Working From Home
Having looked in part one at Hot Desking, let’s now look at Working from Home. What advantages does it bring to employees and companies, and why are more and more companies adopting a robust ‘work from home’ policy into their daily operations?
For employees, there are multiple advantages to working from home – and there are a few disadvantages too, which could trip someone up unless they plan ahead properly!
Obvious advantages for employees include:-
- No traveling times and a reduction in travel costs
- Comfort and ease of your own space
- Flexibility to set your own start/end break hours (so long as you’ve cleared it with your company of course)
- No noise or distractions, unlike your noisy bustling office, so there’s the opportunity to actually accomplish a lot more in the day
Obvious disadvantages for employees include:
- Isolation. Too many days working at home can leave you feeling isolated.
- Potential for distractions – you’ll have to be disciplined to turn off the telly and actually do your work. Self-motivation here is key, and you do need to be honest with your employer if you’re struggling with it.
If we arranged these as a ‘Top 10’ list of Advantages and Disadvantages to Working from Home, it would look like this.
- Custom environment. Setup your noise level just the way you want it — somewhere between insanely quiet to being at the front row of a concert.
- Cozy clothes. You get to wear those sweatpants from college with the letters peeling off, or to stay in your pyjamas all day.
- No office distractions. Avoid co-workers debating the merits of cryptocurrency, sirens wailing outside your window, the que for the coffee machine.
- Zero commuting. From bed to couch or dining table – so much easier than trains, buses and the tube!
- Save money. Lunch is expensive if you work in a city or downtown. In London, it’s not crazy to see a £10 sandwich or £5 coffee. At home, you can save big time by going to the shops and preparing food in advance.
- Willpower. Gotta get going on this new project, but Netflix just dropped season 3 of Stranger Things…..
- Difficulty sticking to a routine. The order you do things at work is almost never the order you do things at home. It can be tough to mirror your schedule and processes once outside the office.
- Missing important calls or pings. Oops, my phone was on do not disturb and I missed a call! Or my boss slacked me and asked to prioritise something else and now it’s 4:45pm.
- Boredom. Those office conversations? Missing your colleague’s stories? How long can you go without seeing another living human being anyway?!
- Working slowly. Sometimes the office has an energy. Sometimes your home does not.
A conscientious company will help their employees avoid the disadvantages and embrace the advantages ahead of implementing the home working strategy, by means of group training days, discussions, trial home working days and so on.
It’s vital for companies to be able to track employees productivity and output while they work from home, and you and your managers must agree in advance how that’s going to happen. One option to consider is a shared team Google Drive with shared spreadsheets / shared document links so your managers can track the input (and thus the work produced) of each employee. Once you have the system down though, you’ll start seeing the benefits to your company paying off.
Companies benefit from a robust home working policy in a number of ways, including:
- Saving you money – save on business premises costs as you won’t need to provide permanent office space for all employees.
- Easier recruitment – it’s a lot easier to recruit for home workers, as you have a wider pool of potential employees to draw from, including parents with young children who otherwise wouldn’t consider applying for the role.
- Even more money saving – no travelling reimbursements or having to include travelling money in salaries.
- Reducing your carbon footprint – if your employees aren’t coming in to work, and are instead working from home, you’re greatly reducing your business’s annual carbon footprint.
- Happier staff – the happier your staff are, the more productive they are. Of course you have to have your procedures for checking their productivity in place, otherwise there’s always that one person who will take advantage of your generosity, but overall your staff will be happier at your faith in them and at the potential to work from their home environment.
Keith Beekmeyer of Newpoint Capital Limited concludes by saying: ‘Trust in your employees, and you can’t fail to reap the rewards. It may feel like a big leap of faith at the beginning, but if you get the early stages planning, preparation and training right, then everything will work out to both your and your employee’s advantage over time.’