“I got you a croissant. Sorry there’s no time for brunch,” my friend Kim says as she’s hunched over her computer. It’s 8:00 a.m. I slept at her place between flights, and she’s working from home since I’m not her only guest; her mother is visiting for the weekend and she wants to let her in with a proper greeting. But the freedom to work in a sweatshirt sans-makeup doesn’t prevent Kim from doing her best work. She is a powerhouse, sitting in her closet-turned office putting together a media list for her client strategy presentation while dialing in to a conference call.
Some managers might assume that when an employee works from home, they might not be productive. Perhaps their employee is out for brunch with a friend visiting when they should be having a date with Excel, or is scrolling through Facebook while monitoring their e-mail inbox. But working from home can actually be more productive than coming into the office. According to a survey done by Surepayroll, 86% of employees report that they’re most productive when they work alone. When they work from home, they can create a space free of distractions, meetings that could have been reduced to an email, gossip, and noise. Taking a break from the office is refreshing, and puts the energy usually spent during a long commute towards working smarter.
Companies that allow employees to work from home are giving their personnel flexibility and room to breathe. When a team member just moved and is waiting for an Ikea delivery, you’re allowing them to build their life while they are still doing exactly what they’d be doing in the office, just without feeling anxious that their job is in limbo or they’re looked down upon for not physically showing up.
Letting your team members choose when best fits them to work from home shows them that you trust them to get their work done and that you appreciate them, so when they do physically show up, you know it’s because they want to be there. The appreciation you gave them comes right back to you, like a boomerang.
And for the cherry on top: offering workspace flexibility also makes you a more attractive employer. If you’re tapping into the millennial hiring pool, keep in mind that 68% expect a work from home option from their future employer. While that’s not the main reason why Kim accepted her job offer, it’s definitely made her happier at her company and keeps her morale high.
If you’re worried about your employees taking a break while they work from home, don’t be. If they take five minutes to sweep their floor in between tasks, it’s as if they’re taking a normal office break – coffee chat breaks, smoke breaks, a quick ping pong match. You hired your employees because you trust them, both in the office and outside. So next time someone asks if they can work from home because their pet is sick, or they’re expecting an important person or delivery, feel confident granting their request since they’ll be working just as hard, if not harder, in the comfort of their own home.