As HR managers, we want the employees we look after to be performing at their best. A big part of that is taking care of their well-being. One easy way to achieve this, as well as benefitting the company, is to encourage adopting a ‘Work From Home’ scheme.
The numbers back it up. Huge companies such as BT and Dow Chemical report productivity increases of 35-40 % from teleworkers. Plus, a study by Staples shows that three quarters are also more loyal to their companies. These are undoubtedly benefits that make our lives easier whilst helping to reduce the staggering 200,000 days lost due to poor sleep.
Ines Respini Jones, HR Business Partner at Simply HR Consulting, puts it like this:
‘Maintaining the wellbeing of employees should be a top priority for employers to avoid employee burnout and managers should be trained to notice the signs and act on them promptly.’
So let’s look closer at how working from home can increase wellness.
We do everything from the comfort of our own homes today, from watching movies to shopping, so having one place where we do it all makes sense. Particularly with the rise of home offices, a recent study showed that currently, 4.2m people work from home in the UK.
An intricate support network of friends and family are already built into these systems, meaning any issues can be quickly remedied. What’s more, your employee is relaxed in an environment which gives them what they need – whether it’s lots of social stimuli or just a quiet little space to focus in.
Less time worrying about their kids
By removing some of the stress spent worrying about kids and allowing employees more time to spend with their families (thanks to less time spent commuting) working from home has been proven to improve well-being.
Not only that but the kids will benefit too from spending more time with their parents and learning from them. Studies show that there are social and learning improvements associated with higher parental interaction.
Working with Friends Rather than Colleagues
Group workspaces have sprung up across the UK, allowing people to work easier with friends and like-minded people.
A change of scenery and the companionship of a few friends can give a midweek boost to any worked, while allowing them to talk through their ideas with an outside influence who has a different perspective.
This means that they have their social support structure around them which reduces stress and ensures lunch breaks really mean relaxing downtime away from work.
Away from these workspaces, there is a growing trend of millennial workers staying constantly connected with friends online during the day. It’s another case of workers feeling comfortable and content as they get their work done and, if you offer flexible working hours, they can do it at the time that works best for them.
Better work life balance
As HR managers, we know the importance of a good night’s sleep on our staff. It helps us all to be more productive and far too often people don’t get the recommended seven hours. This is having a huge effect on business, with sleep deprivation thought to cost the UK economy £40 billion a year.
One way to counter these lost moments of shut eye is to cut the morning commute out of your worker’s schedules…. which means 16% less sleep per night! This way they can enjoy the comforts of their beds for a little longer, getting the required amount of sleep they need to work at full capacity.
Smartphones also contribute to the ‘sleep-deprived’ society we now live in. Shutting them down a few hours before bed, then settling into a room with blackout curtains can greatly improve sleeping patterns and with that comes a much improved employee through the day.
Overall encouraging employees to work from home, even if it’s just one day a week, will help increase their wellness, retain employees and cut the risk of burnout.