It’s been years since remote work, telecommuting, began to be a trend and most recently, especially in the last couple of years, it has been and increasingly accepted HR practice. Although this type of work arrangement can take multiple forms and can be implemented in different ways it has been the home office the one that has shown to be the practice-of-choice for both employers and employees.
Among the main reasons that has made home office easier to be implemented is the access to technology as well as the flexibility of companies to promote this trend and the increasing adoption of practices that promote life-work balance. The tendency of organizations for flexibility and remote work can be seen in most reports issued by human resources specialized firms as well as surveys from consulting and research-based organizations.
Another factor that promotes the use of home office is the possibility to save time, avoiding long hours traveling or commuting from home to office, especially in big cities were traffic creates time issues, and instead using that traffic time for a work assignment or for personal tasks. Saving time will have a positive result and will directly impacts productivity by allowing to use that time efficiently, reducing lost hours and increasing the productive hours and providing extra time for personal use.
Productivity and work-life balance is the key.
A recent study by CITRIX reports that in Mexico 42% of the employees consider that home office would make them to be more productive. CITRIX Mexico also indicates that 49% prefer to be evaluated by objectives and goals and not by worked hours; moreover 13%, as the CITRIX study reports, is willing to earn less if they can be evaluated by results, if they can work remotely and if they can balance personal and work life.
Maite Ramos Gómez, former president of the COPARMEX Mobility Commission, indicated that in México working from home has shown an increase in productivity by 28% in companies with operations in Mexico City and indicated that implementing home office has a positive environmental impact as it reduces significantly the use of car. A similar opinion is reported in a recent note posted by Mundo Ejecutivo indicating that companies established in the Santa Fe area of Mexico City or in the nearby State of Mexico have implemented home office as an option for their employees to boost their productivity and to reduce time lost in traffic jams that can be used either for personal activities or work time.
If we take in consideration that this type of work arrangement is preferred by employees, then we can anticipate that this practice will continue to grow as different sources already predict that. Deloitte, as an example, reports in their 2016 Millennial survey that 75% of them prefer to work remotely or from home, but only 43% have been allowed to do so.
The Prodensa Experience:
In Grupo Prodensa we have been using home office for more than twelve years, however, it was not until 2009 when we established our first formal program to promote it. Since then some of our employees have been able to be full time at home while others can use it just some days of the week or some days each month. Through this time, we have faced different challenges, we have learned the discipline it takes from both company and employees to really implement this work system successful and we have to understand that not all positions or not all employees can easily adjust to this modality. Gradually we have been giving the opportunity to more people in our organization to work from home, some just a couple hours of their work time, others twice a week and a growing group daily.
Last year we conducted a survey with fifty employees of Prodensa from all the areas and levels of our company to know their experience regarding home office. Main focus of this survey was to understand how frequently they do home office, how easy has been for them to use this work arrangement, the challenges they have faced and what benefits they saw when doing home office. The results of the survey have provided us good information and feedback that will allow us to adjust this work system in our organization in order to continue shaping our work culture based on the preference of our collaborators and the possibilities that the new technologies and the well-being practices allows.
by Alvaro García HR Director GRUPO PRODENSA