Laptop im Home Office

EMPLOYEE RETENTION IN THE HOME OFFICE: WHAT WORKS FOR WHOM

3 February 2021

71 percent of employees want to continue to have the option of home office after Corona, and 21 percent want to stay in the home office completely (December 2020 survey, karriere.at). The fact that productivity has hardly decreased as a result of the often unprepared switch from the office to the home office due to the Corona pandemic has surprised some. In fact, digital working offers benefits for the environment, efficiency and work-life balance that weigh heavily in the balance. By contrast, executives are growing increasingly fearful of dwindling employee loyalty in the home office. 

One solution for all?

What really keeps employees in the company is a bundle of factors such as:

  • Communication and appreciation
  • Areas of responsibility and concrete work content
  • Company goals and corporate philosophy
  • Job security
  • Compensation
  • Working environment, working hours, commuting

The better these conditions fit the individual, the stronger the bond with the company. However, the people in the company are as different as their needs: One-fits-all solutions therefore cannot generate the same employee loyalty for all talents.

Who works how well in the home office

The more comfortable you feel at work, the more effective and successful your tasks will be. People who enjoy this feeling with their employer are intuitively more committed to the company. Home office can have a positive or negative effect on well-being, depending on the personality type. And the working environment at home also plays a role here.

Those who may have more difficulty with working in a home office: 

  • Extroverts who thrive on personal contact
  • People with extroverted characters flourish when they are surrounded by people. With personal interaction, they become creative and productive. They need to feel part of a group and seek out conversations – small talk in the office corridor gives them the best ideas.

  • Those who love routine
  • Everyone likes a change of scenery now and then – but for some, it’s crucial to functioning. Getting up, getting dressed and going to the office is essential for these people to separate themselves from the daily routine at home. Then they can focus and be productive – outside of their own living space at a specific workstation.
  • Distressed home office users
  • A free workstation with quiet and reliable Internet is not always available at home. Particularly when Corona made a spontaneous switch to a home office, the set-up at home was not optimal for some to be able to work efficiently. If, in addition, relatives have to be cared for during working hours, this is of course not conducive to satisfaction and efficiency.

Who can benefit from working in a home office in the long term: 

  • Introverts who draw strength from calmness
  • They thrive in the opposite work environment of the extrovert: peak performance is achieved when they are not in company or distracted by conversation and human interaction. These colleagues prefer the home office as a quiet place to work where they can complete their tasks without company.
  • Those with an all-around remote workplace
  • The right furnishings at home have a direct effect on productivity and efficiency. A dedicated office area with a desk, internet and good lighting is the best basis.
  • Those who can draw boundaries
  • Those who can draw a line between work and private life can work from home more easily. Clearly distinguishing between working time and free time is important for recovery periods – even if the work devices are next door. Emails and messages should be dealt with during working hours, not any time they pop up on the cell phone.
  • Flexibility lovers (including those with good reason)
  • If you hate commuting and like to work in a comfortable outfit, love being barefoot, wish you could go for a run during your lunch break or do your laundry whenever it suits you – home office is very likely to make you happy. But flexibility is not just for pleasure. It also makes it easier to take care of children, for example, or to generally invest time in more meaningful activities instead of commuting – for example, in commitment to charitable causes.

Home office as a retention factor

In the meantime, the possibility of working from home has also become an important selection factor for new candidates when looking for a job. Job platforms have recently included the „remote“ workplace in their search functions. Home office thus binds talents with corresponding desires to the company instead of having the opposite effect. Those who are unhappy with the office situation have a growing job market with remote office opportunities ahead of them. 

„Companies that encourage home office have 25% less turnover.“ (State of remote work report, OwlLab)