Home Office and Productivity

Data shows us that the productivity of employees working from home is positive, yet many businesses are slow to adopt home office as an accepted practice. A great number of companies are not ready for this way of working, and many even seem ignorant about how it truly works.  Nevertheless, employees want the flexibility of working at home office more and more.

Three-quarters of employers of various types report that their employees’ productivity during home office is not declining, or that it is even increasing. A majority of employers (57%) stated that they did not feel a change in the productivity of their people while working from home. Almost 19% of HR professionals even confirmed that labor productivity had risen during this period.

Frequently, employers do not offer their workers the opportunity to work from home at the start. Employees who wish to work this way often must ask for it.  But should it really be necessary to request home office at all, when it has benefits for all parties involved? This style of working is ideal not only for many professional jobs. There is no wasting time commuting to and from work, waiting for managers to come to the meeting, or spending lunch hours in canteens or cafeterias. Instead, there is greater comfort and energy for work, better use of the potential of employees, and less expensive time for leaders involved in personal management through meetings.  In addition, as fewer workers fill the office space, a business can make do with significantly smaller physical space, further reducing costs.   All of this should speak in favor of increasing work productivity through home office..

“An outdated principle”

Insistence in the office is an outdated principle of ‘management through glass’, which does not increase responsibility for the result, does not strengthen trust and is a big black spot for employee motivation and loyalty. 

The first reason is probably the classic problem of distrust. It is still easiest for managers to check teams through attendance systems and see their people at work physically. However, many HR specialists are claiming that insisting on working in the office is an outdated principle of “managing through glass”, which can actually be counterproductive.  It can work against the manager-employee relationship, giving an appearance that the manager does not have faith in the employees’ sense of responsibility or work ethic.  And he probably knows what he’s saying. After all, the boss does not need to know what every employee is doing at a given moment; if workers feel trusted, they are more motivated to complete their tasks well.  The end result is what’s important. And a manager can connect with their employees and colleagues anytime, anywhere. In short, in many professions, it is really not necessary for an employee to work solely inside a company office, where his boss can watch him through the glass.  If the productivity of work from home does not decrease, but rather the opposite, then any means of reaching this seems to be beneficial for both parties.

Many businesses simply aren’t ready

The second (and perhaps most relevant) reason that many companies shy away from home office is the unpreparedness of employers for the home office system. After all, many businesses have a lot of money invested in unnecessarily large work spaces, their maintenance and management, expensive computer office infrastructure and support teams of IT experts, and so on. Many overseas companies quite logically reimburse people at home office in times of pandemic.  However, this expense is minor compared to the enormous annual costs of maintaining a large office space.  With low-cost remote access solutions to corporate networks, the benefits for both parties in the total costs that both employers and employees will save really makes home office cost-reductive.

The results

If the productivity of work from home does not decrease, but may actually increase, then supporting the opportunities for home office can be beneficial for both parties. The unpreparedness of companies’ infrastructure is probably the main reason why employers do not want to offer employees work from home as standard practice. However, according to the answers from employees, they mostly desire the flexibility and savings that home office provides.  In an era of extremely inexpensive solutions for remote access to corporate networks, as well as the willingness of employees to use their own technology and space for home offices, employers in Slovakia should already offer home offices to employees automatically and to a greater extent than before. If home office workers want this more and more, did our companies neglect to offer it because they are neither technically nor mentally prepared for it?

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