By Soubhik Chakrabarti
67% of full-time US employees feel burned out at work, according to Gallup. The number of sick days, deteriorating productivity, and employee turnover cost businesses billions per year.
Is there a way to motivate demoralized employees?
Organizations invest in corporate programs to help employees beat the stress. The initiatives do bring results, but to what extent is debatable.
Now, a work trend popularized by COVID may help employers eliminate employee burnout.
Can Working Away from Office Prevent Burnout
Most employees across the globe are working remotely to maintain social distance. Due to coronavirus, almost 50% of the US workforce is working from home.
Interestingly, the trend of working away from the office shows amazing benefits for both employees and employers.
Take the example of China’s largest travel agency, Ctrip. The company tested a work from home (WFH) policy to lower the skyrocketing office costs in Shanghai.
Another cause was to reduce the employee turnover that stood at 50%.
Ctrip tested the WFH policy on 255 volunteers with at least six month’s experience at their headquarters call center.
What did the study find?
Those working from home, for instance, recorded an increase of 13% in performance. According to Ctrip, the fewer number of sick days and more minutes per shift made the difference. Additionally, the peaceful surroundings at home helped boost productivity.
But that’s not all!
The employees working remotely reported less work exhaustion and higher job satisfaction. In fact, employee turnover reduced by 50% in comparison to the control group.
The results were so impressive that Ctrip decided to roll out the WFH policy for the whole organization.
Work from Home to Work from Anywhere
The trend of WFH has been growing steadily for the past few years. Freelancers and self-employed professionals have worked remotely with uncompromised efficiency and productivity.
The majority of the workforce has settled into working from home today. We have prepared ourselves mentally and technologically to adapt to the change.
Employers are also chipping in and providing necessary technologies like VPN and conferencing tools. We have even worked out how to work better at home, and following best practices like using a dedicated workspace.
Amongst all of these, we have another remote working trend taking roots- work from anywhere.
Now, work from anywhere (WFA) is also not a new concept. Travel bloggers and adventurists seemingly work from the remotest corners of the planet with just an internet connection. Sounds inspiring?
While most of us dream of earning while traveling the world, some companies are already toying with the idea. Akamai and SAP have introduced WFA, where staff can work from any geographical location without any restrictions.
Harvard Business Review studied the effects of WFA among patent examiners at the US Patent & Trade Office (USPTO). The findings, to say the least, were quite promising!
Patent examiners working from anywhere increased their output by 4.4%. The work quality, too, remained the same with no significant change in the patent quality or rework.
In the case of USPTO, the 4.4% boost in productivity directly contributed $1.3-billion to the US economy. The researchers used the value of the economic activity generated from each patent to arrive at the amount.
For businesses, the boost in performance and productivity can be significant. Employers can add more revenues to their bottom line while ensuring a reduction in costs.
Employees also feel more relaxed and work better in a distraction-less surrounding. They can even relocate to places with less cost of living that results in an effective increase in actual salary. This trend was visible in the patent examiners who enjoyed more cash in their hands at no extra cost to the organization.
Would We See a Move Towards Work from Anywhere
WFH is here to stay, while WFA is growing from its nascent stage. Working remotely can be beneficial for both employees and employers. Most of all, the trend can help staff maintain an optimum work-life balance and reduce work stress.
Job satisfaction and better wellbeing make a difference, which translates to fewer sick days and leaves. Naturally, WFA can be a significant contributor to reducing employee burnout.
We only have to find a way to beat the occasional loneliness that creeps up when working alone.