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Home Office: Why My Lounge Can Be Better Than Your High Rise

Those who work from home will tell you that lack of a cubicle has pros and cons, but mostly pros. Does the fact that pants are optional in your home office beat the social element of the bullpen? The World Economic Forum claims that virtual teams are one of the biggest drivers of transformation in the workplace. With the number of people choosing the home office growing every year, the workplace of the future has some benefits.

Happy Staff Are Productive Staff

It is easy to think that the home office might feature a lot of distractions. The T.V, a pile of washing, your dog. We forget, however, that the communal office is no better. Social chatter, spur-of-the-moment meetings, and distracting noise can all contribute to a dip in productivity. Around 86 percent of workers claim they work better when they are alone and can focus. Autonomy doesn’t lead to laziness. People can often feel more accountable for their time when they are solely responsible for it.

We live in the most connected age in history. Communication channels are abundant. The Harvard Business Review states that video conferencing makes workers feel more connected. A home office, while quieter, isn’t necessarily emptier.

Stress Less in Your Home Office

According to the American Psychological Association, work, money and the nation’s future were the three most prominent causes of stress for Americans in 2017. The home office can help with this, which leads to other benefits including higher morale, less absenteeism and reduced employee turnover.

Stanford University reported on a Chinese company that began offering a work-from-home office to its employees and saw a 50 percent drop in resignations. Telecommuting makes your business a more attractive place to work for potential employees. A flexible work environment shows the employer places value on work/life balance. Millennials prefer the option, and it means older employees can work for longer.

Other Benefits

In case you missed it, we messed up the environment. Few people enjoy the rush-hour commute as it is, so everyone wins if we no longer have to travel to our workplace, right? Businesses are becoming aware of the ecological footprint and soon driving to work will become the new fax machine. If the argument for the home office is looking pretty good at this point, here comes the big one. Everyone saves money. Transportation, uniforms, commercial real estate, all necessary when your desk is in your house.

Tips To Make The Home Office Work

While this is all sounding pretty great, there are the cons we mentioned earlier that need to be considered. It can be hard to keep yourself motivated at times, and the transition from office culture to home office can be tricky. As the standard hours often go out the window, many have difficulty switching off and often over-work. Here are four things that will help:

  1. Set the alarm, shower and get dressed, start your day even though you aren’t leaving the house
  2. Establish a work area and hours – have a space that you can leave to ensure you finish work at some point
  3. Leave the house – Take a walk at lunchtime or spend more social time out and about, enjoy the flexible element of your position, especially when you are losing focus
  4. Use co-working spaces – If you miss the social element of the office, there are plenty of co-working places to set-up for a day to get out of the house. Business owners that are slimming down their office space may want to provide a co-working hub for their employees and meetings.

The New Normal

If you’re still not convinced that the home office is better than the high rise, it would appear that most other people are. In 2017, 43 percent of Americans spent time working remotely, a number that is growing every year. As technology advances and we find it easier to connect with the whole world, your office can become portable. Time to consider leaving the water cooler behind!

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