Making Employees Come Into the Office Might Be Ruining Your Business

We’ve heard all the arguments against working from home by now.

And while those lazy, unproductive, pyjama-wearing slackers may have a certain reputation, perhaps we’re not hearing the full story here.

Plenty of us like our jobs, love socializing with our colleagues, and enjoy the general camaraderie and perks that come with working out of an office. But for every pro-office worker, there’s probably an employee who would love to avoid the morning commute even just one day out of five.

Over 8000 people have completed a free online test, ‘Is Your Personality Suited to Working Remotely Or in the Office?’, that reveals a correlation between those who work from home and job satisfaction.

The data showed that those who identify as having a ‘remote personality’ and work remotely say they’re happy, with 43 per cent confessing to loving their job. However, when people with that personality type are forced to work in an office, that figure drops all the way down to 24 per cent.

A tiny percent of those remote types who do not work in the typical office environment were shown to be much less likely to only tolerate or strongly dislike their job.

So does it make sense to force people to work standard hours from their desks in a busy office if that doesn’t suit their character? Aren’t happier people better workers?

Consider for a moment the fact that the vast majority of office employees in 2016 work in an open plan environment – surely one of the noisiest and most disruptive settings.

All it takes is one colleague to ask his neighbour if they watched Game of Thrones last night and suddenly your peace and quiet is disturbed for a full 20 minutes as the team discuss the episode in excited cacophony.

Plus, we’re not all lucky enough to live within easy walking or commuting distance. For many of us, our journey into the office may involve a train, streetcar, and/or bus. And when winter strikes and we have to weather a snowstorm to get to our desk, we wonder: is it really worth the struggle?

However, that’s not to say working from home isn’t without its imperfections.

I recently had trouble with my internet service provider, and because I work from home, it automatically falls to me to hang around and wait around when the guy comes to fix it.

There’s also an unspoken rule (and likely one that would be hotly denied by my partner) that the dishwasher will have run, been emptied, and restacked by the time he returns home from work.

Sure, sometimes domestic chores are a welcome distraction from work and a nice break when you’ve already taken lunch. But when your day is busy – as you might be at the office – it’s understandable that these tasks get overlooked.

While it was nice to work from home during the winter, days often went by when I hadn’t left my apartment. Instead, I sent requests for food to be brought home or made do with cupboard provisions until I realized I hadn’t breathed fresh air in four days.

And then there’s the loneliness. If you live alone it can be isolating to see no one for days on end. Or if you live with a partner you can find yourself willing them to return. When they do, you expect them to be ready to play when all they want to do is collapse on the sofa after a long day at work.

There’s no right or wrong; there are, however, personality types. With the workplace constantly evolving, if there is the opportunity to offer even minimal #wfh, employers should consider it. As this survey illustrates, companies would do well the pay attention to what their employees want.