Are home workers as productive as workers who clock in at the office from 9 to 5? That seems to be the core issue in the argument over whether corporations should offer employees work-from-home opportunities. As noted in our previous post, the trend in recent years has been toward encouraging greater autonomy in the work place which made Yahoo’s recent decision to ban the option surprising.
Working from home, job sharing and flexible work hours give employees greater flexibility in tailoring at least a portion of their work schedule to accommodate personal and family needs. For employees that care for young children or aging parents, such flexibility can make a tremendous difference in their ability to perform their jobs effectively.
Working from home has proven not only effective in fostering a more positive employee work attitude but employers typically note increased productivity. Noticeable cost savings with no drop in productivity prompted IBM to expand a pilot work-at-home program across the board at its White Plains headquarters.
As Oliver Burkeman of London’s The Guardian wrote in a column posted on Business Insider:
“A review of 42 studies, conducted among 23,000 people in France, Russia and elsewhere, found that reminding people of their autonomy made it much more likely they’d agree to a request … In one experiment, in a French shopping mall, only 10% of people gave to charity when asked – but when researchers added, ‘You are free to accept or refuse,’ the proportion shot up to 47.5%.”
The phenomenon appears to hold true across human experience. We are more receptive to doing what someone asks if we perceive our decision to be a freely made choice. Applied to the work place, choice makes for happier, less stressed employees, increasing productivity.
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