Are you as productive in home as you could be in an office?
For the majority of my design career, I’ve been lucky enough to be working from home. Companies are slowly starting to come around to the idea of letting their employees work from home, but a lot are still on the fence. When an employee pitches the idea of working from home to his or her boss, the first thing that pops into their mind is: Will my employee be as productive at home as they are currently in the office?
It’s a completely valid question that is up for debate. But we’re not living in the early 1900’s anymore. Working from home is more possible than ever and has the potential to make your employees more productive, more happy, and give them better work/life balance.
How long have people been working from home?
Letting people work from home has been an option ever since laptops became a popular household item. Before laptops, the general consumer only had a large desktop computer in their home office. That’s if they even had a home office. Simply put, laptops created the trend of letting employees work in their own home.
As technology advanced and consumers became more and more connected through messaging, email, and online project managers, the ability to work from home grew into a feasible option for employers.
It actually became more attractive to some businesses to let their employees work from home:
- If all your employees work remotely, there’s no cost to lease an office space
- Work from home employees can create their own hours
- Meetings are easier than ever to schedule through video conferencing.
Working from home productivity statistics and studies
Check out these studies that prove employees can be as productive at home as they can in the office:
Ctrip is a travel website, and this study mostly focused on sales. Half were allowed to work remote, half stayed in the office. The expected results were a savings on office space and furniture, and most likely a small hit in productivity. The results completely blew them away.
Results: Remote workers made 13.5% more calls.
The people working from home make 13.5% more calls, meaning they got almost an entire extra workday out of them every week. Beyond that, they noticed a higher job satisfaction and less of a turnover rate.
Popular consumer electronics retailer BestBuy introduced an experiment to give all employees the option to work when they want, banishing hours. Nicknamed “ROWE” (Results Only Work Environment), it was a policy to start changing the way they perceive their employees performance. Instead of looking at the hours employees were putting in, they were going to start looking at results.
Results: Productivity increases by 35%
An increase of 35% in productivity proved this study to be successful. Since employees weren’t focused on getting their hours in, they concentrated on results.
Want more proof? Check out this study that says employers can save about $2,000 per remote employee.
What does working from home do for employees?
Working from home brings so many benefits for both employee and employer:
- Higher Employee satisfaction
- Employer savings – In leasing office space, furniture, utilities, etc
- Reduced unscheduled absences
- Better overall health (ability to eat healthier, more flexibility for exercise)
- Lower turnover rate
- Better work focus rate
- No stressful commute
- Better work/life balance
Can your employee work from home?
There are a variety of factors that might change the results of the above studies depending on what type of employee you have. Let’s take a look at two examples:
Case 1: Bob – Bob is the type of employee that doesn’t seem as engaged as some of the others. But he’s been working for your company for over 10 years, and he produces great results with the large projects you give him. You don’t see him come in, but every time you walk past his desk you find him hard at work on his computer. Should Bob work from home?
Answer – Yes! Bob is exactly the type of person working remotely is made for. Since Bob is a hand-off employee you don’t have to spend time managing, you can trust him to get projects done on his own schedule without having to check in on him. Since he works primarily on his computer, he will be able to still communicate with his project team and get stuff done.
Case 1: Sarah – You always hear Sarah come into work. There isn’t a day that goes by without you having a meeting scheduled with Sarah, since she is involved in so many different projects and you need to be updated. She presents briefs to clients often, and you constantly see her running around the office. Could Sarah work from home?
Answer – Maybe, but probably not. Sarah is the type of person that needs to be within reach to get her job done. She has to be communicating in person to get progress. While remote conference calling is completely acceptable, she might find she is more productive by being able to walk from desk to desk instead of having to schedule 10 different 5 minute meetings.
What does this mean? It means you might have to consider whether your company can work from home on a case by case basis. Bob can totally work from home and you’ll see either no difference or higher productivity. Sarah seems more extroverted and might need the office environment to get her job done. Or maybe you’re office is full of Bob’s, including yourself. In which case, what are you waiting for? Shut down the office and get everyone on a remote schedule!
You can work from home
If any of the above applies to you, you can work from home. Talk to your supervisor, show them the studies, and prove you can do this. It’s not difficult to get a home office set up and running in no time, and once you do, you’ll find your job satisfaction and productivity will skyrocket!