Working From Home: The Pajamification of the Office?

Quite often, you hear people joke about how nice it is to work from home, citing that they don’t have to change out of pajamas to put in a day’s work. While not having to wear pants is certainly a huge benefit for some, there are many other positive things about telecommuting that makes it a great option for both employees and employers.  Let’s check it out!

Happier People

Perhaps the most positive thing about allowing employees to work from home is that it makes them happier. According to a recent survey, the average employee says that telecommuting decreases their stress by at least 25%. Companies who allow employees to work from home at least a day or two per week report less absenteeism and a much lower turnover rate than those that don’t.

Workers are happier when they can work from home for many different reasons.  For the overwhelming majority of those workers, the greatest benefit is that it makes the work/home balance much easier to manage.  Being able to care for children while earning a living at the same time is a big deal for working parents.  Others are keen on avoiding the environmental and financial costs associated with commuting to work.  Some folks say that working from home is quieter and enjoy being free of office politics and the distractions caused by coworkers.

Basically, working from home relieves a lot of different kinds of stress, which leads to happier, more productive workers.

Yes, I did say “more productive.”

Increased Productivity

It seems counter intuitive to think that people who work from home are more productive, but they are!  It would be easy to assume that since they’re home, they’d be taking naps and watching TV when they should be working, but according to a study done in China, telecommuters are actually 10- 20% more productive than people who work in an office. If you consider all of the stressors and distractions that working from home can relieve, it makes sense that productivity goes up as people are happier and more comfortable.

Benefits to Employers

Aside from creating happier and more productive workers, allowing employees to work from home at least some of the time has many benefits for employers as well.  For one thing, you can reduce the amount of paper and other supplies (pens, printer ink, coffee, etc.) being used in the office.  You’ll need less space in general as you’ll have fewer desks around, so that means paying less rent (Some employers have “hotel space” in the form of a spare desk for folks to use if they need to come in occasionally.).

Another great benefit to employers is that they have more access to the best, most talented employees.  If you think about it, you’re limited to only those people who live within your vicinity.  Allowing employees to work from home opens the door to being able to hire anyone, anywhere.

Setting expectations

For employers who haven’t yet tested these waters, it may seem a bit scary.  After all, if you cannot witness productivity, how can you be sure it’s happening? Just because someone is physically present doesn’t mean he or she is actually being productive. Just as with any work arrangement, a good manager needs to establish a rhythm, set measurable goals, and keep lines of communication open. By staying in touch with remote employees and holding them accountable for deadlines, you should be able to make sure that work is indeed getting done.  Presence is not a prerequisite for productivity.

What you need to get started

There are many options available to you when setting up a virtual office, but there are some basics you’ll probably need.  Clearly, you’ll need email, but also an instant messaging client, a VPN (Virtual Private Network), web conferencing capabilities and reliable anti-virus programs to start with.  You can get fancier as you discover what your specific needs are.

The work from home trend shows no sign of slowing down as more companies are finding out that it’s a system that absolutely works for everyone involved.  Will you be the next one to try it out?

Leave a comment

Avatar About the Author:

previous arrow
next arrow