Working from home. Many rejoice at this unshackled approach to the workday, others (managers, mostly) bristle anxiously at the thought of unchecked working hours.
The trend has seen a pretty positive uptick in recent years however, as more and more companies are embracing remote employees, remote days and flexible work hours.
About 66% of companies today allow employees to work remotely, and some 16% are entirely remote, according to 2019 data.
This could be attributed to the rise in interest in remote work, too. According to a joint study by Buffer, 99% of respondents shared they would prefer to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers! (Funny, that.)
Before you start playing devil’s advocate, get this. Harvard research has shown work output saw an increase of 4.4% from experienced employees when they were working from home. Another case study involving a Chinese travel agency found productivity increased 13 percent when call center employees were allowed to work from home.
It’s estimated that remote workers alone are responsible for $1.3 billion of annual added value to the U.S. economy. So, any notion of remote workers being slackers can refer to that statistic.
Benefits of Working from Home
So while it’s clear remote work can be advantageous to your team and productivity, the added autonomy could be the reason why.
Suddenly, when you aren’t required to report to a desk for a specified amount of time each day, that provides a little more efficient use of time. With urban sprawl taking over most of the US, commutes become zero when your office is next to your home kitchen. This benefits early morning meetings where a traffic jam could upend productivity, and a clearer state of mind from stressful driving conditions.
With the autonomy to work from home, this opens up some freedom of scheduling your day as needed. Walking the dogs make for a nice break, a mid-morning gym session isn’t hard to squeeze in, and time for appointments or catching up with friends is possible without having to take time off.
Also, setting up your own home office to your specification is a delight. Getting the mood and decor just the way you want with all of your favorite gadgets can be as fun as it is for increasing your productivity for an ideal work environment.
If you’re fully remote, this begs the question: where do you really want to live? No longer do you have to tough it out in expensive cities or living far from family. This opens a pathway to working in locations with a lower cost of living, which equates to giving yourself a pay increase at no cost to the company.
Benefits to Employers
If you’re an employer, this provides you with a golden opportunity as well. If the Internet is your office space, then your pool of talent is boundless. If you’re based in a market thin with niche talent, this gives you a big upside to hiring talented individuals, enabling them to have a fulfilling career without having to leave their hometown.
Besides, these days you can call meetings easily over the phone or video conference. Apps like Slack for communicating and planning and Asana or Monday for task management will set you up for success.
Be aware though with your remote teams. Trust is important: micromanaging is poisonous to a WFA team. Communication is important, but it can be overdone. Instead, consider structuring expectations and check-in meetings and ensure projects are moving along.
If you’re curious about learning more about companies who are taking advantage of the internet’s capabilities to build amazing teams, look no further. These companies have embraced the change and are flourishing in the new economy.
Who’s leading the charge with the remote workforce?
- Grand Rounds
- UnitedHealth Group
- Remote Year
- Stack Builders
What are some of your favorite perks for working from home? What’s your company’s policy on remote work? Does it work for your team? Let us know in the comments!