From early morning commutes to annoying colleagues; working from home can seem like a dream to many 9-5’ers who spend day after day in the office. But it’s not just employees that can benefit from remote working, but employers too.
Contrary to popular belief that it’s simply throwing a bone for the ‘lazy employee’; recent studies from the Stanford Graduate School of Business show that it can, in fact, make you a more efficient and productive employee – 13% more than those who are office based.
Employees who work from home are
A Happy Employee = A Productive Employee
One of the main reasons why working from home can make you a better employee is due to the fact that you are likely to be a lot happier when given the freedom to work from home. The old saying “a happy worker is a productive worker” still proves to be very true, with recent studies such as the one conducted by a University of Warwick professors demonstrated how happiness directly impacts ones productivity with their study of over 700 participants. There is now even a dedicated International Week of Happiness at Work.
Of course, there are a number of reasons why working from home can result in happier employees such as:
The health implications of a stressful work environment can also lead to more sick days and employees leaving their roles sooner than they would otherwise. A survey found that home workers take on average 1.8 sick days a year, compared to 3.1 days for office workers. Employees working from home are also less likely to infect other staff members if they are ill.
Independent Working Leads to Other Valuable Skills
As well as the direct impact that employee happiness has on a company, the ability to work successfully from home can prove a range of extra skills many office employees can often lack. The ability to manage one’s own time without being overseen by a manager, the ability to manage your own workload and communicating effectively over other mediums such as email, Skype and phone are valuable assets for every employee to have. Once you have proven you can motivate yourself to work from home (which in itself can often be a feat!) you are far more employable to companies around the world who require remote workers.
You Get Better At the Work You Do
Depending on the kind of role you are employed in, there is a very high chance that working from home can also lead to you becoming better at what you do. For example, if you are a writer, IT technician or tutor working from home, you are more likely to be able to “shut out” the world around you easily compared to being in an office. Many people find distractions such as talking, radio, traffic noise or people walking around (which is of course a regular occurrence in the office!) to be distracting, whereas you are likely to be able to limit these if working from home, and find a space to do your work well.
What About the Distractions at Home?
Although there are many benefits to working from home, there are some pitfalls to be aware of too. How do you cope with distractions such as family and social media? Can it lead to loneliness and isolation? Here are some top tips to avoid the potential pitfalls of working from home, for example if you have a family.
one of the hardest parts when you begin working from home (especially after having worked in an office and getting up at 6am!) is motivation to start. Be hard on yourself, and prepare your day early with a pot of coffee and a filling breakfast, then get started at the usual office hours so you don’t end up procrastinating
Find a Peaceful Space to Work
If you think you might be distracted by kids, family or friends, then find a space to work, whether it be an office in your home or a cafe in town. There are even dedicated study hubs in many cities such s London, where you can get work done without any distractions. Try to work out a schedule and let your family and friends know when you are working.
Keep in Touch with Friends
Loneliness and isolation can be a bit factor in why some people aren’t so keen to work from home. However, there are ways to combat these feelings and ensure you aren’t left feeling alone. Use Skype, texts and phone calls to keep in touch with colleagues during break times, meet friends for lunch and attend social events after work. You can even work at home a few days a week, and work part time in the office.
Give Yourself a Break
There can often be a tendency to keep working even after office hours when you work from home. If you enjoy your job, and don’t have a cut off time to get home or close up the office, you can end up overworking and “slotting in some extra hours” which can take a strain on you. Give yourself regular breaks to avoid overdoing it.
Working from home is not only an excellent opportunity for those who need a more flexible working experience, but it means higher productivity for employers too. As well as being happier, hard working and less distracted, home-workers cost significantly less than office workers, with teas, coffees and leaving presents alone costing £350 a year; and that’s not taking into account the cost of office space, transport and training.
Provided you can successfully avoid the dangers of feeling lonely, and can manage your time well, working from home is an excellent opportunity for many businesses, and in words of Nicholas Bloom, is a “Future-looking Technology”.