In the modern workplace, there seems to be a pretty considerable barrier preventing attractive work from home opportunities for employees. That barrier typically comes from managers of people, who wonder: Are employees working better in the office or remotely?
It comes down to one major factor – productivity. And from a hiring standpoint, we all need to start considering if working from home is actually a winning option for our teams.
Let’s dive into some of the evidence that supports the rapidly growing work-from-home trend.
Who’s Really Producing?
At-Home: Many studies show people tend to produce more when they are in charge of their own workspace. According to a productivity survey, 65 percent of those asked said that remote work has boosted their productivity, and 86 percent of people said that maximum productivity has been more achievable when working alone. Managers that were also polled agreed, stating that employees who were allowed to work from home showed an increase in productivity overall.
In Office: Let’s face it, offices are filled with distractions. Open-office spaces see a 15 percent decrease in production. This is because workers typically have a harder time concentrating and are often annoyed by the lack of privacy in the traditional workspace.
Another hot workplace trend to note is that in-office employees tend to experience more frustration due to long commutes, which in-turn decreases production.
(Purposely) Missed Connections
At-Home: Remote workers tend to engage more when they operate outside of the office. The desire to connect is much stronger for those who work remotely. Some team members see in-office communications as forced dealings, but working from home makes the interactions that take place more meaningful and less obligatory.
Video can be a viable alternative for remote folks who need to be involved in certain in-office events – in fact, 92 percent of those polled said that video chats are essential in regards to team interaction and that the tool has even improved collaboration.
In Office: A study from the Harvard Business Review states that continuous close interactions can lead to complacency. Workers don’t feel the need to engage with those who are always close by, or with people who won’t go out of their way to connect with others who work just a few feet away.
Getting Well, Staying Well
At-Home: Working from home provides most people with what many companies aim for, a healthy work-life balance. When an employee doesn’t have to make a long commute to and from work, they spend less money on things like gas and car maintenance. These team members enjoy a more open schedule while dealing with less stress due to financial savings – not to mention the absence of pesky commuting problems. A study found that remote workers tend to get more sleep, exercise, and are eating healthier than those working in office environments.
In Office: Office workers tend to take more sick days than those working remotely. Research shows that office workers end up taking an average of 3.1 sick days per year, compared to the 1.8 sick days taken by remote team members. Those people who work in open-office settings are also more likely to develop Sick Building Syndrome- a condition where workers get headaches and respiratory problems associated with high-stress levels causing weakened immune systems.
Work from home is a complex topic that many companies will have to visit over the next few years as a new generation of talent joins the workforce. We need to consider all sides of this popular argument before we create new policies that could make or break our chances with top candidates.