Picture this scene – it’s early morning, you’re not long up and you’re rushing around getting ready for work before the inevitable daily slog to get to the office. Sound familiar? No wonder you’re stressed.
Recent research conducted by VitalityHealth, in conjunction with the University of Cambridge has revealed that 33% of workers suffered mental ill-health because of these commutes. Furthermore, employees with journeys of more than 30 minutes were 46% more likely to get less than the recommended seven hours of sleep every night. No surprise then that productivity is affected.
Consequently, employers are being urged to consider flexible working to combat stress and declining productivity. Fittingly, a good unified communications strategy where employees can work from the comfort of their own home also offers notable advantages for your business. Let’s review what some of the leading thinkers say:
Up for some homework?
According to Stanford University, home working leads to a 13% increase in performance. The absence of noisy colleagues, office gossip and other daily disruptions means teleworkers gain an extra week per year of productivity and a lot less stress into the bargain. Factor in the time spent travelling to and from the office and you can see why this is a winning combination for both business and employee.
Neither here nor there
Presenteeism – when people come to work although they are unwell – is a bigger problem for employers than absenteeism in every sector of the UK economy re-affirms VitalityHealth. A staggering 23 days are lost per year, per employee across all 12 sectors due to this, compared with an average of 2.8 for absenteeism. Giving people, as a minimum, the option to work from home is not necessarily the solution but at least goes in the direction of ameliorating the issue.
The Generation Game
The workforce is changing. Generation X and Y represent the majority of the working population and with Generation Z about to join us, the new expectation will be for more virtual working, with greater collaborative space and increased flexibility in working hours and location.
Stay at home, get an instant pay rise
Travel costs money. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development tell us that the most commonly used ways of getting to work are driving (63%), walking (19%) and by bus/tram (11%). In all, about one in ten people travel by train, while 4% cycle and 3% use the Underground. Working from home requires no travel, saving time and most notably, money for everyone.
Green with envy
Sustainability is a big thing for business. Organisations that make use of remote working reduce their carbon footprint. The Future of Work Institute back this up stating ‘The issue of carbon is climbing the agenda of companies across the UK, and the reduction of emissions requires a rethink of the physical footprint. This issue, therefore, necessitates the adoption of more agile ways of working that depend less on the consumption of tangible resources and more on the creation of innovative structures and processes.’
It’s the people’s champion
Employees with flexible hours and the option to work from home have greater job satisfaction and lower absences. They also believe themselves to be in better mental and physical health. Additionally, companies that offer alternative ways of working have found an increase in staff retention, leading to substantial economic savings as well as minimising disruption to the client experience. That’s the evidence the Benefits of Flexible Working Arrangements found.
Of course, everything that has been researched above only makes sense so long as you have the right tools to facilitate it. Utilising cloud-based collaboration services such as Telephony, Presence, Instant Messaging, Conferencing, Mobility and Online Desktop sharing will free you from more than just your desk. And for the price of a high street coffee, you can have your staff using all of them.
As the years go by, telecommuting and mobile working is only becoming more popular, and if you aren’t part of it already, we can help with that – drop us a line here