Pierluigi Adreani has written this article, for our content marketing challenge, the article suggests a recipe for happniess at the workplace. Keep reading and get inspired by his view on what a happy workplace is.

In a world that’s still recovering from the consequences of the economic crisis, employees are required to be more and more flexible and open-minded toward work opportunities. That’s why it may sound counterintuitive or even naive to discuss the need for making the work environment friendlier for employees. Often, many wrongfully assume that it’s an expense for the company or an attempt to please some over-sensitive worker, but the reality is that the next big social revolution will benefit both the employee and the employer. Thus, it will radically change our concept of work and being an employee.

Working from home

On average, Americans spend 90 minutes in their car or in public transportation services to travel to and from their work place. The English, meanwhile, spend roughly 48 minutes. These are not just hours that are taken from the personal lives of the employees, but also a source of great stress. Then, the office itself is usually far from a relaxing environment, and as such, does not alleviate the stress. These sources of stress may distract employees from doing their jobs and from being productive. However, the solution to this problem is as simple as it is revolutionary: we’re talking about the possibility for workers – especially white-collar workers – to work remotely from home. It’s not a new concept. However, modern technology is making it possible to exploit this idea, an idea that is also slowly making its way into offices and societies.

Of course, there are many skeptics, but historically speaking, the modern notion of a large office in which people work is actually a relatively new concept that was introduced during the first industrial revolution. Before then, most people actually worked from their own house. While I know that this historical insight won’t help to change society, I’m sure that many larger societies will adopt this system out of economic convenience.

Save on the office space

Let’s put this in perspective: it’s a huge expense for a company of any given dimension to buy or rent an office for its employees. While I don’t think that such an expense can be avoided, it can be reduced dramatically by having part of the workforce work from their own homes.

This is not just purely theoretical, however; it has already been tried and implemented. A well-documented case is that of Ctrip, one of the largest Chinese companies in the field of travel services. In 2013, the company – in collaboration with Stanford and Peeking University – started an experiment on its own employees. Over 242 of them were randomly selected to work from home for nine months. The results of the experiment showed that the group that worked from home outperformed the control group by an outstanding 13.5%.

The company was so satisfied with the results that they implemented it on a large scale for the whole firm, and the results were positive: the company is not only making its workforce more happy and productive, but is also saving a substantial amount of money by cutting office space. The research estimated that the company saved almost $2,000 per employee. Meanwhile, the employees themselves gave very positive feedback to the experiment and they found the new work environment to be more productive and quiet. However, not all of them preferred to work at home: a minority of primarily younger employee preferred to work in an office, whereas the older employee were more open to the idea of working from home.

The 6-hour work day
I have been discussing the revolutionary idea of working from home and of how it has been proven to be effective in boosting employee’s happiness and productivity. However, there is another similar idea that may also be introduced soon: the six-hour work day. Again, such a ‘’naive’’ idea may sound not only counterintuitive, but almost blasphemous when we think about the consequences that it may have on the earnings of a company. However, this isn’t the caprice of the lazy mind of some millennial; it’s a possibility that’s currently being taken very seriously in a first-world country. In Sweden, there are companies that have been working with 6-hour shifts for more than 13 years. This has resulted in a boost in the performance of employees, who are satisfied with the idea of having more spare time. Meanwhile, clients and customers have also benefited from the change.

At the end of the day, all companies are looking for profit. Having stressed or demoralized workers doesn’t provide any benefits, but is instead a loss for any company.

This article was written by Pierluigi Adreani