However, anyone who has worked as a lawyer for any length of time understands the demands it can make on your working hours and how sometimes things must be done, no matter what time it is. Having to complete those tasks in the office means staying later or coming in earlier, missing time with your family, and sometimes a decline in mental and physical health due to not being able to eat right, exercise, or pursue things you enjoy outside of work.
With the amount of technology in our society today, many companies are beginning to see the benefits of letting their employees telecommute or work from home, or giving them additional liberties in the office, like the availability to conduct walking meetings or work in spaces that are not traditional desks or office space.
Telecommuting has been around for decades with evidence of the first options for working from home rising in the 60s and 70s, but never has it been more popular or more speculated about than it is today. There have always been arguments against letting employees work from home, fearing that employees will be less productive, that they will lose their interaction with co-workers, and that there are too many distractions at home for people to actually get quality work done. While these are the arguments heard over and over, studies prove that most of these arguments are unfounded. A study by Stanford economics professor, Nicholas Bloom, showed that employees who work from home were more efficient than those who worked in the office, more engaged, took less sick days, and overall reported being more content.
Many companies seem to think that allows a work from home structure means working from home every day. Allowing telecommuting for employees doesn't have to be all or nothing, many companies find ways to give their employees a more flexible structure with a few days of working from home, or the flexibility to work from home as necessary.
Many managers still wonder though, how can working from home make my employees more productive, healthier, or happier? Employees tend to be more productive when working from home due to NOT having the normal office distractions, like chatting with co-workers.
Just taking out the commute can make a world of difference for a lot of employees. Working from home lets employees have more control over their day and maximise the times when they are personally more productive. If your work from home schedule happens to allow for more flexible working hours as well, employees can adjust their workday around activities like exercise and meals, thus making them happier, healthier, and more productive. Employees that work from home also reap health benefits from having the ability to recover as necessary while possibly still getting some work done while they are out sick and avoiding contaminating others.
Even allowing employees to have more flexibility and variety within an in-office workspace can add to their satisfaction on the job. Alternative workspaces like lounges or outside areas provide a change of scenery and the opportunity to get some fresh air, helping to boost productivity. Also, allowing employees to do things like walking meetings, helps employee's stay mentally and physically healthy.
Allowing employees the ability to work from home, or at minimum be more flexible in their working arrangements, brings benefits for both the employee and the employer. Having happier, more productive, and engaged employees can make a serious impact on a company's bottom line. If it's something you haven't tried yet, why not? It doesn't have to be an all or nothing step, but it might surprise you what an impact it could make!