The Positives of WFH

You are probably caught up in overseeing a Work-From-Home policy that you may have never intended to initiate. It can be concerning, and there are a lot of policy issues that an employer has to consider when they begin to implement WFH.  That said, it is worth stepping back and looking at the upsides of working from home both for employees and organizations.  In this blog, we’ll do a quick rundown of the commonly accepted benefits of WFH and why organizations adopt it.  Obviously, the COVID 19 issue converted WFH from an option into a necessity, but there are a number of reasons it may be a good idea, public health notwithstanding.  One of the surprising consequences of WFH for many, many workers is an increase in personal productivity.  Despite years of Theory X style managers fearing that WFH was an excuse to slack off due to lack of constant oversight, the evidence is showing that productivity increases with WFH.

As a result, firms are deciding that WFH may be a good long-term idea. There are probably multiple reasons: less distraction from co-workers, fewer meetings and impromptu visits from supervisors that distract from a worker’s focus, and similar interruptions. Also, employees who WFH feel more in control of how they structure their workday and that itself can improve productivity.

Another positive consequence may be that WFH is a bit greener. Eliminating long commutes lowers an employee’s footprint significantly. It also saves employees money: less wear and tear on vehicles and lower monthly fuel costs. Not to mention the time saved not sitting in a car, train or bus for extended periods.

IF WFH becomes a permanent fixture of work-life, both employers and employees may benefit from lower real estate and office maintenance costs. Employers who lease expensive office space may be able to cut back on the square footage, permanently cutting significant fixed costs. Not to mention offices have to be cleaned and maintained, furnished with desks, chairs, conference tables, and utilities have to be paid. A lot of this will go away forever if WFH becomes even a partial reality.

And it isn’t just employers who may benefit. Employees who must live in high property value areas of the country in order to commute to major urban centers may also yield some long-term benefit. Proximity to one’s workplace may no longer matter, freeing people to make the choice to move to less expensive regions where property values and the cost of living are lower.

Finally, WFH is a very attractive benefit to many workers, especially younger workers and those with caregiving responsibilities. The cold fact is that successful recruitment and retention may rely on a company’s willingness to offer at least partial WFH. Increasingly, studies by major consulting and recruitment firms are determining that the opportunity to WFH can be an important factor when selecting a new employer. The lack of a WFH opportunity has also been shown to be a reason for seeking alternative employment.

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