Digitalisation is becoming more important than ever. Working from home has become ubiquitous since the beginning of the corona crisis. Why is it worth promoting this popular working format?
Zurich, 16th January 2020: Nadja’s calendar shows she’s booked in to work from home. When she calls her 55-year-old manager to clarify something about a project, he answers, ‘I thought you were off today.’
Just two months later, the office is almost completely devoid of people. Yet no one has taken the day off. When there’s no other option, it suddenly works. Everyone understands the concept of working from home. Meetings take place online, project management tools are being used more thoroughly, and work hours are logged down to the minute. Employees cheerfully call each other, the sounds of children prompt questions about private lives, and home office setups are discussed in online meetings.
In many companies, employees and employers are seen to be on the same page. Compromises have been made on both sides so that employees and the businesscan be sustained through this difficult situation. Now that offices are reopening their doors, many people are asking about the future of working from home.
According to calculations from the Beobachter, annual CO2emissions would fall by 67,000 tonnes if 450,000 workers in Switzerland worked from home one day a week. This saving is due to the reduction in kilometres travelled by car and public transport. If the majority of work trips were replaced by online meetings, CO2 emissions would fall even further. Workplaces can become flexible through working from home, so around 30% of office space costs could be saved.
Commuting to work in Switzerland takes on average 44 minutes*. If we worked from home 50% of the time, we’d get back around 90 hours a year. We could spend this time with our families, relaxing, exercising, cooking and helping others. Whether it’s due to being close to family, getting their free time back or being able to work without interruption, most workers are happier at home than in the office. Various studies and surveys have come to the same conclusion: we can work in a more efficient, concentrated manner at home thanks to fewer interruptions.
We should focus on employees rather than facts and figures. Not everyone likes working from home: some can’t manage to properly separate work and leisure time, others miss being able to bounce ideas off their team, and yet others feel distracted by their children or partners. Employees fear that they may miss out on career opportunities because they have so much less contact with their superiors when at home, or feel that their work is less visible. So, why not ask? We recommend the tried-and-tested tool Qualtrics for carrying out a ‘working from home barometer’ survey with your employees. We work with Qualtrics at HR Campus, and have recently introduced tangible improvements for our staff.
Online surveys are not only used to check on the wellbeing of team members, but managers too. They may be worrying about a loss of control with their team members working from home. If fears or anxieties are uncovered in the survey, HR can introduce the right trust-building measures in real time.
At HR Campus, we want employees and project teams to be able to decide which working format makes sense for them. After all, discussions may be more productive with everyone in the same room, brainstorming is often helpful in creative processes, and strategic solutions are commonly driven within the team. The opportunity to regularly work from home has now become a deciding factor for many job candidates, and it contributes to employee wellbeing.
Many companies are still faced with technical hurdles and legal uncertainty when it comes to working from home. The digitalisation of internal processes is now more urgent than ever. With the digital employee portal, Docu Sign, analytics and absence management, you can offer the best foundations for working from home. If you were thrown in at the deep end when lockdown began a few months ago, we would be happy to join you in making the most out of this opportunity, advising you, and initiating internal digitalisation projects.
* Beobachter, https://www.beobachter.ch/arbeit/arbeitgeber/home-office-tipps-fur-das-buro-zu-hause (28.06.2020)
Published: 7. July 2020