Why It’s Productive to Let Employees Work from Home

Let employees work from home

With today’s technologies, it’s possible to build a company without all your employees needing to work in the same location. You can set up offices in different cities, and workers can communicate quickly and efficiently via Slack, Skype, and other technologies. Yet you can also have many of your employees work from home, and you may be surprised at how this can be more productive.

In a 2017 report by Fundera, they found that 3.7 million employees in the United States worked from home at least half the time; that’s 2.8% of the workforce. And these numbers are on the rise: this more than doubled since 2005.

Many people in business think that if employees work at home they’ll goldbrick: they’ll sit around and binge-watch Netflix, they’ll drink beer, and they won’t get any work done. However, businesses that have made the switch and allow working from home have found that remote employees are more productive.

Here’s why it’s productive to let employees work from home.

Less stress

Less stress working from homeEmployees who work at home are often less stressed. They don’t have a tiring daily commute, and they can work at more appropriate hours. If they have kids, it makes it a lot easier to take them to school and pick them up. Even if their kids are sick, remote employees can often work, avoiding the need to take personal days off.

Also, employees working from home have more control over their environment, and can be more comfortable. They can set the temperature as they like it, open or close windows when they want, and benefit from a quiet environment: no more of that continuous din of talking, phones ringing, and printers churning.

Not all remote employees will work from home every day; some go to the office two or three days a week, others for specific business meetings that need face-to-face time, but the ability to not be tied to an office desk all the time contributes to better well-being.

More work time

More time to work when working from homeWhen employees work from home they take fewer sick days, and don’t spend as much time on breaks. They may spend more time working overall, since they are more in control of their time, and aren’t at the whim of impromptu meetings or the comings and goings that interrupt attention. And they can be more flexible: some employees may start work earlier or later, because they need to get the kids to school, and can work later in the day.

More productivity

Employees working from home are more productiveBecause of the decreased stress and more comfortable atmosphere, remote employees are more productive. A study published in 2014 (PDF) looked at a Chinese travel agency with 16,000 employees and found that their performance increased by 13%, in part because they worked more – they took fewer sick days and even took fewer breaks – but also because of the “quieter and more convenient environment.”

Lower costs

Lower costs when working from homeWith remote employees, businesses need less office space, and this is especially important when a business’s headquarters is in a major city with high rents. All of the costs that a business pays to maintain their offices are reduced, even after compensating employees for the use of their home.

Employees save money, too. They may not need a car, or a second car, and they save money on commuting, parking, and buying lunches at work. And they don’t have to worry about having fancy clothes to look right at the office.

Improved work/life balance

Working from home improves work/life balanceWorking from home means that employees can flourish more, be more creative and more efficient. Even the simplest things can make a difference: the ability to step outside to take a break, to listen to music while working, or to eat home-cooked meals at lunch; all these contribute to a more balanced live. And when employees are happy and healthy, they are more productive, more creative, and their employers benefit.

A bigger talent pool

Letting employees work from home means a bigger talent poolA business in San Francisco, Seattle, or New York, will be able to attract good talent, but in some cases, the market will be saturated and they’ll need to look further afield. With remote employees, your employees can be anywhere, even in another country. A lot of tech companies benefit from this expanded talent pool by hiring software engineers and designers far from their offices. And in some cases, businesses can pay these employees – who aren’t crippled by the high housing costs in big cities – a lower salary.

How to support employees working from home

How to support employees working from homeI’ve worked at home as a freelancer for more than twenty years, and I’ve seen my share of employees working from home who went back to working in offices. Not everyone can work at home; it takes a special mentality. Some people need to have the bustle of office life, so it’s important to find the right people for this kind of work. But today’s generation of digital natives is often very comfortable working like this.

Businesses need to support their employees who work from home and provide ways for them to discuss any issues that arise, either with supervisors or with other remote employees. They need to have appropriate equipment for their work – computers, Internet access, etc. – and they need the right working environment. Many authors have written great novels on kitchen tables, but working full time in an uncomfortable environment won’t be as productive as it could in a setup that is appropriate to the work they do.

Think about helping employees set up an ergonomic workspace. Not only should they work in a room that’s big enough to serve as an office, and one where they can close the door, but with the right kind of chair and desk – maybe a standing desk, for those who want it – so they won’t end up uncomfortable. With a small investment in making employees’ environments comfortable, you’ll help increase their productivity, and your bottom line.

Do you let your employees work from home? If so, have you seen an improvement in productivity? If not, what primary reasons prevent you from allowing employees to work remotely? We want to hear from you, comment below!