Should More Employees Work From Home?
It used to be somewhat of a taboo. Unspeakable just two generations ago. But now deep in the age of digital, the prospect of working from home has become a reality for many. However, with somewhat of a stigma still attached to working from home, we ask whether more employees should be encouraged to take work out of the office.
First of all, and I think everyone would agree with me here, we could get rid of the commute once and for all. I know some of you out there reading this will be commuting 2 hours each way, everyday. Just imagine being able to reclaim 4 hours from your day. That’s 20 hours a week, 80 hours a month, 960… You get the idea. But time previously spent sitting in traffic, or squashed into a carriage can be spent walking your dogs, taking your kids to school, tending to your chilli plants… Sleeping… That’s not to mention the amount of money that will be saved on train tickets and petrol.
Commercial rent, especially in London, is a seriously considerable cost. With less employees needing to be in the office (at the same time, at least), businesses can rent smaller office spaces, cutting down considerably on this overhead.
Unsurprisingly, working from home has improved employees’ perceptions of their employer. By not being forced into the office, and taking a more relaxed approach to their job, the negative associations which tend to make an employee change job are lessened. So it’s good for retention too!
Picking up from the final point above, the relaxed approach to work is perhaps not in the best interest of your company. There’s a fundamental fact of working from home – you are easily distracted by the comforts around you. Therefore, output is likely to be lower. However, office efficiency is itself a contentious issue, with many arguing that staff are more likely to get the job done efficiently and effectively when they can choose their own working hours.
Employees that are working from home can often feel like they are being sidelined, or missing potential opportunities by being away from the office. This is surely true to an extent, however employers can try to combat this by ensuring that staff have access to the workplace and its facilities if they need it.
Health and safety legislation also extends to home workers, which means that the employer still has a duty to conduct risk assessments on their working environment. Therefore you need to ensure that your public liability cover will extend to your employee’s home.
Working from home can be beneficial to both employers and employees, however it’s not as simple as just abandoning the office and planting yourself on your sofa instead. There need to be protocols set in place, expectations and targets met, and commitment on both side.
In my own personal opinion, I think homeworking should be supplementing some days in the office. Giving staff a little breathing room. A complete detachment doesn’t make sense for either party, and as far as I’m concerned, will lead to a decreased productivity and both personal and business development.
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