Last updated on October 22nd, 2020 at 08:13 am
Working from home is becoming a more common option every day. The research is clear regarding productivity increases & retention rates, but is that the entire story?
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Over the last few years, remote work and telework has been all the rage. Many companies are now offering it as an option for employees touting it as a benefit for both them and the company.
Recently however, some companies have begun to push back on the idea that remote work is inherently more productive than in-office work. Specifically the attack seems to be on those who work from home (WFH).
Remote Working Benefits
There are a lot of great benefits to working from home or in some cases, a satellite office.
For the Employee
Commuting Time & Expense
For many employees the #1 benefit of remote work is that you don’t have to commute. The average worker spends about 26 minutes commuting to work each way. Assuming about 250 work days per year, that’s a whopping 217 hours of commute time per year!
Since employees don’t get paid for their commute time (in most cases), not only is remote work a tremendous benefit in time, but also in non-reimbursible expenses.
Considering that some employees may have to work in downtown offices where there may also be parking fees and tolls, the savings can be extreme.
Lower Stress Level
Aside from the stress of driving into work during rush-hour traffic every day, there are some other things that benefit the employee by working from home. While none of them are game-changers, they all add up to be a significant source of stress reduction. These can include the following:
- Being able to use your own bathroom/toilet instead of the shared one at the office.
- Wearing more comfortable clothes instead of those mandated by the office dress code.
- Not having to worry about packing a lunch or be pressured into going out with the team somewhere for lunch that you don’t want or can’t afford.
- Being able to focus on work without constant desk-side visits from coworkers.
- Not missing an Amazon delivery.
Depending on the employee’s situation, there are plenty of other small nuggets that make working from home an attractive proposition.
For the Company
Typically, employees who work remotely are more productive than those in the office. The lack of office distractions, especially those which serve to detract from work (such as water cooler conversations), helps to keep workers focused on tasks.
The proof of concept comes from a 2 year Stanford study that showed working from home boosted productivity by 13% – almost a full day worth of productivity every single week!
Studies have shown that providing telework options for employees can reduce turnover by as much as 50%. Considering the cost of replacing a good employee, this can be a huge win for the employer.
Save on Office Space
Less employees in the office means your company doesn’t have to pay for an office space for every single person in your company. It also means less bottles of water for that water cooler and generally less wear & tear on the workspace you provide.
But Remote Working Isn’t All Sunshine & Rainbows
Remote work doesn’t come without it’s concerns. In 2013, Yahoo! eliminated remote work and were followed in 2014 by Reddit. While the companies didn’t claim productivity issues, they were primarily focused on collaboration.
people are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together. ~Marissa Mayer, Yahoo! CEO
While Yahoo! and Reddit were pulling out of the WFH market, other companies are just now kicking off their WFH initiatives.
This change led many companies to take a deep look at remote work and the specific cases in which they may be beneficial or not.
Is Remote Work a Win-Win? It Depends…
As one would expect, the value of offering remote work to employees really depends on the situation. What defines value for your company?
Here at Vervoe we have a remote working culture. The benefits have been amazing. Our team members work from multiple locations across the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia. Instead of worrying about where people are, we focus on having the best team. Best doesn’t just mean capable, it also means passionate and committed. ~Omer Molad, Co-founder and CEO of Vervoe
Ultimately, whether employees remote work or not depends on the needs of the business and ability of the employee.
For some employees, the office is that place to go to get into the ‘work’ mindset – and they may not fair well at home. Other employees thrive in a busy loud environment and may not take to being alone for their entire workday.
Other employees will find working at home to be conducive to long stretches of productivity. Their performance at home will far outweigh what they can accomplish in the confines of a busy office.
In the end, it all comes down to exercising the right judgement, for the right people.
Sources & Additional Reading:
1. Washington Post: The American Commute is Worse Today Than it’s Ever Been
3. Business Insider: Marissa Mayer Defends Her Work From Home Ban
4. Vervoe: Flexible Working: Productive or Destructive?
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