One of the most important issues business owners and employers have to address is how to get the best out of their employees. From fun and games at the office to flexible work timings, companies are offering all sorts of perks to ensure high levels of employee performance. However, research suggests there’s a way to keep your employees happy and performing well without spending exorbitant amounts. Read on to find out why remote working is the way forward, for both the employer as well as the employee.
It might seem strange at first—how can employees working at home be more productive than those present in the office? However, several studies show that to be the case. Researchers believe it’s because employees working from home value the flexibility and convenience they’re being offered, which makes them more eager to complete their tasks. In the same vein, not having anyone watching over their shoulder allows them to work with minimal stress.
In a March 2013 paper entitled ‘Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment’ Stanford professor Nicholas Bloom revealed that working from home boosted employee output significantly. There was a 13 per cent increase in performance, with a 9 per cent rise in minutes per shift and a 4 per cent increase in calls per minute in employees of a Chinese call centre who had been given the option to work from home, as compared to their colleagues who continued to work from the office.
Another study by the University of Melbourne and the NZ Work Research Institute found that employees who work at home one to three days a week are more productive than those who don't telework at all. The researchers surveyed more than 1,800 employees, 100 managers and 50 businesses across New Zealand and Australia to reach this conclusion. "Our study confirms that flexible work is a way for managers to invest in the wellbeing of their workers, increasing productivity, job satisfaction, and retaining talented workers," said Rachelle Bosua of the University of Melbourne.
Most office jobs are sedentary and involve staying seated at a desk for hours on end. Even if your office chair is comfortable or your workload just doesn’t let you take a break, this prolonged period of sitting takes its toll on your health. A study of over 8,000 adults published in October 2017 in Annals of Internal Medicine even linked excessive sitting with an increased risk of early death.
The researchers also offered a healthy suggestion—those who took a break from sitting every half an hour had the lowest risk of early death. "We think a more specific guideline could read something like, 'For every 30 consecutive minutes of sitting, stand up and move/walk for five minutes at brisk pace to reduce the health risks from sitting,' " said Keith Diaz, lead author of the study and an associate research scientist in the Columbia University Department of Medicine.
Improved Employee Satisfaction
Companies do their best to provide a happy working environment for their employees, but what could make them happier than working from home? In a survey of 3,478 employees carried out by Leadership IQ, only 24 per cent of office workers said they loved their jobs, as opposed to 45 per cent of workers who telecommute. It’s not just because of the familiar environment and increased comfort level either. “I do hope this data helps dispel the stereotype that working from home (i.e., telecommuting) means sitting in pajamas, watching television, doing laundry and only occasionally working. To work remotely and love it requires striving harder and working longer. And while that’s certainly not for everybody, those traits are a far cry from the negative stereotypes we often hear,” said Leadership IQ founder Mark Murphy.
Buying or renting office space can be extremely draining on a firm’s coffers, which is where remote working can help save the day. In 2009, Cisco revealed the findings of its Teleworker Survey, an in-depth study of almost 2,000 company employees. It showed that Cisco's Internet Business Services Group, the company's global strategic consulting arm, Cisco generated annual savings to the tune of an estimated $277 million in productivity simply by allowing employees to telecommute and telework.
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