Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a great number of employees were forced to do work from their homes. Businesses all over the world were forced to adapt to this new reality, and the same applies for us in Macedonia.
Those who adapted quickly offered their employees resources and systems through which they were able to do work from home. For many of them, the only condition to keep working was to have a computer and internet at their homes.
The reality is that after the pandemic the owners of small and medium enterprises will need greater flexibility. Their business needs, goals and challenges are different than before and they will keep changing. Because of that, businesses need to start to think about making changes in the way they work, and to give their employees a better balance between living their lives and being productive at work.
Working from Home and Productivity
Many employers are afraid to give their employees the freedom to work from their homes because they believe that that will have a negative impact on their productivity. Let’s see what studies show. A study made in 2012 at the universe of Innsbruck in Austria shows that employees who were assigned with boring tasks worked better and faster when they did their work in the office. If you don’t like your work, you are more likely to be distracted, especially if you are at home.
If we take a look at studies related to productivity that were made before the pandemic, we could easily conclude that productivity was on a very low level. But, what do new studies show? Some newer studies show something different. It’s not only possible to work from home, but productivity can also be increased. According to the report by Own Labs from 2021, these can be some of the benefits for those working from their homes:
They work effectively one more day than others
Their productivity was increased for 47%
Their mental health was improved for 74
A study from the Stanford University in which 16,000 call center employees were involved showed that their productivity increased by 13% when they worked from home. The same study shows that those employees said they are more satisfied with their job, and the resignation rate decreased by 50%. According to the study made by ConnectSolutions, 77% of those who work remotely show increased productivity at least a few times a month; 30% do more work for less time, and 24% work more for the same time as before.
Working from Home and Flexibility
One of the most important benefits in working from home is the flexible working time. Employees are completely responsible for their working hours and everyone can create his/her working day based on their needs. When you work from your home, in most cases you are the one who decides when to start or stop working.
A study from Workplace Intelligence и WeWork showed that 95% of workers in the USA want to have control over when, where and how they work. This is one of the reasons why many businesses started using the hybrid model of working, allowing their employees to come to work whenever and from wherever they want.
A hybrid model of working is a combination between working in an office, from home, and some other place outside the office. For example, Amazon implemented the hybrid model of working, asking the employees to come to work in the office at least 3 times a week. On the other hand, Twitter allows their employees to work from home permanently, if that is what they want.
Working from home has many positive aspects, including flexibility for the employees and lower operative costs for the businesses. But, working from home also includes many distractions. When the employee is well organized and disciplined, working from home can be productive. If you can’t make a distinction between your responsibilities at home, and your working responsibilities - maybe this is not the best model of working for you.
Working from Office
If you could make a decision to work from your home or at the office, what would you choose?
Some people can maintain the perfect balance between working and having time for self when they work from home. For others, it is very important for there to be a clear separation between where they live their private lives and where they work.
In cultures like ours, where social interaction is on a very high level, working at the office would be the best choice for many people. This, of course, depends on the age of the employee, the size of their family and their house, etc.
The report made in 2019 by State of Remote (buffer.com) shows what are the challenges of those who work from home. The three most negative aspects are: inability to stop working (22%), loneliness (19%), and lack of cooperation and communication (17%).
Meeting people face to face and developing deeper interpersonal relationships is possible only when you work together with other people. That contributes to the development of an atmosphere of trust and building relationships among members of the team. As a result of that, there is a grow of innovation and productivity, and that helps the business grow.
When you work in the office, you cannot choose your surroundings. If you have a noisy colleague or you are sitting under the air conditions, that will impact your productivity. On the other hand, the same colleague can help you find a better solution for a task you are assigned to.
The culture of a company is best built when all the employees are present. This is extremely important for employers, but for employees as well. We all want to be part of a greater story. If you are part of the story, your focus and dedication will be improved.
The study I mentioned that was made in Austria in 2012 shows that the whole “office” will have weaker performance if all employees work from home. Some of the negative aspects of working in an office include: spending time to go and come back from work, non-flexible working hours, increased financial expenses, challenges related to the health and security at the working place, etc.
Something that working from home and technology cannot replace is the atmosphere that is built when the whole time is in the same physical location - in the office - regardless if we’re talking about an office that the business owns or a rented space for team meetings.
During these times of crisis, many companies and employees adapted to the new conditions of work. A great number of employees were able to make their homes their new offices. Flexibility and productivity were put to test. It turned out that working from home can be beneficial for both parties, employees and companies.
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the perfect working environment. The pros and the cons are present in both scenarios. Maybe for certain industries it is better for the employees to come to work. Still, there are many companies who have the freedom to choose which model works best for them.
Above all, this is a choice that needs to be made by owners and managers, but new studies give them enough data so they can make the best choice, both for the company and the employees. Because of this new data, many companies were able to cut costs and to gather only when possible, but in rented spaces. On the other hand, if the employee can make a decision, each one of us would base it on our own priorities and needs.
That is why more and more companies choose a hybrid model of working, which is probably the best for both sides. Would you and your colleagues agree with this? We will talk more about the hybrid model of working in some of our next blogs.
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