Not everyone agrees on how work from home (WFH) policies affect productivity, and we could discuss the topic for hours. However, WFH policies affect more than productivity. They also have the potential to greatly impact your employees’ morale.
WFH can have a direct correlation to an employee’s engagement or lack of engagement, because people are different and react to working from home differently. Some people have personalities that are suited to WFH, but others don’t.
WFH and employee engagement
As workplace norms have evolved, the need for employees to feel like they’re part of a team has become more prevalent. In other words, people want their work to provide opportunity to contribute to something greater than themselves.
When employees feel emotionally connected to work (i.e., they are engaged), morale is likely to be good. On the other hand, when employees feel emotionally disconnected from work, which sometimes happens when employees spend more time outside than inside the office, higher levels of disengagement and lower morale can result.
Again, however, people are different, and many employees enjoy the freedom that WFH brings. When employees work from home, they’re better able to do things on their own terms, making for happier employees who then create a better product or work outcome.
It can also be argued that when employers allow employees to work from home, whether occasionally or on a regular basis, they are empowering those employees by demonstrating trust in the employees’ ability to be productive without direct managerial oversight.
When employees are empowered to control their own work environment, schedule, and decisions, they feel better appreciated and less stressed and micromanaged.
Finding the right fit
However, WFH isn’t right for all employees. For example, employees who need regular social interaction may experience WFH as isolating and lonely. These individuals might find their morale slipping when they work from home. However, other employees may find that WFH provides a much-needed chance to focus on work without the usual distractions of office life. Managers are responsible for ensuring that employees are suited for WFH before allowing it.
As long as a company is aware of its own culture and what its employees need, a solid WFH policy can be a very good thing and have positive effects on employee morale. As with any policy, however, it’s smart to monitor the affects and make pertinent adjustments as time progresses.