Revisiting "Work from Home" from an Organizational Perspective
In today's global and local work environments, work from home has become more than just a growing trend. It's a viable reality. Many large organizations are enabling significant portions of their employee workforce to work from home part of the time (or even most of the time). Start-ups are saving space and resources by allowing some of their workforce to work entirely from home.
Employers are cutting back on office costs and overcoming geographical recruiting challenges. Employees are skipping annoying commutes and enjoying a better home-office balance. Everyone seems to think work from home is a good thing. But is it really? That depends.
Working from Home and Employee Engagement
Let's look at "work at home" from an organizational perspective. If you want to run a successful organization, you need engaged employees. Research indicates that employee engagement cultivates innovation, enhances employee preservation and empowers the organization's productivity, performance, and bottom-line. But is working from home helping or hurting employee engagement? If you're considering allowing your employees to work from home, here's what you can do to contribute to your organization:
1. Give Your Employees Flexibility
According to the 2017 Flexjobs survey, 79% of employees said that flexible working conditions would enhance their loyalty towards their employer. The survey also found out that the majority (79%) of employees seeking work flexibility are well-educated and have managerial experience. 73% commented that flexibility is a prerequisite for strong work relationships. By offering your employees the option for work flexibility from the get-go, you will most likely be making them happier. This doesn't mean that every employee has to have the same conditions, or that you have to decide what's right and be stuck with it. See what works for you. Adapt over time. Create a flexible culture.
2. Choose Wisely Between "All the Time" and "Some of the Time"
Many employees work from home some of the time and maintain a certain balance between home and office. But what about the "All the Timers"? Those who work from home all the time and those who work solely from the office? According to a 2017 Gallup poll, the "All the Time" employees in the US from both ends of the spectrum are the least engaged (30%). According to the same poll, the most engaged employees are those who work remotely between 60% and less than 80% of the time. So try to get a sense of the balance that works best for your employees, on both individual and collective levels.
3. Manage Remote Employees Effectively
A Harvard Business Review survey discovered that 52% of employees that work from home all or some of the time struggle with colleague relationships and office politics. Both the HBR Survey and the Gallup poll mentioned earlier point to informed and innovative management as a key factor for improving employee engagement. Remote employees demand a different management style, so if that's the challenge your managers are facing, make sure to equip them with the appropriate toolbox.