Should more of us be working from home? Probably.
For those of us who don’t work at home, the chance to email in your pajamas may seem tempting, but as anyone working from home will tell you, that’s not what it’s all about. In fact, many people, whether in their pajamas or not, find that working at home makes them more productive. There are of course obstacles – like that pile of dishes you feel like you should get to – but ultimately, there are many benefits to working from home, and not just for personal reasons.
From environmental to economic, there is a long list of benefits to working from home, and in a day and age where more companies and jobs aren’t restricted by having to have a physical presence, a lot of us are in positions where working remotely could be an option. So why don’t more companies get behind having their employees work at home? Because there is an idea that to gauge productivity you have to see it taking place – an idea that if we are going to transform how we work, may need to change. “If managers would just establish goals, rhythms of communication and metrics, than they would actually know whether someone was being productive or not, regardless of where the person was physically sitting,” Kevin Kruse wrote in Forbes.
That policy goes for the self-employed worker as well; if you don’t set up goals, metrics and methods for being productive, then an entire day can easily go to waste. But the reason people are committed to setting up processes that keep them productive is that the benefits to working from home are many. That doesn’t mean that you should drop everything and telecommute all the time – working from home comes with the good and the bad – but if we think about the environment, economics and time management, there is certainly an argument to be made for allowing people to work from home, at least part of the time.
1. It’s good for the environment
That hour and a half traffic jam that you sat in this morning? Imagine if 10 percent of the commuters on a daily basis started telecommuting instead. What if it was 20 percent? What if it was 50 percent? There are certain jobs that require a physical presence, but there are many jobs that can easily be done remotely. Some argue that the environmental benefits aren’t always clean cut – there are a lot of factors like how energy efficient your home is compared to your office – but one thing is for sure: less time spent in a car commuting is a good thing, both for you and the environment.
2. There are no geographic boundaries for talent
Fostering a culture that allows people to be working from home allows employers to not be limited by geography. If top talent is on the other side of the country, if the employer is able to set up an efficient and productive way for employees to work remotely, there’s nothing stopping them from hiring someone who is based elsewhere.
3. The office is not always a space of productivity
As author, speaker and digital guru Paul Boag says, “phone calls, meetings, colleagues, noise and other distractions make the office a far worse place to focus than home.” Just because you’re in the same space as your colleagues doesn’t mean that you’re getting things done. Many people need a quite space to be productive, and working at home allows you to get rid of the normal distractions linked to a traditional office environment.
4. You can get the benefits of co-working
The beauty of working from home? It makes you flexible to take advantage of co-working opportunities and shared workspaces. Because let’s be honest, sometimes you want to get out of your house and be in an office environment. But a co-working space is different than being stuck to the same office day in and day out. The flexibility to take advantage of a variety of shared spaces whenever you want to allows you to meet new people and decide when and where you want your office environment.
5. A few days at home are better than none
Even just a few days a week of working at home can be a good thing, both for the employer and the employee. “More research needs to be done on creative work and teamwork, but the evidence still suggests that with most jobs, a good rule of thumb is to let employees have one to two days a week at home. It’s hugely beneficial to their well-being, helps you attract talent, and lowers attrition,” says Stanford Professor of Economics Nicholas Bloom.
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