Does a work from home policy promote motivation and productivity among employees? Or… does it give them the way out for a free day off mid-week?
I have had the privilege of working from home full-time at one point, to going on-site full-time later. I have thus had the opportunity to explore the effects of having flexible work cultures at offices. Speaking in terms of the “Indian professional mindsets,” work from home is often seen as a weakness and the ‘only remaining option’ for those who are unable to step out of their homes due to various reasons. At one time when being a freelancer working from home was seen as a negative aspect of someone’s personality, that was often followed by the question “What’s wrong that you can’t go out?”
However, things are changing now, and some (if not many) Indian companies have now started exploring the effects of inculcating an open and flexible work environment.
Results of Work from Home?
- Flexible work cultures build employee loyalty
An employee of a company that allows working remotely to suit personal commitments says a long-planned holiday or travel arrangements, is much more likely to maintain a longer association with the company as compared to an employee of a company with strict ‘in-house’ work cultures. Some might even give it a higher priority than monetary benefits.
- Remote working options promote healthier employees
Employees enjoying work from home online opportunities ended up being healthier and visibly happier, owing to the added level of comfort and ease of working scenarios.
- Work from home routine promotes ‘a sense of belonging’
Employees exercising work from home opportunities during certain days of the week feel more ‘engaged’ towards their jobs and companies, as against those who are required to be physically present in the offices at all days of the week.
- Flexibility in working scenarios improve employee ‘attendance’
When the management of a company allows employees to take a ‘Work from Home Day’ as and when needed, it motivates the employee to take it up and complete due tasks from home, instead of calling in sick and taking the day off, further delaying the deadlines. It motivates the employees to go the extra mile.
While these may all sound similar, the cons of non-flexible routines can be easily put down in simple self-explanatory pointers.
Cons of Non-flexible Routines
- Unhappy employees
- Increased sick leaves
- Increased employee turnover
- Poor employee-management relationship
- Delayed work deadlines
- Decreased motivation
- Reduced employee loyalty
- Decreased efforts from employees to take added measures to be better
With increased competition in the industry and growing numbers in terms of jobs as well as job seekers, there is a visible growth in preference for companies that follow healthy employee cultures as against those who follow strict guidelines for day-in and day-out duties.
Moreover, with many Indian companies following 6-day week structures, it really does raise a question on the much-needed work-life balance and the question of ‘Why should an employee choose to work with you and not your competitor?’
Here’s an interesting TED Talk by Nicholas Bloom, a William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford. –