Work From Home: The Best Practices


How much time do you spend on an average commuting from work to home asked a friend of mine? Around 3 hours I replied, and you? I asked …4 hours sometime longer he said. He lives in Bangalore and me in Mumbai. 

Depending on the place you stay in the urban metro cities your time to commute varies. What we don’t realize is it’s not just the time we lose we also lose energy and mental peace. Does it help us be more productive is the question that comes to my mind as an HR professional! Studies show that your distance from work has a direct correlation to your productivity too. 

“So, why do we insist that people come to work every day? Don’t we say technology makes life easier if it’s about tracking productivity why not leverage technology for that.”

Why NOT WORK FROM HOME?? Organizations are afraid that remote workers may be less productive, may not be able to focus efficiently and may misuse time or can’t collaborate efficiently. While there may be some truth in this but it’s not completely true. 

A recent survey by Airtasker suggests the opposite. 

  • Remote workers take longer breaks on average, but they remain productive for an additional 10 minutes per day.
  • Remote employees work 1.4 more days per month than their office-based counterparts, resulting in more than three additional weeks of work per year.
  • Researchers found that, along with spending more time doing work, remote employees lost 27 minutes per day on distractions, as opposed to the 37 minutes distracted office workers lost.
  • The survey also found that just 8% of remote employees and 6% of office workers reported finding it hard to focus on their tasks.
  • Researchers also found that office workers took shorter breaks than remote workers, though longer breaks have been shown to increase productivity.

While many organizations are still thinking of what needs to be done here are some best practices that matured organizations follow that you can imbibe in yours linked to the three biggest benefits that working from home provides – Flexibility, Cost Savings, and Health. 

Clear Work From Home Policy – Flexibility

Dedicate a structured policy of work from home, applicable to who, what and when and how. This ensures that the organization cares and at the same time is serious about work being accomplished. 

Infrastructure To Support Work From Home – Flexibility

Do employees have all the required access they need to work from home? If not, provide them with the infra support needed, laptops, data card and login access to company resources. 

You can even have a time and work tracker installed for your employees in case you think they may misuse this policy. Research shows that remote workers contribute more than normal workers.  

Telecommuting Flexibility – Financial Savings

This has a direct impact on productivity and health. I have known many who have quit jobs due to commute. We seldom realize that this has a direct bearing on the mental health of employees. Studies clearly indicate that the health of an employee has a direct correlation with productivity. Remote workers on an average get more free time as the commute time is eliminated, moreover telecommute leads to cost savings for the employee in terms of fuel and in the long term will have an impact on the health of the employee, studies show that remote workers get more time to exercise than those working from the office. 

Employee Engagement – Health

While work from home has its advantages, it has one big disadvantage, it makes collaboration difficult. The personal engagement that connects that you get in a workplace which helps to solve various challenges in a jiffy may become a drawback for remote workers. This may also eventually lead to disengagement of the workforce over a period. So, while designing work from home policy due care needs to be taken that remote working is promoted as a “freedom of choice” for the employee and even when remotely connected, organization and HR professionals must ensure various mediums to make them stay connected to their teams and the organization.  This has a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the employee.

While organizations need to encourage remote working to ensure that employees can manage their work and home effectively and thus be able to contribute better and be more engaged. Organizations can also track some KPIs (key performance Indicators) to gauge the effectiveness of work from home, this will give organizations avenues to keep improving their offerings to their employees. After all, we are living in the Employee Experience era and the better experience you can provide to your workforce, the best talent will work for you. 

All said and done it only takes one small incident to break the trust, and it takes a lifetime to build trust. , employees should also respect the organizations’ decisions and should abide by the policy and not misuse it.

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