Until recently, working from home was often met with rolled eyes or laughter. If you were “working from home” (quotes included), it meant you were intentionally slacking off. Accordingly, remote work developed a negative reputation—a stigma—that still persists today, preventing thousands of companies and millions of employees from reaping the benefits.
The Modern Era
All of this is not to say that working from home is a perfect setup, but modern technology and capabilities have evolved to make working from home much more practical, measurable, and useful for both individuals and businesses. Consider these five solid reasons why the stigma of “working from home” needs to die:
1. Working from home objectively increases worker productivity. The numbers are in: working from home actually increases productivity. In a commonly cited study featuring Chinese workers at a call center, worker productivity actually went up when tasked with the same responsibilities in a home environment. What, exactly, is the root cause of this increase? It’s one of the few flaws of the study. It could be that there are fewer distractions, or that workers have more time flexibility to work how they want to work, or that they simply liked the privilege and worked extra hard to increase the likelihood of keeping it. There’s also a chance that this productivity increase is only limited to certain industries or certain demographics. That being admitted, there’s strong evidence that supports working from home as a measure to increase productivity, rather than decrease it.
2. Remote work saves on office expenses. How much does it cost to keep your office up and running? Depending on your size and location, it probably costs at least a few thousand dollars in rent and another few thousand dollars in utilities every month—probably in the tens of thousands. Imagine if you could downsize to half that size, or decrease your utility spending by a third. Letting your employees work from home, even occasionally, can help relieve your company of the burden of those expenses.
3. Modern tech allows you to track mobile activity. If you’re worried about how your employees might use mobile technology off the premises, or you need more data about employee time, there are plenty of solutions that allow you to track and analyze these figures. Mobile device management is a wide and growing field, and can help you better understand how your employees use mobile devices – and can enable them to get more done.
4. Communications technology is multifaceted and ubiquitous. Lack of communication is sometimes seen as a drawback of working from home, but consider all the forms of communications technology that currently exist. Phone calls, conference calls, emails, instant messages, social media, video chats, and text messages are just a handful of examples. The truth is, you can connect with your remote workers instantaneously—maybe even faster than you could if they were in the office with you.
5. Employee satisfaction is important. Don’t forget about the effects remote working can have on your employee morale. Working from home is a mixed bag, but allowing your workers just a handful of work-from-home opportunities can increase overall satisfaction and reduce turnover.
This means you’ll save the time and money of finding new candidates, develop stronger talent from within the company, and make any new recruiting efforts easier, all at the same time. Not to mention, happier workers are more productive workers, and they’ll stay more loyal to your company.
You might be saying to yourself, “Yes, these reasons make sense, but I can’t just abandon my office to have everyone working from home.” Fortunately, you don’t have to do it this way. In fact, just offering one or two remote work days a month, per employee, can have a significant effect on your bottom line.
If you like what you see, you can scale from there. Remote work isn’t an all-or-nothing strategy, nor is it an absolute necessity, but it can help improve your business, and it shouldn’t be treated as an excuse to get out of work.