Are Your Employees Stressed? Give Them More “Home Work”

by Jennifer Sigler | April 29, 2017 | Workhappy Blog

If you trust them, they will stay. The key to engaging and retaining your employees just may be to give them less in-office responsibilities.

Should employees be allowed to work from home?

This question has been a hot topic of debate for some time, discussed most recently by Forbes contributor Larry Alton. And while there are many factors that determine employee productivity outside the office (Alton lists six potential pitfalls), the overwhelming answer is this: It’s OK to let your employees work at least some of their hours from home.

THE NUMBERS

Global Workplace Analytics is a consulting and research firm that aims to help corporations and communities understand the best workplace strategies for enhancing employee performance and company success. They conduct independent research on workplace flexibility and other workplace strategies.

Here are a few of their most recent findings, as of 2016:

  • Among the non-self-employed population, regular remote-work has grown 103 percent since 2005.
  • 3.7 million employees currently work from home at least half the time. This represents 2.8 percent of the workforce.
  • From 2013 to 2014, the employee population increased 1.9 percent, while the population of employees who telecommute increased 5.6 percent.

Additionally, the research firm finds that at least 50 percent of the U.S. workforce work in a job that is compatible with at least part-time telework.

Does your company permit employees to telecommute? Are you considering implementing such a program? GWA research suggests that a widespread adoption of telework could bring a significant return on investment:

  • If employees who wanted to work from home (with jobs that were compatible with the telework) did so just half the time, the national savings would clock in at more than $700 billion a year. A typical business would save $11,000 per person per year, and the telecommuting employee would save between $2,000 and $7,000 per year.
  • Additionally, the greenhouse gas reduction would be the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road. 

(For a full view of GWA’s latest telecommuting statistics, check them out here.)

All of this is to say that telecommuting is on the rise and it is saving us all a lot of money.

BUT ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL

A common myth of telecommuting is that it blurs the lines between work and family, when, in fact, working from home can alleviate issues that occur between work life and family life. Employees who work from home routinely call off of work less and are happier with their jobs.

And, as we routinely like to point out around here, happy employees are invaluable.

Listen to an employee who requests to work from home part-time, and see if there is an opportunity to make telecommuting a mutually beneficial work strategy.  The idea behind telecommuting is to afford your employees flexibility. And so, it is important to look at each employee (and the type of work they complete) on a case-by-case basis.

Consider allowing part-time tele-work where employees work from home only two or three days per week. This would support a balance of focused responsibilities being performed at home and collaborative projects in the office. Even if the nature of work doesn’t require collaboration, having employees come in to the office at least a few days a week can help company culture and morale.

Helping your employees is helping your business. Your team members can be trusted — let them prove it to you.

Jennifer Sigler is a Senior Writer with The UpWrite Group. Send a message to services@TheUpWriteGroup.com to see how she can help enhance your corporate or personal brand.

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