3 Reasons to Let Your Employees Work From Home

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By Maurie Backman, The Motley Fool

These days, a growing number of employees are seeking flexible work arrangements in an attempt to achieve a better work-life balance. These arrangements often include setting their own hours, compressing their workweeks, and doing their jobs from home.

Working from home certainly has a number of perks from an employee perspective. Not only do workers stand to save money on things like commuting, but they also get the opportunity to tend to personal needs without taking time off from their jobs.

While the perks may not be quite as obvious on the employer's end, companies that allow employees the option to work from home stand to benefit, as well. Here are a few reasons why it pays to let your workers do their jobs from home.

 

1. They'll be more available

The risk of letting employees work from home is having them disappear into their living rooms and binge-watch their favorite programs or leave the house for hour-long shopping trips when they're supposed to be on the job. But actually, you may find that your workers are more available on a whole when you allow them to do their jobs remotely.

Imagine you have a staff member who drives an hour to work each way. He or she won't be available to answer emails for two hours a day, which means you might experience a lag in communication. On the other hand, if that person telecommutes, there's no automatic daily downtime.

 

2. They'll be more productive

One reason why so many companies fear work-from-home arrangements is that they think their employees will start to slack off in the absence of a supervisor several feet away. In reality, however, your workers might become more productive when you allow them to do their jobs remotely. That's because so many of the distractions that come with working in a busy office will be eliminated instantly.

For example, when you have an employee who works from home and needs to run into the kitchen for a cup of coffee, they probably will grab that beverage and get back to work. In an office, popping in for a cup of joe might result in a 20-minute conversation if a group of chatty colleagues happen to be converging at that point.

Similarly, it's easy enough for workers to get distracted when their desks are located in an area of the office with heavy foot traffic. But if you have employees whose jobs require deep concentration, there's probably no better environment for them than the quiet of home.

 

3. They'll be more motivated

Allowing employees to work from home sends the message that you trust and value them. And that's a message that won't go unnoticed. Once granted the privilege, your work-from-home employees are likely to step up their games to prove that it wasn't a mistake to give them that leeway. As such, you might experience an uptick in productivity, which is good for business. Furthermore, you may find that your workers are more willing to log on after hours and address pressing items when they're given the option to work from home because they figure that if you're flexible with them, they ought to be flexible with you.

Clearly, there's a lot to be gained on the employer's end by instituting a work-from-home policy. That said, if you're iffy about it, there's no need to go all in. Start by letting established employees telecommute on a part-time basis and see how it goes. If it's a positive move for the business, roll out the policy companywide and expand it as you see fit.

The key is to be open to the possibility, because chances are, whatever work-from-home arrangement you approve will benefit all of the parties involved.

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