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Is Working from Home the Future of Careers in Business?

Is Working from Home the Future of Careers in Business? main image

It’s a cold, rainy day. You’ve just sneezed for the tenth time in a row and the thought of commuting for an hour to get to the office is making you feel physically sick. Or perhaps there’s a flu outbreak at your daughter’s nursery and the babysitter can’t come on such short notice to watch over her while you’re at work.

In such cases, and many others, working from home can truly be a godsend.

Luckily for you and thanks to technology, the number of companies allowing employees to do so has risen exponentially.

The data

In the US, the percentage of Americans working remotely has increased by 173 percent in just over 15 years; in the UK, the figure increased by 27 percent from the past decade, with an average of 1.7m people ditching offices for the comfort of their own home.

Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that jobs in the financial sector provide the most workplace flexibility, with 57 percent of finance workers now working from home. Similar results were found in professional and business services (53 percent) and information services (53 percent). 

So, what has affected this phenomenon, and why are so many companies willing to adapt work-from-anywhere policies?

It’s good for businesses

Allowing employees to work from home saves employers quite a lot of money. Between renting office spaces and contributing to business travel, the costs of operating a business are high; by allowing employees to work remotely, companies can downsize their offices and save a substantial amount on traveling costs.

There are other advantages, too. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) found that employees spend only 1.2 hours of an average working day doing the “meaningful and rewarding work” they were hired to do, a figure that, they argue, can be improved by working from home.

The daily convenience of skipping a commute and avoiding office-related distractions helps workers be more focused and productive, reducing the time it takes them to complete tasks.

Lastly, offering a flexible working schedule makes a company more attractive in the eyes of applicants and employees. They can still experience a sense of camaraderie and connection to the organization and its culture, but also feel like their work-life balance is taken into consideration and respected, decreasing their desire to leave and minimizing turnover rates.

It’s good for employees, too

A PGi survey found that most employees (82 percent) feel less stressed when they work remotely. Similarly, the Cebr study proved that flexible work arrangements lead to higher levels of happiness among employees.

Aside from not having to commute, working from home allows employees to take more breaks, tend to daily tasks like grocery shopping and doing housework, and spend more time with family and loved ones – all factors that have been found to increase both positivity and productivity.

Moreover, offering flexible working arrangements benefits those who for one reason or another cannot commute or leave the house at all, decreasing unemployment rates and improving diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

So, what’s next?

It’s hard to say whether flexible working will continue to increase at such a high rate. Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that the workforce is craving a better work-life balance, and that both employees and employers can benefit from such arrangements.

As Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs, told Forbes: “Companies of all sizes and across all industries can adopt work-from-home and flexible work policies to meet the changing demands of the workforce.”

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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