Inhalt

Working from home

31. March 2020, Editorial

#stayathome #WFH #quarantined – at the moment there’s an endless stream of hashtags confirming that we are all doing our bit by staying at home. And yes, in these days of corona and social distancing, home is the new place to be. Although working from the comfort of their own four walls might be a departure from the norm for many, it is hardly a new trend.

Thema:

Corona
Home-Office
Isolation
work-life balance

Often dismissed as unproductive and ill-suited to professional life, this model has proved itself time and again over the past few years. More companies than ever are offering their employees the chance to work off at least some of their hours at home.

Upward trend

A survey conducted by the Statista portal in 2018 revealed that 39% of companies offered their employees the chance to work from home, up from 31% in 2016 and 22% in 2014. Put another way, four in ten companies have already opened the door to working at home for their employees.

But there are major differences throughout Europe.

In Sweden it’s a matter of course, with one in four people working at home some or all of the time. Workers in the Netherlands even have a legal entitlement to do so, provided there are no commercial reasons against it. Meanwhile, the proportion of people who work from home is much higher in the UK and France than it is in Germany.

But the corona crisis has once again shown us that finding ways of working that fall outside traditional office set ups are increasingly important and all employees need to make sure they are ready for the change. So are we talking tracksuit trousers and sofas instead of suits and conference rooms? Not necessarily! Although teleworking has a bit of a bad reputation and is sometimes seen as way for people to slack off, it really doesn’t have to be that way.

I’m outta here

Usually when people think about working from home, they think about it in terms of the advantages for employees. But there’s another side to it: working from home also delivers benefits for companies. So it’s not only about employees; bosses stand to reap the rewards too.

Businesses that let their employees work from home present a more contemporary, forward-looking face to the world. And that can help to attract new and – above all – young talent.  In many cases, students and highly-qualified workers are forced overseas to find work. But give them the option of working from home, and there is a higher chance of getting them to sign. A recent study revealed that 37% of respondents would like to work at home a few days a week and carry on working in the office the rest of the time, as before. If employers listen and act on what their people want, it increases loyalty by coming across as a clear demonstration of trust, which employees value all the more. As a result, workers are more likely to go that extra mile in a bid to show that the faith placed in them is justified.

It’s also good for a company’s bottom line. After all, offering everyone the chance to work off-premises adds up to some pretty substantial savings. If not all employees come into work on the same day, businesses end up needing fewer workstations and less office space overall. Surveys  show that companies can save around EUR 7,500 a month if just 25 of their people work from home. A win-win situation, as people who ask to work at home are also going to be much more satisfied if they are given the opportunity to do so. And it can lead to less absenteeism, too. Happy and content workers tend to be more productive and take less time off sick. Ultimately, it’s a simple calculation: higher productivity = higher revenues. And that is bound to put a smile on the boss’s face.

Home office and chill

More and more employees are paying attention to getting that all-important work-life balance right and are looking for increased flexibility. And this is where teleworking is worth its weight in gold.

 

  • Wave goodbye to that commute
    Gone are the days of sitting in traffic jams at the end of the working day cursing, when you could actually be happily ensconced on the sofa drinking a nice cold beer instead. Many employees are commuters and working from home would cut the daily slog to and from the office. Anyone who still has to drive into work would save money too. Stressors like circling for a parking space, high fuel bills and parking charges simply evaporate when you work from home.
  • Work-life balance!
    Anyone able to work from home stands a much better chance of finding the right balance between their private and professional responsibilities. For parents, this means spending more time with their children and scheduling their day so that it fits in better with their childcare responsibilities.
  • March to the beat of your own drum
    Whether you are the early bird that catches the worm, or prefer to stay up late burning the midnight oil, everyone has a rhythm that works for them – and a home office lets us embrace it. As if by magic, all the things that get under our skin in an office environment – windows open or closed, radio on or off, background chit chat – are no longer a problem. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to working, and a home office set-up is the perfect way to indulge them.
  • Zen times the productivity
    At home you are free from colleagues constantly dropping by, water cooler chats and other people droning away on the phone. You can focus on the work in front of you and the number of distractions are limited. And all that quiet, coupled with familiar surroundings, helps to increase wellbeing and, with it, productivity.

Home time?

As with any other situation, we have to try to draw the positives from the corona crisis and the confinement it brings. If quarantine means that we will be seeing an uptick in flexible and digital working solutions in future, then we will have taken an important step. One thing is sure – working from home has hit the mainstream, helping lots of us out of a tight spot in the process!

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