90% of the companies surveyed already offer home office options, Source: Depositphotos

‘Home office’ is more productive and is here to stay

‘Home office’ is more productive and is here to stay

New research from Deloitte and the Universities of Vienna and Graz points out that employers have to offer a home-office option to stay competitive

Since the start of the COVID pandemic, the world of work has shifted dramatically, as millions of people who previously had to grind at their jobs at an office, now found themselves staying at home. Some employers also had fears that a mass move to a home office environment would inevitably lead to a dip in productivity and tried to rush workers back to the office the first chance they had.

However, the dreaded dip in productivity did not come to pass and according to a new study by consulting firm Deloitte, the University of Vienna and the University of Graz, productivity has actually gone up. Especially in the short term.

Additionally, many employers now offer a home office option and employees, both current and future job-seekers, also demand the option. The study points out that companies that do not offer a home office option will inevitably become less competitive.

Austria is a very special case when it comes to working from home, as in December of 2021, the government announced a system of deductibles and tax cuts for home office workers.

Finding the right balance between productivity and office culture  

Around 90% of the 600 surveyed companies offer their employees a home office option and at least half of those employees take advantage of the option. Job seekers are also asking for the option as the practice becomes more and more mainstream.

The average amount of time spent at home is around two-three days a week, with employees having the option to negotiate that time themselves in at least half of the cases.

Additionally, almost 60% noted that productivity had increased in people working from home, largely due to the fact that it is easier to concentrate. Only 6% said that it has decreased.

However, there are also quite a few challenges that, during the past two years of experience, have become more prominent. One is the onboarding process for new employees, which gets harder the more people are out of the office. This is because new employees do not have a chance to interact with their colleagues and have trouble forming loyalty to either their team or their employer.

Additionally, researchers point out that working from home cuts the possibility of networking, both between departments and co-workers. This can be a detriment to both the company and the employees themselves, as it cuts possibilities for new projects born from the interaction.

Also, the productivity peaks seem to wear out over time, as people get increasingly isolated and have a tendency to burn out much quicker than their in-office peers. This is partially because of the initial boost of productivity – office culture can be a way to both interact with co-workers and have a more relaxed and social time at work.

The research points out that video meetings can help mitigate these problems, but employers would have to find ways to create a stable balance between working in the office and working at home.



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