Why Working From Home Works

In the United States today, about 10 percent of workers skip the daily commute by opting to work from home.  As it turns out, getting work done without having to change out of your pajamas is more than just an employee pipe dream; the flexibility that allow for the work-from-home option in most cases is as good for the company as it is for the worker.

Working from home is a concept that is certainly appealing to a large number of employees nationwide, but until recently employers weren’t so sure it was a great business model.  As a Stanford University study put it, there have been concerns that working from home would lead to “shirking from home.”  However, Stanford’s findings last year revealed that working at home really does work.

According to the 2013 study, the work from home (WFH) model resulted in remarkable improvement in performance among employees, with home workers seeing a 13% increase in productivity after 9 months working out of the office.

Stanford has attributed a portion of the success of the WFH model to its inherent conduciveness to working more minutes per shift.  Telecommuting employees not only take fewer sick days, they are compelled to take fewer breaks when working from their home office, resulting in higher overall productivity and a lower employee turnover rate.

Working from home is not only a boon to the employer, but workers reportedly saw benefits of the WFH model as well.  The home environment offers a quieter work environment, often with fewer interruptions.  The overall result of the Stanford experiment showed an increase in work satisfaction among WFH employees.

Modern management styles, such as the work from home approach, can have a potentially positive impact.  But what if WFH is not a realistic option for your business?  The answer might be less about office management and more about office design.

To try to capture the WFH benefits without working from home, incorporate design elements that mirror the home office environment.  Avoid harsh lighting or drab colors in favor of more warm, homey lamps and hues.  To provide a quieter workspace without abandoning the open office floor plan that has been so central to team collaboration, designate exclusively quiet spaces around the office where employees can go to buckle down and work independently – the best of both worlds.

It’s hard to argue with the results of the Stanford study; working from home can work wonders.  If you can’t work from home, the next best thing is to make work a little bit more like home.


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