In today’s digital work environment more and more employees are allowed to work in home office. By 2019, approximately 39% of companies in Germany enable their employees to work from home. However, it is often discussed if this option actually shows the desired effect and a positive outcome on the work performance of employees. One thing is for sure: working from home brings advantages and disadvantages.
One of the obvious advantages of working from home is the resulting flexibility. Both, the working hours and the coordination of breaks can be flexibly shifted without the work itself having to suffer as a result. In the evening, for example, a few working hours can be added spontaneously if the morning was not productive enough.
- Lower costs
Working at home saves costs both on the company side and on the employee side. From travel costs to the office, to costs for the daily lunch in the canteen and expenses for the appropriate office clothes – a lot can be saved.
- Less stress
While work in the office can often quickly become stressful work at home can be divided more efficiently. Urgent tasks or private appointments can be easily scheduled and later working hours become much less stressful at home than in the office itself.
- Work and family
Employees with families often appreciate working from home, as it makes it easy to e.g. pick up children from school in between or to take care of family appointments. Work can be resumed and continued at any time – without the long way back to the office.
- Increasing productivity
When working in home office lots of people think about getting up late and sitting comfortably on the couch. In fact, a Stanford University study shows that working from home can significantly increase employees’ productivity levels. In addition, home office workers often seem to take shorter breaks and fewer days off.
However, the environment of one’s own home can also become a distraction. The family, the mobile phone or the to-do list, which you absolutely want to do before work – disruptive factors at home should be avoided or minimized as much as possible as not to lose focus.
- Less motivation
Furthermore the own motivation in the home office can sink, since one is not in the work-typical surrounding field with colleagues. Therefore self-discipline is required in order to actually do the work dutifully and to not be distracted.
- Separation – job and private life
As uncomplicated as the combination of family and career in the home office may often be – keeping the balance between private and professional life is not always easy. Clear rules and an own office in the house can help to show the limits for oneself as well as for the family.
When working from home, one thing is missing in particular: interaction and exchange with colleagues. The usual coffee breaks are now spent alone at home and the usual “chatting” in between is also a thing of the past. This can lead to a feeling of isolation, which can have a detrimental effect on work.
- Out of the eyes, out of the mind?
For some employers, doing a good job comes with being present. But with home office work this can lead to the employee’s performance being rated as weaker. Regular meetings on the status of work performance can be helpful.
One thing is for sure: rules are also necessary when working from home. Many employees prefer a combination of home office and office presence.
Ultimately, everyone should be able to test for themselves whether the home office principle works for them – both employees and employers.