Working From Home (WFH)

Tired of this…

Working from Home (WFH) has been a quiet revolution as people balance increasing demands of time, family, commuting restraints with the opportunity technology provides to work from home.

Due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, WFH (working from home) has appeared on most people’s radar.  Of course, there are some jobs that can’t be done from home, but many jobs can be done, at least partially, from home.

Benefits of WFH

Productivity, work-life balance, greater flexibility, less commuting & more time, family-life, cost reduction in commuting and food-on-the-go.

... for companies

Staff retention, higher productivity levels, greater flexibility (incl. recruitment), lower overhead and real estate costs, less recruitment, induction and training costs.

Challenges of WFH

Loneliness and isolation, being out of the loop and overlooked, distractions of the home environment, creation of a dedicated work space.

… office environments

Tyranny of the urgent demands created by a busy office, noisy and distracting environment, commuting times and the need to plan around it, office politics.

Healthier You

People who work from home exercise more regularly and have better eating habits.  Breaking the commuter grind even if its only for a day changes our mindset and food on the go is more a treat than a staple.

… healthier environment

Fossil fuel combustion is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases and the consequent damage to our environment. The recent lockdown has shown how clean our air can be, especially in our cities.

Helpful Articles

(from reliable sources)

We have compiled a summary below of some of the best articles available on Working from Home (WFH).  If you want more information on sources, etc. just let us know at info@shomera.ie. 

Overview by Shomera

Summary

Working from Home (WFH) has become a significant part of many people’s lives.  It takes getting used to and has to be negotiated.  What are your family’s expectations when you are home?  How do you deal with domestic distractions?  

Research shows people work more, are more productive and they save time & money when they work from home.  One must learn new disciplines and practices to ensure success and a healthy balance.

For companies, trust, measurable goals and clear expectations help with the journey.  Businesses can count on increased productivity and higher levels of staff retention, which not only saves money but is key to a company’s success.

Challenges such as loneliness, feelings of isolation and being overlooked are best dealt with by a balance of working from home and being in the office.  With the proliferation of open-plan offices and the noisy distractions, the collective wisdom is that working from home some of the time is the optimal arrangement (e.g. 1 day a week plus 2 mornings).

With people being busier and life more stressful, the flexibility and work-life balance is more and more attractive to individuals and businesses.

 

Article by RTE and TUD

(Technological University Dublin)

TUD (Technological University Dublin) professors note between 2018 and 2020, Irish job site ‘Indeed’ has seen a 196% increase in requirements for flexibility. With 4.2 million working from home (WFH) in UK (working from home defined as minimum 1-2 days per week), Ireland may be lagging but catching up (with 250,00 WFH). Successful remote workers make a good delineation between work and home life.  WFH remains undesirable for some because of presumed isolation.

Article by Airtasker

Summary

Airtasker surveyed 1,004 employees comparing productivity, health and spending of in-office versus remote workers. On average, the 505 remote employees worked 1.4 more days per month, exercised 25 minutes more weekly, and saved money/time on travel compared to those in-office.  1 in 4 had previously left a job due to the commute and 28% reported quitting a role due to a toxic environment. Long-term employees are integral for a company’s success, and a remote option helps staff retention. 

Article by Ethan Bernstein

Harvard Business School

Open offices lower company real estate costs, and are designed to create comfortable, productive atmospheres conducive to collaboration and knowledge-share. However, workers output is affected by the distraction of co-workers. In a study on open office environments by Harvard professor Ethan Bernstein, the research showed that workers also need time to work in a space in which they have more control and can manage their contact with others better.

Tedx talk with Professor Nicholas Bloom

Summary

Leading economist and Stanford University Professor Bloom discusses negative stereotypes associated with ‘working from home’, with humourous takes such as, home-shirking instead of home-working; “working remotely” or is it “remotely working”.  Bloom himself often works from home. He argues many common ideas about factory and office work are outdated. From an extensive research programme in partnership with the huge Chinese travel agent ‘Ctrip’, home-based workers were more substantially more productive and the ‘quit’ rate was 50% less.  

Article by Gallup Research

Working remotely is increasing, but studies and Gallup’s research show the greatest return for workers is when some balance between in-office and remote working is reached. Those who never work remotely are less engaged than those who sometimes do, and those who work remotely 100% at home are among the last engaged. Intentional communication, structure and trust are key to remote work. 

Article by Prithwiraj Choudhury, Harvard Business School

One “big promise of digital technology” was increased flexibility; in location, schedule and how to have a work-life balance.  Choudhury’s research suggests companies which allow individuals to decide where and when they work increase employee productivity, and lead to reduced turnover and organizational costs, such as 4.4% less hiring costs. Carbon emissions also fall as a result of reduced commuting. Clear expectations and trust is essential for remote work to work, and some required in-office remains crucial. Otherwise uncertainty may lead to scaling back rather than increased remote work options, such as with Yahoo!

Tom Popomaronis

Tom Popomaronis who has successfully worked from home for 10 years gives advice on mistakes to avoid. 

Some of his gleanings:

  • Don’t work in your pyjamas. Dress like you mean to work.
  • Have a designated workspace.
  • You need structure and boundaries. 
  • Embrace the opportunity to grow in discipline and skills.