My parents used to get confused when I would watch The Office every week. They would walk through the room and watch a few minutes, then throw up their hands and say, “but they aren’t actually doing any work!”
They’re not wrong. After all, Dunder-Mifflin was full of distractions. Can you imagine how much more work they would’ve done if only they had the choice to work from home?
While most of us don’t have to worry about sitcom levels of distraction, it’s hard to deny that more Americans than ever are choosing to get their work done outside of the office. A recent Gallup poll revealed that in 2016, 43% of employed Americans said they spend at least some time working remotely.
Management has not been as receptive to this shift. Fundera shared that only 7% of all US employers offer work-from-home flexibility, and that’s with a 40% increase in offerings over the past five years. And with technology that makes it easier than ever to collaborate, what’s stopping companies from taking advantage of the telecommuting trend?
There’s a common misconception of working from home as lazy, an excuse to get paid without changing out of your pajamas. Many perceive working from home as being more distracting when numbers show that the opposite is true.
Those who work from home are in many instances more productive than they would be in the office, and embracing remote working can also save your company time and money.
How Productive is It?
SurePayroll surveyed over 2,000 professionals on workplace distractions. 61% of them agreed that loud coworkers were their most significant distraction, and 86% said they would prefer to work at home alone to reach maximum productivity.
It turns out that the combination of distractions in the office, like loud co-workers and impromptu meetings, stifle productivity just as much as cell phones.
In one study, participants were divided into two groups. The first group was to work from home four days of the week, and the second from the office. The members of the first group operated from a private room at home with a reliable internet connection and were discovered to be 13.5 percent more efficient than the office group. The home group was also nine percent more engaged and took fewer sick days.
Furthermore, there are also circumstances like child care and chronic illness that require a lot of energy to make it to and from the office. SurePayroll reported that employers lose an estimated $1.8 trillion in productivity because of such issues.
Simple research abolishes the myth that working from home stifles productivity. In fact, it promotes it!
How Much Can It Save?
If the prospect of increased productivity isn’t enough to embrace remote working, the savings are pretty enticing, too. Telecommuters can still get work done when they’re sick, recover more quickly from medical issues, and can run their errands and make appointments without losing a full day of work.
Offering a remote working option also makes increases the pool of potential employees, especially young talent. Fundera reported that 68% of millennial job seekers agreed that a work from home option would increase their interest in working for a company, just as much--if not more than--benefits like casual dress code or free food.
One study showed that telecommuting options saved one business at least $2,000 on office space. SurePayroll’s data demonstrated that concerns over child care cost an average of $3 billion dollars. Meanwhile, days off for hangovers came in at about $160 billion, and time for smoke breaks cost $92 billion.
Providing options to work remotely has the potential to cut these costs substantially so that employees can be productive to their best potential. That productivity can even be tracked and measured each day to guarantee work is being done. As the demand for telecommuting options begins to grow, the reasons for those options become increasingly apparent.