As technology has increased over the past decade, employee productivity has also began to change and adapt in relation to computers. Statistically, your typical office worker is less productive now than they were 10 or even 20 years ago. There are many opinions as to why this is but one of the easiest things to guess is how easily and quickly you can get lost on the internet these days.
You can easily bounce from Reddit to Pinterest to Facebook and boom – it’s suddenly lunchtime! Many companies have started to block social media sites during business hours, much to the complaints of their employees. The real question is: are people actually lazier now or is the work environment of yesteryear out of date?
Recent studies have shown that allowing workers to work remotely from their homes can actually make them more productive! According to a Gallup study, nearly 4 out of 10 (39%) of companies currently allow some employees to work remotely. The remote employees actually logged 4 extra hour per week and were 4% more engaged with productivity rising 9.5% – 13%.
Beyond their work, remote employees tend to sleep more given the greater flexibility of schedule and are not only happier but healthier! With more than 173,000 Americans considered ‘extreme commuters’ or having to drive 90+ minutes to and from the office, it’s no wonder that employees can free themselves of some of the stresses of their daily workday. Workplaces can also save big bucks – nearly $11,000 per person by allowing them to work from home 50% of the time, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
So employees are happier and more productive, employers can save tens of thousands of dollars a year, and there will be less cars on the road! It’s the perfect solution, right? Everyone should just work from home from now on!
Well that’s not entirely the case for all workplaces or industries. The CEO of Yahoo!, Marissa Mayer, famously banned working from home in 2013 and for good reason. In highly technical environments or workplaces that require great deals of security, whether physical or cyber, are not great places for remote work. A Harvard Business Study showed that the ‘more robotic the work, the greater the benefits’.
To truly reap the benefits, the best remote workers are already great workers in the standard 9-5 cubicle setting. They are self-motivated, creative, organized, and detail-oriented. Employees who commonly spend significant amounts of time working from home are on either end of the income spectrum: “solitary, per-hour workers like call center reps, proofreaders, and developers, whose output can be easily tracked; or professionals and senior managers, who presumably are highly self-motivated.”
Overall, working from home is growing more common in most office settings. By allowing work from home one or two days a week, businesses are seeing that they are attracting better employees, keeping them longer, and creating a happy, healthier workplace.
Original publication: The Cowley Courier Traveler Newspaper