Over the last decade, working from home has become a desired perk by many. Many claim that they’re more productive, they’re happier with their jobs, and that they have a better work/life balance. While these may all be true, allowing employees, and yourself, to work from home may not be the right choice for your small business.
Where are Employees the Most Productive?
Avast Business conducted a study of small business employees and employers to find out how working from home affects productivity, satisfaction, and morale.
- 38% of employees say they are most productive when working at home
- 35% say they are most productive when working at an office
- 21% say they are most productive when working in a public space, like a coffee shop or library
- 6% prefer a “hot desking” situation. Hot desking refers to coming into the office and working at a shared work space or whatever desk is available.
Pros & Cons of Working Remotely
The biggest benefit that mobile working offers employees is happiness – ‘I am happier’ was chosen by 34% of respondents. But it’s not just employees that benefit from mobile working, it’s you too. The survey shows that when working outside the office, people also take pride in what they do and deliver higher quality work. Great news for your business!
Some other pros of working from home include:
- Better work/life balance – 34%
- Increased productivity – 30%
- Employee takes pride in what they do – 22%
- Employee delivers higher quality work – 21%
- Employee takes fewer sick days – 16%
- Employee feels empowered – 14%
While working from home or remotely may seem like all fun and games, there are cons that go along with it. The biggest downside of mobile working is getting distracted (45.5%). People are also more interested in having a good work/life balance and being able to take breaks when they like than respecting their employer or staying with the company longer.
Other cons of working from home include:
- Procrastination – 40.5%
- Employee misses something important that happens at the office – 40.5%
- Employee works longer than they’re supposed to – 40%
- Weaker relationships with some colleagues – 37%
- Employee may be overlooked for promotion – 29%
- Cybersecurity – employees who use an unsecure Wi-Fi network put the company’s email, banking, projects, and documents at risk for an attack
One concern, or con, that many employers express is not being able to see and communicate with employees well. This concern can be remedied by establishing weekly or daily video calls to discuss current projects and the employee’s performance.
Pros & Cons of Working at the Office
While working remotely is the ‘shiny new toy’ that many employees just have to have, there are still many positives to showing up at the office every day. The biggest positive is collaboration. If you run a business that is highly dependent on collaboration and group work, having employees spread out across town (or the state, or even the country!), probably will not work. Offering space within the office for employees to get together and work is a better use of everyone’s time.
Other pros of working at an office include:
- Less emails in your inbox – working in an office encourages face to face communication
- Sense of belonging
- Easier to connect and communicate with managers
- Increase in creativity – collaborating with coworkers will help you think in new ways
- Ability to provide technological support and expertise
Let’s review some cons of working from an office:
- Lack of trust from employees
- Employees have identified stress and anxiety as the main factor affecting their productivity when working in an office
- Sedentary lifestyle – office jobs are one of the leading causes in obesity . Working in an office setting does not encourage regular breaks for standing and short walks
- Lack of daylight – sunlight increases happiness and productivity and is an essential part of life
- Potentially spending a large portion of the day commuting
Which Option is Right for Your Business?
Ultimately this is up to you. As mentioned previously, if your company relies on collaboration, a work-from-home culture may not be the best decision. However, if your employees do more independent work, maybe it is best to let them choose where they work from.
One solution is to survey your employees to gain a better understanding of their work habits and preferences. From the survey results you’ll be able to make a more informed decision. Maybe you allow one work-from-home day a week, or you get rid of your office completely! Only you can make that call.