Working from home benefits employees and employers

Thursday, May 26th, 2011 By

A two-laptop telecommuting routine is interrupted by a cute puppy face.

If he thinks you can be more productive at home, why isn't your boss on board? (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Walter Rumsby/Flickr)

Most people have to work for a living, and sometimes that means being subjected to a program of authoritarian propaganda punctuated by all-too-brief bouts of frantic productivity. Entrepreneurship addresses some of the problem, but it requires burning the midnight oil. What’s left for a lucky few workers is the telecommuting option. Working remotely has its benefits – for you and your company.

Why some companies frown on working from home

Among employers that take a sour view of working remotely, the predominant reason for not liking it is the potential for distraction. This standard decoy stance assumes that employee productivity will drop significantly when such things as a couch and television are available. Yet it’s simple to argue that the chatter of collected masses, annoyance of the overly watchful supervisory eye, sea of disorganized meetings and dearth of comfortable surroundings are far more distracting than anything outside the office.

Telecommuting has its benefits

  • Increased production – The best thing for a worker – particularly someone in a creative field – is large blocks of uninterrupted time. So long as you have a dedicated workspace at home, you can make this happen. If you need to socialize to stay happy, meet at a bar after work. Team building over tequila has its benefits.
  • Increased documentation – Because telecommuters aren’t in the office, they have to document their work in order to remain above board. When employers can see the tangible work you’ve produced, you earn the right to continue receiving a paycheck.
  • Efficient use of tools – Communication via instant message during working hours for work-related topics should be sufficient. If security is an issue, set up a VPN or similar network.
  • Trust – When employers trust that employees can produce without constant supervision, it raises employee morale.
  • Living a normal life – The 9 to 5, 40-plus-hour schedule is unnatural and damaging to a person’s physical and mental health. Most executives find ways to leave the office at nearly any time of the day if they have errands to run. The same cannot be said for most workers. All workers should have the same rights, so long as daily work requirements are met.

How working from home benefits companies

Companies spend huge amounts of money on building, renting, adapting and furnishing large offices. This 20th century relic is far from cost efficient. When trusted employees get the job done remotely, the corporate office doesn’t have to suffer from corporate bloat.

Sources

Christian Heilmann’s Blog

ReadWrite Enterprise

VPN Wiki

How to make work work: Leave the office

  • http://www.adworkz.com/ Franrose

    I can certainly see how working from home can somehow benefit both parties. Depending on what type of business it is and its environmental structure, however, working at home can either make or break the professional relationship shared between members of a team. Personally, I like the idea of being in the same room as my team. I think every work team requires that physical closeness to discuss work problems, share solutions and really get down to the roots of the company and the direction it's headed.

    • Starlow

      I can't agree regarding the "team relationship" being made or broken by working at home. I think that's corporate dogma/claptrap, a red herring. The quality of the work is what matters most. The rest is largely social control. Working close to a group can produce good results, yes. But it is far from mandatory, considering the way business has changed since the lows of the Industrial Revolution.

      An easy counter-argument can be made that constant (enforced) closeness actually causes more distraction than it does foster productivity. For creative people, significant blocks of uninterrupted time are necessary to produce the kind of quality work employers pay them for, more than :30, 1:00 or 1:30 at a time. Creative people drive business innovation, and hence deserve that time. The natural noise that comes from banding people together in offices causes distraction. It's a fact that most companies gloss over, simply because some business school taught some executive at some point that "hands on" and "constant monitoring" equal good management. In reality, such methods are games the incompetent use to justify their existence in the workplace. This is very much in line with what Scott Adams discusses in "Dilbert." He's right on the money.

      Now, to return to earth again. Franrose, I agree with your comment, but only in part :)

      • http://www.adworkz.com/ Franrose

        You are definitely right on the money regarding the fact that quality work is what matters the most. At times, I find it easier to concentrate working from home; ideas start to flow and momentum is built with no distractions. However, this also leaves workers in full control of their own time, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are many disciplined individuals who can make the most out of this advantage, but then there are also many of those who can't. It's true that people tend to get too comfortable when working from work. I mean, just being at home sets a totally different tone, constructive or not. After all, your home is your castle, and you are free to do whatever you want, whenever and however you feel like doing it. Thus, time can either be put to profitable use or wasted very quickly, and having a designated workplace for every single crew member to go to every day not only relieves much of that worry and creates a great feeling of closeness, but also improves upon quality work in many, many ways.

        Working from home definitely has its pros and cons. All in all, it takes a lot of discipline and the right kind of mindset to make working-from-home work.

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