The number of people who work from home continues to grow. If you exclude the self-employed, the number of work-from-home employees has grown by 115 percent since 2005, and in 2017 nearly 3 percent of the American workforce worked from home at least part time (fundera.com). Gallup reports the following: 54 percent of workers say they would leave their jobs for one that offers more flexible time, and this will likely increase; in 2012, 39 percent of employees worked remotely at least some of the time in some capacity, and by 2016, that number had increased to 43 percent.
Since the trend toward working from home is increasing, what are some keys to making it a success for the employee and the company?
Employee Benefits and Tips
For employees, there are some basic ground rules that will make work from home successful:
- Create a comfortable and functional workspace. A dedicated office may not be possible, but a desk with everything you require is a must.
- Have a reliable and fast Internet connection with an up-to-date computer and programs.
- Set work hours and block your time. Depending on the job you have, working from home may let you work whenever you like. However, when you schedule your time, it helps you get the job done.
- Manage distractions—both digital and environmental. Don’t let housekeeping, children, or pets interfere with work. No personal texting or emails while you’re working.
- Check in regularly with co-workers and your supervisor. Connection and accountability make all the difference.
We have heard many people say working from home at least part of the time increases their job satisfaction. That is our experience as well. Obvious benefits include fewer distractions, greater control over your environment, and gaining the time back that’s usually lost to commuting.
Company Benefits and Tips
Research supports this. It shows that a combination of days spent in the office and others working at home brings the greatest benefit to companies and employees. Gallup data reveals that engagement rises when employees have job flexibility. In fact, when employees spend between 60 and 80 percent of their time working offsite, engagement is maximized. Highly engaged workplaces boast 41 percent lower absenteeism and 21 percent higher profitability. A Stanford University study revealed that job turnover rates dropped by 50 percent in companies that offered a work-from-home option.
Aside from the potential impact on productivity, companies often see a financial benefit with work-from-home employees, including reduced energy costs and the need for less real estate. Those savings are a great incentive to making the arrangement succeed. For managers, that means setting clear expectations and investing time in ongoing communication. Phone calls and emails praising work become more important than ever in work-from-home arrangements.
We’d love to hear from you. When it comes to work-from-home arrangements, what has worked for you—and what hasn’t?