Not long ago, working from home was seen as an easy way to get some time off work or just procrastinate and having very little done. Although some businesses still see working from home with suspicion, others are embracing this trend, especially small businesses.
We know that there will always be the ones who will take advantage of it and not get the work done, but these people also exist in the office environment. Some people work better at home, some work better in the office. Simple as that.
Why are companies more open to this practice now? Well, consider the prices of rent of commercial offices. Not every company can afford it. Some new businesses just abolish physical offices altogether, hire their employees to work from their homes and adopt hot desking or office share for when the face-to-face meeting is needed. We have online systems that allow us to connect remotely, as long as we have wifi available – sometimes we can even work offline. We all have mobile phones or tablets, so our clients can reach us anytime.
How working from home can increase productivity? In a country like the UK, when you are allowed by law to take several sick paid days, it is much easier to simply not go to work if you aren’t feeling well. It’s not an excuse not to work. Commuting in a packed train or tube when you are not feeling your best can be a torture. When you finally get to the office, you are feeling even worse than when you woke up. If you are lucky, you might go through the day doing some bits and pieces of work, but not really focussing or giving 100% of you. And guess what? You probably spread the germs around the office and the domino effect will soon start, with other colleagues calling in sick too. The following day you will feel even worse and won’t be able to leave your bed. Now, if you have all the tools to work from home, you will make yourself a cup of tea, will stay in your pijamas, will reply to emails, make some phone calls, update your contact management account with all the info of previous meetings with clients, will rest a bit and recover so you can get to work the following day.
Working from home also save you time (and money) in commutes as well. Although some people manage to do some work on their way to the office, it is not always possible. The train might be packed and you will be squeezed against the door, you might drive to work which makes checking emails very dangerous (and illegal), you might be exhausted and half asleep. Some people can take over an hour to get to work, and once there, they will get breakfast, chat to colleagues, and so on, so a 9.30 becomes a 10am start. Imagine if you can get back 2 hours of your day?
Several people report being more productive and doing more follow ups and paperwork while at home, without interruptions of random phone calls, lengthy meetings or coffee breaks. Some companies have replaced desktop computers with tablets and laptops to give their employees they flexibility of working remotely when needed.
Another benefit of working from home is getting the work-life balance right. You can remove part of the modern day stress just by cutting down on the daily commute, for example. No more running to catch a train, being home on time to pick up the kids; an additional hour to prepare a nice meal, out your feet up and relax. Committed employees will not procrastinate while working from home; they will get the job done and then focus on their lives. They will be happier and,in return, work smarter.