With the echoes of COVID still holding strong, many people are continuing to work from home. There is a running joke that, if you are one of the lucky remote workers in our world, the only thing you need to do to get ready to head into the office is to change from your sleep pajamas to your work pajamas. While wearing whatever you want is one of the great benefits of working from home, you may be surprised to find that there are even more advantages as well as some difficulties.
As it turns out, the number of people showing up to the office in their work pajamas is steadily increasing. The combination of pandemic isolation and a huge jump in technological capabilities means that we can connect with the whole world from the comfort of home. In fact, about 1 in 4 employees in America now works remotely, with that number possibly increasing as technology becomes even more available and employees continue to make the case for working from their own cozy abodes.
But doesn’t it mean less productivity?
In a country (and world) driven by productivity, employers may be concerned that allowing workers to do their jobs remotely means a decrease in their overall productivity. Indeed, our culture is, much of the time, driven by a fear of allowing people to do what works for them, instead believing that this model will create a hedonistic society completely lacking in drive. However, research shows that working from home can increase productivity by as much as 13%. How is that as a case for rest and employee freedom?
Flexibility is a key to productivity
One reason that working from home may increase productivity is simply flexibility. Those who benefit from remote work have no commute and, therefore, save that important time every day. Not only that, by creating their own schedules to reflect what times during the day they feel more productive, they will have a much easier time concentrating. If you are a work-from-home parent, you know that this can also be one of the big challenges as well.
In the face of remote work, many companies have instituted four-day work weeks which, aside from allowing employees to feel less stressed and more relaxed, means happier, more productive worker bees during the other four days of the week. Remote work resonates so well with employees that a whopping 97% would recommend it to someone else and 61% have said they have had a very positive experience.
Employee happiness is key
What we are finding in all dimensions of work, whether in the office or remote, is that employee happiness is a huge key to the success of employer’s brands and businesses. At the foundation of this employee happiness lies the simple but maybe overlooked concept of trust. Employers who take their employees’ needs into account when allowing remote work trust that they will get their jobs done, no matter where they are. There is a freedom in that trust and an inherent respect, then, of the company that is granting you the option to do what works best for you as an employee. Empowering employees and trusting their judgement is a surefire way to get people to step up and take charge of their own projects, especially when a paycheck is on the line. And we all know that motivated employees are happy employees.
When a good thing goes bad
We have certainly done a great job of building up the work-from-home model. However, it is important to note that there are, indeed, some pitfalls to punching the clock remotely. It isn’t all roses, especially for those who would otherwise enjoy socializing with coworkers. In fact, for some it can feel downright lonely to be stuck at home all day without another person with whom to collaborate. For others (mostly busy parents) the silence may feel golden.
Loneliness, it seems, can contribute to a lack of motivation when it comes to employee work ethic. There is also the obstacle regarding the inability to unplug. When you work from home, your home is naturally full of your work. Without the commute to act as a palette cleanser, so to speak, it can be difficult to turn off your work life and be present with your friends or loved ones. Overworking leads to burnout and exhaustion, two things that go hand in hand to make working from home feel like a huge chore. Two of the other top complaints from remote workers include getting distracted and a lack of career advancement and growth.
While working from home was once considered to be an option only for certain people, it is quickly becoming a model used in many different industries. Whether it is your flavor depends on what you need and whether your employer is prepared to offer you the chance to give it a try.