For decades now, employers have been staunchly divided over the merits of working from home. Some see it as a way to appease workers, making them happier and more productive. Others view work from home as a sort of business fool’s gold, a theory that works well in principal, but ultimately leads to distraction and a lack of results.
Truth be told, I believe the answer lies somewhere in between. Instead of insisting on an all-or-nothing approach at my firm, I’ve formulated a hybrid composed of elements of both camps: Employees come into the office four days a week but may work remotely Fridays if they prefer.
And, here, I can visualize more than a few CEOs shaking in their loafers at the notion of taking this leap of faith with their employees. While the solution is ultimately subjective, based on an employer’s particular industry and environmental preference, here are five reasons why your business may thrive when employees work from home one day per week or every two weeks:
Let’s face it: The 9-to-5 office model is going the way of the floppy disk — it’s obsolete. People are sick of the formal, inflexible work environment and are seeking a more comfortable and informal schedule, even if that means cutting into their own paychecks.
A poll from Global Workplace Analytics found that of 1,500 tech professionals surveyed, 37 percent would sacrifice 10 percent of their earnings if they could work from home. More so, 36 percent would opt for a work-from-home day instead of a raise.
Aside from the favor CEOs are accruing with their employees by moving the workplace to home base, they’re also positioning themselves as stewards of the environment — massively cutting down on carbon emissions employees avoid when they don’t have to commute, and instead participating in meetings from their livingroom couch.
This argument has actually been quantified: One innovative approach to eco-responsibility, the Open Work Program, adopted by Sun Microsystems in 2007, was said to ward off 32,000 metric tons of Co2 from the atmosphere because employees were driving less often to and from work.
Even before wide adoption of communication apps like Skype and Slack took the stage, workplaces like Sun Micosystems, with its 24,000 employees, allowed work from home. Through its Open Work program, Sun Microsystems allowed its entire staff to work from home or a flexible office, either part or full-time.
“No stress, no stress, no stress. You deserve nothing but the best.” Sometimes, you can’t help but quote Jesse McCartney’s last chart topper. It’s no secret that workplace stress is a serious problem — in fact, a study last year by researchers at Stanford and Harvard showed that stress from work can be as dangerous as secondhand smoke.
So, maybe working from home is a solution. By subtracting a commute and the potential mental anxieties that come with being physically present in the office, a workday from home every week or two weeks can go a long way.
Not to mention that the physical proximity to family members can be comforting in the event of Armageddon. Yes, working from home takes a bit of willpower, with laundry and daytime soap operas as easy distractions, but with all the comforts nearby, it can be a stress relief as well — which helps everyone.
Boy, do job candidates’ eyes light up at an interview when I tell them that we’re at home on Fridays. I get it: People have lives as well as other interests. Whether it’s religious responsibilities, kids at home or a thriving side hobby, the bit of extra flexibility and time-savings that working from home provides can go a long way.
Ultimately, the best employees are those who enjoy balance and harmony in all aspects of their lives. Letting people work from home one day a week, is a huge perk and powerful recruiting tool for nabbing and keeping the best and brightest talent.
Perhaps that’s why many of the greatest tech companies offer this perk.
So, don’t go crazy — oversight is still needed and too much flexibility can be a bad thing — but allowing employees to work from home one day a week or every other week can be the greatest thing to happen to your team. Try it and see.