Owl Labs conducted its first Work from Home Week from July 29—August 2, 2019. Recently, Owl Labs published a report outlining the week’s events and everything the company learned about working from home and its impacts on workplace empathy and productivity.
Owl Labs Inaugural Work from Home Week Proves Meaningful
Working from home has become more widely accepted during the last 10 to 15 years, especially as the benefits of home-based work arrangements continue to be proven through studies and reports noting increased employee productivity, decreased employee stress, lower overhead costs for the employer, and environmental benefits. In fact, “…more than half of people around the world work from home at least once per week…” according to Owl Labs.
But everyone does not embrace telecommuting full-time. Some professionals, predominantly those with more extroverted personalities and habits, have real concerns about isolation and FOMO, aka “Fear of Missing Out.” They worry about how successful they could be if they work alone from home instead of while co-located in an office with their colleagues and managers.
Owl Labs decided to try an experiment. In the company’s first Work from Home Week event, Owl Labs challenged its own team and other partner organizations (like Virtual Vocations) to work remotely for an entire week.
Work from Home Week’s goal was to improve collaboration and communication as well as encourage empathy on hybrid teams that have both remote and in-office employees.
More than 20 organizations took part in Work from home Week, adding up to more than 500 participants. Owl Labs surveyed the participants before and after the event. In the beginning, participants had preconceived notions about working remotely. The following concerns were most prevalent among participants:
- 46% worried about missing out on important conversations
- 32% were concerned about missing out on in-office amenities
- 30% thought they would be more distracted at home
During the week, participants shared their thoughts on social media using the hashtag #WFHWeek. While some of the extroverts missed face-to-face conversations, other participants were pleasantly surprised by the experience. Some of the noted benefits (that will not surprise most longtime remote workers) include:
- Hours gained by not having to commute to work
- Money saved on dog walking
- Opportunities for extra workouts throughout the week
- Better work-life balance
After Work from Home Week, participants completed another survey and shared how Work from Home Week affected them. In addition to 37% of the participants feeling greater empathy for their remote co-workers, 60% said they were more productive working from home, and 85% said their work-life balance was better. And while 30% of the participants said they planned on working remotely more frequently as a result of the experiment, a full 25% planned to start working remotely full-time!
As with any experiment, lessons were learned as the week progressed. Many participants commented that the right technology and communication tools were important to working from home. Monitors and adequate video conferencing tools are crucial in encouraging open communication and effective collaboration on hybrid teams.
Telecommuters who work remotely on a regular basis usually figure out what they need right away to be successful working from home, and organizations with hybrid teams will benefit from making sure that all the proper tools and technologies are in place.
We can all learn more about effective communication and collaboration in our world of virtual and hybrid teams. Owl Labs’ Work from Home Week 2019 was a fun, informative way to share the experience and learn together about remote work.
Already excited for the next Work from Home Week? Visit Owl Labs to read the Work from Home Week 2019 report and sign up for the 2020 event.
Did you participate in Work from Home Week 2019? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to tell us about your experiences with working remotely for one week. We would love to know what you have to say!
iStock Photo Credit: 1. skynesher; 2. AleksandarNakic
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