By: Amanda Morse
Close your eyes and picture an office. What do you see? Perhaps a reception area, some cubicles (or maybe desks arranged in an open floor plan) and a breakroom. But what about a small room with a desk that sits right off a living room or even just a kitchen table? The latter two options might seem like unusual office spaces, but we’re quickly moving toward a time when those will be the norm.
In a 2018 survey of 3,000 Atlanta-based technologists, 43% of respondents rated the ability to work from home as the top perk they’d like to see from future employers. Even more telling, respondents with more than 15 years of experience were three times more likely to insist on working from home.
These findings beg the questions: Should you consider developing a work from home policy for your company? And what might that policy even look like?
The survey results reveal that today’s workforce wants flexibility, particularly when it comes to working from home. So should your company consider catering to this desire?
It’s easy to think about working from home in a negative light, picturing your employees sitting on their couches in their pajamas all day. But in reality, working from home offers several benefits to employees and their employers alike.
First, the ability to work from home gives employees more time back in their day since they no longer have to spend any time commuting to and from the office. This setup helps create a better work/life balance by giving people more personal time, and it can even increase productivity, since employees don’t come into an office and spend the first 20 minutes regrouping from a taxing commute.
Second, working from home also creates a better work/life balance by making it possible to work from anywhere. For example, this means employees can visit family in another state for a week or two without having to take time off or even make a move to somewhere they’ve always wanted to live without having to worry about finding a new job.
Third, the ability to work from home gives employees flexibility to balance work and personal responsibilities, such as the need to be home when the kids get back from school or when someone comes to make a home repair. This benefit is especially important for employees with children who would need to explore expensive childcare options otherwise.
Notably, it’s not just employees who benefit from working from home.
All of the benefits listed above help keep employees happy, which typically leads to a higher level of motivation, increased productivity and less turnover. Furthermore, the ability to keep working in the same job even as needs like moving to another state or being home for young kids arise also helps increase the tenure of employees.
Finally, developing a work from home policy gives your company access to a broader talent pool. Beyond the fact that experienced workers are more likely to insist on working remotely, a work from home policy also means your recruiting team is not limited by geography for commute times when filling open roles. That means you can recruit for the best talent and most experienced workers without feeling limited by a maximum 30-45 minute commute time radius.
Despite the numerous benefits that working from home provides, challenges do exist. Chief among these is developing a work from home policy that provides the flexibility employees want without sacrificing collaboration, productivity and accountability.
Nevertheless, developing a work from home policy that balances these needs is possible. Here are seven steps to get started: