15 November 2019
A few months ago, I wrote an article about my first experience working remote. It was an experience full of learning and gaining trust. I was able to identify more about my working habits and how I can be most productive for my employer.
Fast forward to this past summer, mobileforming decided to try company-wide telework Fridays. This means that each Friday we had the option to come into the office or work from home. As with any benefit, it came with some stipulations: 1) productivity had to either increase or stay the same; 2) we had to be available via Slack; and 3) mobileforming catered lunch for those who came into the office.
I like to telework from cafés or boba shops.
After three months, mobileforming gauged the temperature of our team members with a quick questionnaire. I took a look at the results, so in this post, I'll talk about the most common pieces of feedback and if it holds any weight from an employer's standpoint.
Teleworking is good for the environment.
There's a lot of environmental contributions to working from home. The most obvious is gas or diesel use. One of our team members says it best:
"Just think of how much we're contributing to a better environment by reducing the amount of gasoline/diesel employees burn every week. :)"
Let's think about; let's put some numbers to it.
Taking into account the estimated distances between our office and our employees' home cities, we travel 2,972.2 miles per day as an entire company. That means we collectively travel 58.8 miles more than the distance between California and New York!
Map from California to New York provided by Google
Traveling that many miles per day has a significant environmental impact. Burning one gallon of gasoline creates 20 lbs. of CO2. If we assume that the majority of our company drives an average car that needs gas, then we would use approximately 119 gallons of gas per day. That creates 2380 lbs. (or 1.19 tons) of CO2!
Now if the environmental visual isn't convincing enough, let's put some money on the line. That is a total of $535 per day or $2,675 per workweek. You could buy an iPhone with that money and still have room for a car payment (or two).
We're not the only ones who's spotted the trend with telecommuting and its environmental impact. Lifewire noted:
"The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) reports that telecommuting is part of a climate change solution since using electronics to telecommute saves 9 to 14 billion kilowatt-hours of energy each year."
In addition to commuting's environmental impact, office spaces are also huge contributors through energy use and greenhouse gases. In fact, according to the EPA, transportation takes up 28.9 percent of greenhouse emissions; electricity production with 27.5; and commercial/residential with 11.6 percent.
Working remote improves the job satisfaction of your employees.
When we asked our team if working remote on Fridays improved their job satisfaction, 92.3 percent said yes. One of our team members clarified that having a standard that is fair to the entire company (rather than a select few) is a factor in their satisfaction. The benefit helps the majority of the company, and our teammates recognize that!
Graph of responses to Has Telework Fridays contributed to your job satisfaction at mobileforming?
Another way it improves job satisfaction is through balance. With a highly collaborative team like ours (hey, pair programming!), we can sometimes start playing catch up with our work. One team member said:
"Telework Fridays help me to balance out between helping people at work and having my own time to focus on my tasks."
Understanding that a change in environment or work style is essential to creating a culture of productivity and good team management—which brings us to our final point.
Working from home helps managers effectively manage their teams.
One of our managers said that telework Fridays help them create a reliable schedule for both team assignments and face-to-face interactions.
"Having Friday WFH [work from home] for everyone and encouraging them to not WFH as much Monday-Thursday means I can plan their work and mine accordingly. I like the consistency."
Companies that implement company-wide telework days would see a decrease in ad-hoc requests, an increase in in-person meetings, and an increase in collaboration. Our managers worry less about tracking people down during the week, and they get more time to focus on things that do matter: how their people are doing and what they can achieve.
One of our managers, Faith
Working from home also gives our managers a unique opportunity to help their team members become independent workers. Check out any article about effective team management (or this one, if you want me to research for you). You'll notice that trust is key, and micromanaging can be a detriment to any business. With the ability to work remotely, managers have the chance to exhibit the trust they have in their team members. They can increase morale by challenging them, trusting them to work productively, and having an open communication line even out of the office. Being out of proximity from your direct-reports lets managers avoid micromanagement.
If your goal is to become a better, more effective place for your employees, then telework Fridays might be a good move. Getting and retaining talent requires us to be in tune with the values and work styles of our employees. If you have a corporate social responsibility branch, as we do, then mirror your mission and value statement by taking care of the environment. If your employees are lacking morale, then boost it by putting trust and job satisfaction first.
I'll leave you with two more testaments to telework Fridays:
"It allows me to feel less stressed during the week because I have one less day of commuting, which makes me feel like a person again on the weekends."
"Personally, it's given me a quality-of-life improvement by removing some of the stresses I face weekly, allowing me to better focus and be productive. It's not a mandatory aspect of my job, but it is an appreciated gesture that sets mobileforming apart in the treating and trusting of its employees."
And if you're still unconvinced, just know the content of this article was written, researched, and edited while I teleworked.