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Workin’ the “Work-at-Home” Jam

Work it, baby! Millennials are moving up in industry, baby boomers are set to retire, and the number of companies that facilitate work-from-home jobs is on the up and up. In fact, it’s been growing for decade.

Ten years ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19% of the workforce did so from the comfort of their home office. Cue the footy pajamas. Now that figure is closer to a quarter of the workforce in the US and rising.

Why the increase? Work-at-homers cite several reasons they prefer to log in their hours at the home couch, ahem, I mean desk. Flexible scheduling allows for the control to customize your work hours with your personal hours. Kicking the commute (both the time and the cost) is also a bonus for those who work from home. And aside from the tax benefits, the lack of a “boss” looking over your shoulder, and the ability to create your own business, those who work from home also tend to have higher levels of general satisfaction.

Harnessing work-from-home employees makes sense for companies, too. Reports from Global Workplace Analytics discovered that businesses saved more than $10K per employee when they facilitated work-from-home opportunities for half of their staff. Office space, supplies, and snacks are among the places businesses save. Plus, staff who work remotely are more likely to stay and, believe it or not, produce more.

However, working from home is not for everyone. It works best for employees who are very disciplined and highly self-motivated. Remote workers don’t get the benefit of facetime with co-workers and can be out of the loop with new projects or policies. Selecting the right work-from-home staff should be made with much consideration.

Here are some pointers for companies interested in implementing this in their business:

  1. Make a plan. Figure out where it will work for your company and make sure everyone understands the expectations.
  2. Execute a trial. Commit to a short-term test, maybe two months, and see how successful it was and if it should be continued and/or expanded.
  3. Train managers to oversee the work-at-home staff with clear directions and assessments.
  4. Continue to communicate. Collaboration is the key to success.