Work from home refers to employees performing work remotely instead of going to a physical office. Work from home normally means these employees work from a designated workspace at their homes—a home office—and use chat, video calls, and different project management and communication apps to collaborate with their teams.
Some companies are fully remote, which means their employees can work at home every day, sometimes even with flexible work hours. For others, working from home is a perk that employees can enjoy on specific workdays determined by the employer.
Many people use the acronym “WFH” when they talk about working from home.
What jobs can you do from home?
Information technology, marketing, customer support, and similar industries have been hiring remote workers for a while now, but the Covid-19 pandemic moved even the traditionally face-to-face roles to adapt to working from home.
For example, many companies now hire sales reps, recruiters, customer success managers, financial analysts, legal experts, and other professions remotely.
That said, you can do virtually any part-time or full-time job from home as long as it doesn’t require physical presence and you have suitable conditions to perform your role.
Benefits of working from home
Working from home has numerous advantages for workers and employers.
Workers benefit from this kind of work arrangement because they can:
- Balance their personal lives and responsibilities toward family members better as they don’t waste time on commuting every day
- Have a more flexible work schedule and achieve a better work-life balance
- Save money they would usually spend on gas, lunch at work, and other business-related expenses
- Engage more often in activities that help them improve mental health and avoid burnout
- Apply for jobs at foreign companies without the need to relocate
- Apply for jobs that are usually inaccessible for disabled people
- Become digital nomads and travel the world while working remotely
Employers also experience many benefits when hiring remote employees.
- Save money on office space
- Improve employee retention rates
- Increase options when hiring from a wider talent pool
- Reduce their carbon footprint and become an environmentally-friendly company
- Employees are more productive and happier when working from home
Downsides of working from home
Fuelled by the coronavirus quarantine, the feeling of isolation has become a major challenge for employees who miss the in-person social interaction with their co-workers, despite video conferencing and communicating through tools like Slack. Also, some employees may not have proper conditions to work from home (poor Wi-Fi connection, not enough space for a home office, etc.)
On the other hand, it’s also challenging for employers to maintain the company culture without regular face-to-face communication. Remote team members often feel disconnected so developing meaningful interpersonal relationships in a virtual work environment requires constant, conscious effort.
The same goes for determining when employees will be working from home, and when they’ll need to come to the office. It might be a challenge to create a flexible schedule that works for the employees, but doesn’t affect anyone’s productivity and makes sense in terms of paying rent for an office.
Is WFH the same as remote work?
Many people will say that work from home and remote work have gradually become synonyms. However, there’s a slight difference.
Work from home typically refers to the situation where employees work from an office, but choose a day or two in a week to telework. This could be for a change of scenery, to take care of dependents, or simply because the option is available.
Remote work usually means the employee doesn’t need to come to an office at all: telecommuting is their default work model.
How to ensure good performance of your WFH team
Team managers can collaborate with human resources to set up their work from home employees for success.
- Establish a clear process for giving and receiving feedback. It’s crucial for employees to provide honest feedback on what they need and how they’re doing when working from home, so their productivity and engagement don’t suffer.
- Create a work from home policy to provide guidance for new hires and clarity on how different issues are approached.
- Offer company-provided equipment for employees working from home or compensation for their home office setup expenses. This way, you can also ensure company data security when your employees aren’t working onsite.
- Introduce an employee wellness program to help employees deal with potential challenges of working from home, such as loneliness or physical health issues.