“I’m working from home.” All it takes is these four seemingly innocuous words to incite different responses.

Camp 1: Wow, you’re so lucky! No distractions today.

Camp 2: So you’re relaxing today?

Camp 3: It’s rubbish, I can’t stand it. I’m just not as productive at home compared to the office.

Working remotely seems like a logical option for those who work long or odd hours or for those whose job scope doesn’t really require their physical presence in the office but it isn’t one. There’s a growing need for this management practice yet there is still a certain stigma attached to working remotely.

work-from-home-1Microsoft addresses this in a report titled “Work without Walls”, authored by Rieva Lesonsky. It points out, “Employers and employees view remote working differently. The underlying issue resides in the two basic principles of trust and control. Business leaders assume employees who work remotely and take advantage of the policy are not really working. This is because of the loss of control. Employers lose direct oversight and cannot witness productivity firsthand.

On the other hand, although employees feel more productive when working remotely, they fear that their managers may fail to acknowledge their hard work because the managers cannot see it. And, they believe it could jeopardise being promoted or result in losing their jobs.”

Here are some insights on how working from home could work for you and your employer.

How will I reach you?

“Enhanced collaboration and video services will transform the new workplace as distributed, virtual teams meet regularly using these new technologies.” — Intuit 2020 Report, Twenty Trends That Will Shape The Next Decade

Staying connected is no longer an issue thanks to tools like Skype, Slack and GoToMeeting. These tools allow you to stay connected with your office counterparts even if they are on a different continent and work just as efficiently. Many have already adopted this practice with company WhatsApp groups and work emails synced on our mobile phones.

Related: 4 Must-try Productivity Apps

A balancing act

Your official working hours are 9 – 5 but you find yourself extending those working hours regularly. How does this affect your personal life? Do you bear with the sacrifice, figure out how to make it work or simply move on? Based on Microsoft’s “Work without Walls” report, 60% of the respondents found that they were able to achieve better work-life balance when they tried working from home. This goes to show that adopting said policy can be beneficial for both you (increased job satisfaction) and your employer (decreased turnover rate).

“Working from home allows me to achieve a better work-life balance. My job sometimes requires me to work at odd hours, for example, when I need to collaborate with colleagues in different time zones. This WFH advantage gives me the opportunity to plan my time more efficiently and ensures that I am able to find a balance between achieving professional goals and my personal life.”

— Zsofia, IT Consultant

Good things come in threes

Integrating a work-from-home policy can benefit employers in several ways. This trio includes saving on office space, office supplies and snacks. In the long run, these expenditure cuts will prove to be beneficial for the company.

Break old barriers

work-from-home-2When you don’t apply geographical limits, you are opening the door to key insights from the global market. Companies like Fiverr, Freelancer and Upwork can significantly improve the way you achieve your goals, giving you the freedom to get things done with the right people, no matter where they are in the world.

So long, long commute

Some people spend hours on their commute to and from work. There are things we encounter during our commute, from heavy traffic and accidents to malfunctioning public transportation systems that can put us in a bad mood before we step foot in the office.It’s even worse when you’re sick. Working remotely allows you to spend that time on work instead.

For employers, taking commuting out of the equation (even if it’s for one day out of the week) means your staff are less likely to take sick days or not show up at all. With that ‘break’ from the office – they may even be less inclined to take long vacations.

Stamp of approval

When you’re given the tools and empowerment to produce results in a surrounding that’s comfortable for you – you’re going to give it everything you’ve got. Working from home teaches you how to take charge of your own schedule and plan time efficiently. It also helps you to become more independent when it comes to problem-solving.

Be eagle-eyed

The Intuit 2020 Report by Emergent Research tells us, “The number of contingent employees will increase worldwide. In the US alone, contingent workers will exceed 40% of the workforce by 2020.” It also tells us that, “third places” for work will join the traditional office and home. The use of third places – public libraries, co-working facilities and rent-by-the-hour office suites – will continue to grow both in the U.S and abroad, augmenting the already standard list of airports, cars, and cafes.”

What are your thoughts on working from home? Would you give it a try? Share your WFH stories with us in the comments below!

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