The last few years have seen a dramatic rise in people working from home. And I think, for some reason, it still raises eyebrows in offices. Here, I am briefly exploring some of the good and bad bits of working from home.
From research carried out on this topic recently, we know that employees do feel more job satisfaction if a more flexible approach to where they work is offered by their employer. Clearly, it’s not possible for all careers, companies or individuals but where it is an option for all parties – it’s being well received.
So… the good bits
The gift of time
Gaining the 30 minutes or more at each end of the day is hugely valuable to people. You may be able to sign up to that gym class or meet friends earlier or take the family for an earlier meal. You may just want to take the dogs out in the morning. You could take the time to read, catch up on your general life admin or just relax. Time is important to everyone.
Commuting and parking is expensive – and it has been highlighted as a deal breaker in many job applications from candidates looking at changing their jobs. So, with an option to work from home at points during the working week, employees will save money. You could be saving £20-30 a week depending on where you work. Lunch options are also additional expenses. Just a little bit of money back means a lot to us all.
A sense of freedom & improved productivity
For the right person who has good self-discipline and self-motivation, working from home can be hugely rewarding and productive. You have less distractions from an office workplace and with limited human interaction you are likely to deliver your best work.
From an employer’s point of view, it helps to reduce operational costs / expenses. It is also something that you can easily track the return of the investment on but monitoring productivity of those who are regularly opting to work from home.
IT issues and security
Working remotely may present risk to sensitive information. Especially if you are carrying laptops, phones or databases with you as you travel or work at home. It’s certainly something which your employer would need to think about if they are looking at offering the working from home option. There is plenty of technology on the market to support remote access which should be investigated.
In an environment when collaborative working is prominent, working from home does have its down sides. You may miss out on valuable team work. Working in a busy office is often sociable and that interaction is important. Working from home could make an employee feel isolated.
What if they forget about me?
If you are regularly working out of the office environment, there is a concern that you may fall out of the loop. The management of your own time, to ensure you are not missing important meetings, is vital. Balancing your time in and out of the office, adhering to your career reviews and appraisals to keep on track with your personal career development and attending office socials are important too.
There are certainly good bits about working from home but also some areas to really consider before taking the plunge.
Ultimately the option for flexible working or a working from home arrangement must be right for both employer and employee but there are plenty of reasons to consider it as an option. It’s not something that can work for all professions but where it is possible it can make a huge impact on both productivity and personal happiness.