Practically every business ponders whether to implement or update a work from home policy. On the surface, WFH can seem like a dubious prospect even though business phone systems paired with unified communications software and mobile solutions make it a more viable proposition than ever.
But you know what? It works. I mean, it really works. Many businesses take some convincing to enact a WFH policy. We're up to that task. So without further adieu, here's our list of 25 reasons to WFH:
1) Saves gas: According to a survey of employees, 55 percent of those polled cited saving gas as one of the key reasons they liked WFH. This finding is no surprise when you look at commuting statistics. As the U.S. Census Bureau uncovered in a 2012 report, the average regular commuter drove 18.8 miles - or approximately 26.1 minutes - to work daily. That adds up to more than 2 hours of travel time a week. And that statistic doesn't even account for the Extreme, Long-Distance, and Mega commuters, whose travel is a lot longer. When you factor in gas prices, it's no wonder people prefer to WFH.
2) Saves the environment: Guess what logically follows from fewer people commuting? That's right - less of an impact on the environment! If your employees are clocking in from home 2 or 3 days a week, those are also 2 or 3 days the Ozone Layer will be spared some noxious chemicals.
3) Gets rid of the pain of traffic: OK, we promise this is the last commute-related point we'll make about WFH. But really, it's worth mentioning that the typical commuter spends - wait for it - 38 HOURS A YEAR just stuck in traffic. That means you spend more than a day and a half with this expression on your face:
4) Boosts worker performance: To test the efficacy of WFH, some Harvard University experts conducted a study at Ctrip, a Chinese travel agency with 16,000 employees. The study followed a group of staffers who were selected to WFH versus a group that stayed in the office. The study occurred over nine months. As the eventual report revealed, those assigned to WFH experienced a 13 percent boost in performance.
5) Gives staffers more time: The Harvard study of Ctrip revealed that one of the key reasons WFH staffers were able to get more done is because being at home enabled them to work longer.
6) Makes employees more likely to stick around: These days, employee attrition is a real issue at companies across industries. This is largely a function of the millennial mindset, in which restless 20-somethings hop from job to job waiting for their dream life to reveal itself. Unless your business is a combined coffee taste-testing center and cat petting farm, you're unlikely to provide employees with their dream job. But if you implement WFH, you are likely to keep them around for longer. As the Harvard study found, employee attrition among the WFH group was half that of those who worked in the office.
7) Motivates staffers to take fewer sick days: Another interesting finding from the Harvard study? WFH staffers took fewer sick days. This isn't surprising, since oftentimes a sick day is really just an "I don't want to get up, fill up the gas tank and drive to my boring cubicle" day.
8) Creates a more suitable work environment: Believe it or not, the home is often a more work-friendly place than the office. The WFH staffers at Ctrip discovered this, pointing out that their homes presented "a quieter and more convenient working environment."
9) 40 hours a week is extinct: Your parents and grandparents probably told you about the importance of working your 9 to 5, 40-hour work week. With respect to your elders, the world doesn't run on 9 to 5 anymore. Technology, mobility, social media - it's ushered us into the always-plugged-in era. Allowing staffers to WFH helps meet the needs of an always-on world.
11) Lou Adler, CEO of The Adler Group, also works from home
12) WFH promotes employee health: You've driven to work, you're exhausted from the commute, and so it's Taco Bell again. Oh wait, no, you're at home! Why not make yourself a salad? As a Splashtop infographic pointed out, almost three-quarters of workers say they make healthier food choices when they WFH.
13) Reduces worker stress: The office is frequently a source of stress. Shockingly, your living room couch is not. As the Splashtop infographic pointed out, telecommuters have their stress reduced by 25 percent.
14) Saves workers money: We said earlier that we weren't going to include another commute-related point. But this stat is too good to not include: The typical commuter shells out $1,500 on gas annually. So yeah, WFH can save staffers some serious green.
15) Improves employee fitness: "Sound body, sound mind." It's a saying that's beyond dispute. With WFH, staffers can lower their waist sizes, BMIs and blood pressure. As their bodies become sounder, so too will their work ethic.
16) Meets the needs of dads and moms: If you're a dad or a mom with little kids to look after, you'll be thankful for a WFH option. It'll save you money on sitters, and, more importantly, lets you be closer to your kids.
17) You don't have to worry about dressing up: When you WFH, you dress for you and only you. That means no pants-suits, no boxy blazers and no ties. With your PJs on, you can work comfortably and therefore more efficiently.
18) Limits the spread of disease: Stomach bugs are notorious for ravaging small spaces with amazing efficiency. If you've ever been on a cruise ship where a bug breaks out, you know what I'm talking about. But the same principle applies to offices - when a virus hits, it makes the rounds. Not so if WFH is in place.
19) Reduces annoying small talk: Don't get us wrong, some small talk is good. But the creepy guy at the water cooler who keeps mentioning that he's free on Friday - eh, not so good. WFH erases these time-wasters from your life.
20) Enhances employee discipline: When staffers are charged with motivating themselves, that actually makes them more motivated, as the Harvard study pointed to.
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23) Better office atmosphere: You know that friend you get along with amazingly for a few hours but who becomes intolerable after a couple days? An office works the same way. It's amazing how much better your colleagues will get the less you see them.
24) Indulging the occasional distraction: Want to watch TV for half an hour? Check Facebook for a few minutes? French Press your coffee? Go ahead.
25) WFH is the way of the future: All these benefits aside, the fact is that everyone's getting on the WFH train. Don't get left behind.