Digitalization in private and public organizations has gained enormous momentum due to the Corona pandemic. And working from home has become an accepted alternative form of collaboration in the recent months as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Before the corona crisis, many employers were generally concerned that the productivity of their employees might drop due to possible distractions within their own four walls, and working from home was not even an option in many companies then. Currently it became quite clear that the possibility of temporarily working from home has become an integral part of the colorful mix of innovative collaboration methods.
The advantages for employees are obvious – an improved work-life balance, because there is much more time for family and recreation. Annoying and time consuming commuting is no longer necessary and the working hours can be arranged flexibly.
But can you really work productively despite working from home?
A study commissioned by the DAK, a health insurance company based in Hamburg / Germany, has now found out that productivity can even increase when employees get the opportunity to regularly work from home, as reported by the German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche.
56% of the 7000 participants of the study stated that they are more productive than when working in the office, and for two-thirds of the respondents the work-life balance also improved. This finding is attractive to employers not only in terms of productivity, as in addition to the reduced risk of infection, long journeys are no longer necessary and the company’s CO2 footprint is reduced.
If you also take into account the high noise levels, especially in open-space offices, it is easy to understand that working from home can actually be more productive than in an office – no continuous interruptions, no meetings lasting for hours, no annoying ringing phones of colleagues. In the ideal case, working from home can be flexibly arranged and activities can be adapted to your own biorhythm. The prerequisites for efficient collaboration are, of course, a well-equipped workplace and good and reliable software for communication and collaboration within the team and with superiors.
It’s all in the mix! Home office hybrid models
The fact that working from home does not have exclusively positive aspects, should also be mentioned at this point. Of course, not in every industry employees are able to work from home, and without the small talk with colleagues during the lunch break, in the office corridor or at the coffee machine, important information channels may be lost. And this social component also contributes to job satisfaction for many employees.
Video meetings during lunch breaks or a stand-up group chat for the team each morning to agree on the prioritization of the most important tasks for the day are a very useful way of staying in touch, even in remote teams. Cooperation is optimal when the advantages of both forms can be combined. If local conditions allow, it is therefore advisable to offer a mix of home office and presence days. This way, both, employees and employer can benefit from the advantages of both models.
You are also very welcome to read our other blog posts about virtual collaboration:
A major challenge, which has arisen due to the very sudden and forced necessity to “banish” many employees mostly unprepared to the home office, is IT and software security. Under extreme time pressure many organisations have chosen solutions for this new type of collaboration that do not stand up to a check for GDPR conformity for long.
Virtually overnight chat, group chat, sync and share, project management and video conferencing solutions were established in many organizations.
After several months of getting used to virtual collaboration, it’s time to check the deployed solutions for security, data sovereignty and data protection risks. Although this may mean another change for employees, it’s necessary to move forward to make sure organizations avoid data loss caused by unsafe solutions or high fines due to violations of the basic data protection regulation. Especially now, companies must also avoid long-term dependencies on inflexible solutions of proprietary software. Therefore it makes sense to decide for Business Open Source solutions to be able to react quickly to changes in the future and keep data where it belongs – in your company.
You can find tips for safe and sovereign use of communication software here:
- Overcoming distances digitally sovereign
- GDPR and business software – compatible?
- Our tips for a secure IT environment
Please read the complete article covering the DAK study here (German).
So in fact, we might need to correct the title of the blog post: Productive because of working from home is the right wording, when you look at the results of the study.
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