According to a study, there was a stagering 13% overall increase in productivity between staff that volunteered to work form home and those that were office based. Having researched this topic extensively, we have put together some Q&A's dealing with this area of uncertainty.
Are you able to get more done out of the office?
There was a 33% general productivity increase as a result of a quieter environment, making it easier to focus and deal with tasks to completion. Offices are incredibly distracting places. Another factor attributing to the higher levels of productivity is that people at home work more hours. They start earlier, take shorter breaks, and work until the end of the day. They don't have too commute. They have no need to run errands at lunch. Massive time savings.
Will it benefit creative people as well?
The more repetitive the work, the higher the productivity. There is not enough research done on creative work and teamwork, but the evidence still suggests that with most jobs, a good rule of thumb is to let employees have one to two days a week at home. It’s hugely beneficial to their well-being, helps you attract talent, and lowers attrition.
Who else does the work-from-home option suit?
People who have established social lives—older workers, married workers, parents. It was found that the younger workers whose social lives are more connected to the office tend to not want to work from home as much. Employees who spend significant amounts of time working from home are on either end of the income spectrum: solitary, per-hour workers like call center reps, proofreaders and IT specialists whose output can be easily tracked or professionals and senior managers who are highly self-motivated.
Is there anyone who can’t or shouldn’t work from home?
Most definitely. Not everybody wants to or is disciplined enough to. It is normally a self-selected group who are all motivated to work from home effectively and that’s how it should be. Some people opted out and they tended to be the poorest performers of the at home workers. They had tried it and figured out that it wasn’t right for them.
How do you schedule a meetings?
There are two valid ways to handle the problem 1. Rotate the days at home so that a certain percentage of workers are always in the office. Its the most effective way to save space and reduce your rental costs, by creating a hot desk environment. 2. Schedule mandatory in-the-office days. That way there’s no confusion about when you can access staff in person. There are many pros and cons to each depending on your type of business.
Who will provide the most resisitance and how does one overcome this?
Most resistances in general comes from middle management as it feels like a loss of control over staff to them. To overcome this and add an element of of control, a company has to gather enought data to show the benefits. However, in Johannesburg it is an ideal solution for the time wasted as a result of the huge amounts of traffic and power outages that prevent people from getting to the office on time and/or leaving early preventing staff from being fully productive. Any disruption that offers a chance to have people work remotely is an opportunity to see how effective they are off-site.