Monday 10th June 2024

As the workplace continues to evolve, workers find themselves with more options than ever before. Continuously advancing home technology means it has never been easier to work from home, with increasing numbers of office workers choosing to set up office in their own spaces. However, flexible working has risen in popularity, leading to potential confusion amongst managers about what is most effective for reaching their work goals. 

Pinpointing the differences 

On paper, there isn’t a huge difference between working from home and flexible working. Working from home, by definition, means 100% telecommuting (although some attend occasional meetings or travel). It has become an increasingly popular choice for many reasons, most notably for working parents or those facing long and tiring commutes. 

Flexible working is a slightly more nuanced concept: workers are not expected to work traditional office hours and can adjust their hours to suit their lifestyles, which may include choosing to work from home. This is another obvious sought-after working style for parents, or simply those looking to establish a healthy work/life balance. 

The advantages of both working approaches 

Four years after the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world, organizations globally have created new working norms. The adoption of flexible work is no longer a temporary measure because of the pandemic but is rather a feature of the working world that’s here to stay. McKinsey’s most recent American Opportunity Survey revealed that 87% of the 25,000 respondents take the opportunity to work flexibly when it’s offered. Flexible working arrangements was also the third most popular reason for choosing a job when hunting for one. Statistics such as these indicate a tectonic shift in the approach to work.  

Owl Labs released a report from 2021 that revealed interesting responses to the benefits of working from home and hybrid working. Of the 2,050 workers surveyed:  

  • 70% of those who worked from home during the pandemic reported that virtual meetings are less stressful 
  • 64% now prefer hybrid meetings 
  • 47% are more productive  

The research revealed that, on average, those who work from home spend 10 minutes less a day being unproductive, work more hours, and get more done.  

Additionally, a survey by ConnectSolutions found that 77% of those who work remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity. 

This research alone points to the multitude of benefits that flexible working and working from home offer.   

The impact of technology on working from home and flexible work 

Why does working from home seem to have more appeal? At first glance, the idea of solely working from home seems simpler and has been made easier with the advancement of home technology, such as faster broadband (and noise-cancelling headphones to block out distracting sounds). Conversely, combining part-time telecommuting with a flexible office schedule may seem intimidating to some. More organization may be needed, both in the office environment and on behalf of the employees. Solutions like desk booking software can help save time, space, and business expenditure. 

In brief, both types of working can be successful both for the individual employee and the business, reportedly improving productivity and decreasing business costs. In a world where the employee places high value on autonomy, working from home and flexible working offer an alternative way of working that helps achieve optimal work/life balance for a happier life. Depending on the nature of your business, and your employees’ preferences, either one may be key to a more effective working life. 

Research report: Attitudes to Hybrid Working.

Attitudes to Hybrid Working Report

The impact of hybrid work on employees and employers.

Download our research to get the full picture.

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