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Are Workers More Productive at Home or in the Office?



featured image: Are Workers More Productive at Home or in the Office?

Are workers more productive at home or in the office? It’s a question that has divided businesses worldwide since the global pandemic.

Employees want more flexibility on how and where they can work. At the same time, employers are worried they won’t be productive enough to make it worthwhile. It’ can be ‘s a test of trust and trickey to manage. 

There are pros and cons to working at home or in the office. We’ll use research and industry examples to show if remote working pays off.

5 Productive Benefits of Workers at Home

There are clear quality of life improvements when workers can stay home for even part of their week. It’s no surprise that working from home has become a popular incentive.

Below are five reasons why working at home might be a blessing. They include:

1. Increased Productivity

Just one in five employees is actively engaged at their job, while 13% of American workers are fully disengaged. Remote work is a possible antidote to this. It can also help boost staff morale and reduce sick days taken each year. We can see this in action with how the Chinese travel business Ctrip introduced working from home.

The company has over 16,000 employees. It decided to select a group of call center employees to work from home and monitor their work for nine months.

The company saw a 13% increase in performance from this group of workers. They noticed that they were taking fewer breaks and sick days. This experiment proved so successful that they rolled out the option to remote work for the rest of the company.

2. Increased Job Satisfaction

Workers aren’t productive if they quit. The option to WFH is divisive and could be the difference between staff staying or resigning.

Research from Future Forum found that since 2020, up to 65% of all workers said they’d prefer working at least sometimes from home. 

Remote and hybrid workers reported feeling more connected to their company. It also showed that to be a primary factor in improving company culture. 

3. Maybe the Office Was the Problem

We often think of the office as the go-to place for productivity. But a growing number of workers report that many distractions take place here! 

Research by AirTasker has shown that idle chit-chat between office workers added an extra 38 minutes to their daily workload. Managers were also shown to add 1 hour to the average workday.

At home, workers often only talk to each other in timetabled meetings with each other. Or to collaborate on a specific task. This can significantly benefit time spent on tasks.

4. Goodbye Commute – Now There’s More Time to Work

A huge selling point of working from home is getting rid of the long, costly commute. Not only will workers be happy to ditch the car or bus, but it can also have a knock-on effect on their work performance.

Research from the University of Chicago found that workers who stopped commuting would invest up to 35% of the time saved back into their jobs. This means employees are happy to work a little longer if they can log on to work from home.

5. Adapt a Pro-Remote Work Attitude

Some or all workers at home can change the office dynamic – and sometimes for the better. Managers should adapt their management style to minimize disruption and empower staff. Confident staff can, in turn, result in better productivity.

man working from home

A fundamental way of supporting this is by adopting a detailed-oriented work style. Focus on the finer details of day-to-day work and micro-planning tasks. Train workers ahead of time for remote work and provide them with all the equipment needed.

5 Negatives of Working at Home

There are, of course, negatives to working from home. By being aware of these factors, you can help minimize their effect. They include:

1. The Risk of Burnout Can Be a Factor

Burnout is a state of mental, physical, or emotional exhaustion. It’s a growing condition that can contribute to lower productivity and unhappiness.

Burnout can happen when workers fail to establish a healthy work-life balance. They might find it difficult to separate their personal lives from work. As a result, they’ll end up working longer hours than expected.

Without support from peers, workers might feel alone and isolated. This can add considerable pressure to their day.

2. Poor Communication Leads to Poor Performance

One of the biggest productivity challenges of remote working is keeping communication going. While platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams can bridge this gap, many workers will be alone.

Poor communication can harm productivity and lead to inefficient work processes. People might be doing the same tasks, make mistakes, or work on the wrong job.

3. Cybersecurity Problems Can Cause Chaos

If working from home, employers must consider if their cybersecurity is up to scratch. A person’s home network isn’t as secure as a workplace; cybercriminals may exploit this.

Workers might also become complacent and use their work phones for personal use. They might download or click on suspicious content that leads to an infection. Signs your phone is hacked include:

  • Slower, sluggish performance
  • Pop-up ads repeatedly appearing
  • The battery is draining faster than usual
  • High data consumption
  • Strange apps installed

Provide training staff and put cybersecurity awareness at the forefront of your business. This can reduce the threat of hackers.

4. Daily Life Can Become Distracting

Research from JobList shows that up to 53.1% of workers found it difficult to separate their work from distractions at home. The highest distractions included watching TV (16.6%), cooking (14.5%) and running errands (14.3%)

Playing video games, doing laundry, and childcare were distractions. This proves that there is some reasoning behind remote working being counter-productive.

5. Investment Needed to Maintain Work Levels

The business must invest in critical infrastructure before employees can work at home. After all, workers cannot be productive if they can’t access files, log into a platform, or connect to a server.

At Home or in the Office – Which Should It Be?

The demand for remote work is rising. More workers want flexible schedules and autonomy. At some point, businesses must adapt or risk losing staff to their competitors.

On the one hand, employees will feel valued for the choice to work at home. They will also show increased productivity and invest more time into their work. Workers must prepare for challenges, including burnout, cybersecurity, technical issues, and quality control.

Our advice? Strike a balance. A hybrid model will give you enough information to see how work can translate outside the office. Only then can you decide on the merits of working at home.

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