The Real Reason You’re Not Allowed to Work From Home

It’s 2018 and we’re living in a digital age. You have an internet connection at home, a solid work ethic, and the respect of your boss and peers. Most days, you barely look up from your computer to converse with coworkers anyway. So now for the million-dollar question – why won’t your employer let you work from home?

There are many reasons why businesses are hesitant to let employees work from home (or coffee shops or co-working spaces). While telecommuting is on the rise, it still represents a small minority of all work situations. In 2017, 3.7 million employees, a tiny 2.8% of the entire United States workforce, worked from home at least 50% of the time. Only 7% of all U.S. based businesses offer work-from-home flexibility.

Shockingly, some companies who previously allowed work from home opportunities are calling all their employees back into the office. Full-time work-from-home roles are few and far between. They’re also highly competitive as job candidates scramble to snag these open positions.

But what’s the real reason you can’t work from home? Read on to find out.

They don’t trust you

Working at home is very comfortable

Working at home | gpointstudio/iStock/Getty Images

The biggest reason you’re not permitted to work from home? It’s exactly the reason you think. Your boss doesn’t believe you’ll be able to get work done if you’re not in the office.

But rather than just sitting around in their fuzzy slippers watching Gilmore Girls reruns, work-from-home employees are getting work done at a furious pace. In fact, two-thirds of managers reported an increase in productivity when employees started working from home. That’s because when you’re working at home, it’s easy to work longer hours since you don’t have to go anywhere. An office employee is much more likely to check and respond to emails during off-hours if they’re at home. It’s like always being at work.

They’re stuck in an old way of thinking

Old school managers can’t get over the vision of watching their employees bent over desks, heads down, hard at work. But that’s not always the best option for getting real work done.

As Liz Ryan, CEO and founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap explained to Forbes, “They can’t wrap their minds around the idea of an employee working from home, taking a break to water their plants, doing some more work and then walking the dog. To a fearful manager, that scenario sounds like the employee is wasting time instead of staring at their computer doing ‘real work.’”

Meanwhile, employees in offices are taking breaks too, they just aren’t doing productive things like starting a load of laundry. Either way, it’s unhealthy to work for eight hours straight with no breaks.

They don’t understand technology

One thing about working from home? It doesn’t have to be lonely and non-collaborative. Tools such as the online messaging and file-sharing program Slack, Skype, and Google Hangouts make it easy to converse with other employees all over the country. Asana helps companies manage projects with multiple people involved. Technology tools can help bring a team together, even if they happen to be working remotely.

They don’t realize the cost savings

Chair, table, laptop

| Vadimguzhva/iStock/Getty Images

Think about it – it costs money to rent office space and pay for desks, chairs, printers, paper, custodians, and all the other utility and upkeep costs to house hundreds or thousands of employees in one spot. Allowing employees to work from home some of the time helps alleviate those costs. A 100% remote company incurs zero building or rent costs. In 2015, telecommuting saved participating employers a combined total of $44 million.

Work-from-home jobs also have about 50% less turnover than traditional office roles. The less money employers have to spend on hiring and training job candidates, the more businesses can save in the long run.

People abuse the privilege

Remember in elementary school when your teacher threatened to cancel recess if everyone couldn’t be quiet? And remember the one kid who ruined it for everyone? That happens with work-from-home benefits, too.

While most people working at home get all their work done, there are certain individuals who require more supervision and structure. Their lack of productivity may scare employers into taking the privilege away from everyone rather than weeding out the people who don’t deserve it.

They don’t have a growth mindset

Telecommuting is the way of the future. Work-from-home flexibility is a huge perk, and many millennials entering the workforce seek out these types of jobs on purpose. Businesses who want to attract top talent and retain them for the long term would be wise to consider this new type of job situation.