How to Best Prepare a Home Office for W.F.H.W. (Work From Home Wednesday)
For generations, the world has understood office-based work to involve a fixed location & a 9-5 schedule. However, an unprecedented number of businesses are now adopting a very different working model. “Work From Home Wednesday” is an inventive policy many companies are implementing to aid in employee retention/morale through an innovative approach to enhance their employees’ work/life balance. 70% of people around the world now work-away-from-the-office at least 1 day per week, according to a 2019 study released by International Workspace Group. The IWG study includes insights from 15,000+ business people across 80 nations. Mark Dixon, founder & CEO of IWG says, “People from Seattle to Singapore, London to Lagos no longer need to spend so much time in a traditional office. We are entering the era of the mobile workforce & it is hugely exciting - not just for individual employees, but for businesses too.” The IWG survey found that flexible working not only reduces commuting time - but enhances productivity, staff quality (80% of employees surveyed confirmed that when faced with 2 similar employment offers, they would turn down the one that didn’t offer flexible work options), staff retention, job satisfaction, & creativity.
All this is in addition to the financial & strategic advantages that “Work From Home Wednesday” brings for businesses. The study by IWG found businesses offering flexible work strategies for their employees reported the following benefits:
- Business growth (89%)
- Market share growth (87%)
- Attracting & retaining top talent growth (80%)
- Profit maximization growth (83%)
- Employee productivity growth (82%)
A 2 Year Stanford study echoes similar findings. Professor Nicholas Bloom conducted an experiment in his graduate economics class at Stanford (2015 - 2017). The experiment included James Liang, Co-founder & CEO of Ctrip - China's largest travel agency with 16,000 employees. Liang was interested in giving employees the work-from-home option because office space in the company's Shanghai HQ is supremely expensive & because employees had to endure long commutes to work (not being able to afford city living). The long commutes were resulting in “horrendous” attrition. Liang wanted to make flexible working an option for his employees, but needed proof it wouldn't kill productivity. Enter Bloom, who helped design a test whereby 500 Ctrip employees were divided into 2 groups - a control group (who continued working at HQ) & volunteer work-from-home group (who had a home office, at least 6 months tenure with Ctrip, & decent broadband access).
Watch Bloom describe the study & the findings in his 2017 TEDx talk: watch here. Overall, the 2 year study showed an astounding productivity boost among the work-from-home option participants. Additionally, employee attrition decreased by 50% in the work-from-home option group (plus they took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days, & took less time off). Also, the company saved almost $2,000 per employee on rent by reducing the amount of HQ office space.
Oeveo recognizes the importance of the IWG & Stanford study findings & is here to help increase home workspace efficiency. On “Organize Your Home Office Day 2019” Oeveo & N. Robinson of Lake Norman Home Staging & Interior Design presented tips for how best to organize a home office on Facebook Live. Robinson has been featured on H.G.T.V. & “Best of Houzz” & shared her professional home staging pointers to set up a home office for “Work From Home Wednesday” with Oeveo’s social media followers.
Ultimately, a home office setup will be a reflection of the user’s specific needs. Start with a solid foundation in a W.F.H.W. space! Robinson suggests:
- Spruce up the space with paint! Pick a color that energizes without being distracting.
- Consider a standing desk for better health!
- Less is more - clutter is distracting & reduces efficiency. Keep only what you use daily within arms reach.
- Purge unnecessary paper & files often to keep the space organized. Keep receipts contained in an empty (decorative) tissue box.
- Frame your favorite inspirational quote & place in a highly visible area for motivation.
- Keep occasionally utilized supplies on a bar cart. Wheel the cart close by when needed & out of the way when not in use.
- Make the most of vertical space - floating shelves are inexpensive & easy to install. Plus, they give you an opportunity to display the things you care about.
- Invest in ergonomic home office equipment for a healthy work from home environment.
- Enforce office hours. Co-workers & clients shouldn’t hear household noises on a conference call during business hours. After hours, close the door & take care of non-office needs!
Digitalization & new technologies are transforming the world of work. Employees want the personal productivity benefits of flexible work opportunities while businesses want the financial & strategic benefits. The nature of every job does not necessarily lend itself perfectly to working from home - but for those that do - a new “Work From Home Wednesday” policy is well worth considering. Oeveo.com has innovative, organized, & ergonomic solutions to help make W.F.H.W. productive & an essential part of your company’s portfolio of engagement tools. The workspace revolution is here.