By Leo Tucker, Head of Global Marketing, PGi
Longer days, more sunlight and warm weather beckon all of us from our desks during summer months. Strong leaders understand that instead of letting summer undermine team productivity, there are ways to combat the waning enthusiasm at work. When the weather is beautiful and sunshine is peeking through the office windows, employees want to spend less time in the office –less time commuting to work –and more time enjoying the season.
This shift in mindset can grind projects to a halt, keep collaboration at bay and affect the overall efficiency of the workplace. In order to keep employees productive and happy during summer months, companies should consider incorporating telework practices.
In PGi’s second annual Global Telework Survey, we surveyed knowledge workers from around the globe about their teleworking habits. The survey provided interesting insights on the state of global telework and proved that teleworking could be the answer to everyone’s “summertime blues”.
Teleworking Cuts Down on Distractions: Distractions in the workplace are one of the biggest causes to loss in productivity. By permitting employees to work from home, you’re giving them a chance to bypass impromptu meetings, water cooler chit chat and noisy cube neighbors, and allowing them the chance to be more efficient and productive in their day.
In a study done by the Telework Research Network, 86 percent of telecommuters surveyed said they were more productive in their home office. In PGi’s Global Telework Survey, 41 percent of North American respondents, 45 percent of European and Middle Eastern (EMEA) and 36 percent of Asia Pacific (APAC) rated productivity as a top benefit of teleworking.
Telework Promotes Better Work/Life Balance: Employee satisfaction is critical to retaining talent, and guaranteeing employee happiness can be a year-round challenge. But, by incorporating some sort of teleworking policy, employees are more likely to obtain a better work/life balance, and with a better work/life balances comes happier employees.
Even though many companies embrace teleworking options, PGi’s survey found that very few put that policy in writing. Eighty-five percent of respondents in EMEA and 62 percent in North America said there was no official telecommuting policy in their company. Only 40 percent in APAC reported not having an official policy in place.
According to a study done by Staples, 73 percent of employees surveyed said they adopted a more nutritious diet when working from home, and were able to maintain an overall more balanced lifestyle with flexible work hours. And, as an added benefit of living a healthier lifestyle, the study found that those who worked from home experienced 25 percent less stress.
Employees Enjoy Telework: It should come as no surprise, employees enjoy teleworking. Fifty percent of North American teleworkers surveyed in PGi’s Global Telework Survey reported that they preferred to work from home more than they already do. This same group of teleworkers reported that their ideal telecommuting situation would allow them to telecommute between 2 and 3 days per week.
To me, it’s a no-brainer: giving employees the option of working remotely or on a flexible schedule during the summer promotes a more engaged and productive workforce that is dedicated to getting work done efficiently. Even if your company’s policy only permits part-time teleworking or flexible hours during the week, the positive response from employees will far outweigh the lack of productivity that stems from wandering minds wishing they could be out enjoying the summer.