition to allow your employees to work from home? If so, contact us today to learn more about the strategies we’ve implemented and how they’ve helped shape our business.