Studies Revealed Working From Home Isn't As Good As You Think
As an employer, have you ever thought of implementing the work from home culture on a regular basis? It allows more freedom to your employees, they’ll waste less time commuting to work and are able to be more productive as they would be happier working with such a good work-life balance. In addition, you may not even need to have a large office space or place little office supplies, hence less expenses there for you. The list goes on.
These common benefits gained by your company by allowing your employees to work from home may seem attractive, however, did you know that recent studies found that a work from home culture may not be as good as you think after all? In fact, it may be damaging to your company culture as a whole. A study published in 2015 in the journal Academy of Management Discoveries revealed that when a culture of offsite work took place, it may not be appealing to employees who needed the social aspect of working in an office. The workplace also becomes unpredictable as there are several ways to do work rather than just completing work from the office itself.
Another report this time from the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) has concluded that working from home can lead to insomnia and increased stress levels. It found that although the usage of modern telecommunication facilitates a better work-life balance overall, consequently it also tends to blur the boundaries between work and private life, exacerbating work stress. This is evident with the report finding 42% of highly-mobile and regular home workers experiencing insomnia, compared to 29% of regular office workers, and 41% of highly-mobile workers complained of stress, as opposed to 25% of office workers.
One of the most negative impact on working from home is that it hampers innovation and creative thinking. Ben Waber, an expert in people analytics and leader of Sociometric Solutions, a behavioural analytics company that studies remote working, said that innovations are born from interactions with people through different ideas and areas of expertise. Knowledge sharing is the key to innovation and creative thinking. If you are isolating yourself at home, how are you able to challenge your own thoughts and generate ideas if you do not have regular face-to-face interactions with your colleagues and co-workers?
While there are arguments that work from home would lead to happier employees, Waber’s research also found that employees who frequently interact with one another are happier and are more likely to keep their jobs. According to Waber, employees with tight-knit, face-to-face groups had job satisfaction that was 30% higher. Moreover, having a close work relationship with colleagues and co-workers can benefit your employees in many ways. Professional friendships develop between employees and their bosses can be very productive, because of a strong bond that can easily be fostered in a same work environment, where a boss is not just a boss but also acts as a mentor, a defender and a friend.
Perhaps the most common drawback to work from home is the complication in communication that occurs along with it. Despite the convenience of today’s telecommunication system, communicating digitally is more likely to lead to confusion and misunderstanding compared to talking face-to-face. In addition, whenever there is an urgent problem that needed to be solved instantly, your employee would be completely dependent on the technology for communication and if there is any glitch or downtime on his or her Internet connection in the process, chances are that the work matters will not be tend to immediately.
We have to admit and accept the fact that every one of our employees have had a day where they dream of staying home and work from home in their pyjamas and to just be oblivious on what is happening in the workplace. Having this “luxury” is good if it was given moderately as it would boost their mental happiness and job satisfaction. However, too much of it would just backfire and do no good not just to the company but also to the employee as well. While there are two sides to the work from home culture, always remember to weigh your options and consider the needs of different employees to cater to their strength and to offer an environment that can boost their productivity.
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