Considering opening up a work from home policy? Or relaxing your current rules? What are the pros and cons of working from home you need to consider?
Considering opening up a work from home policy? Or relaxing your current rules? What are the pros and cons of working from home you need to consider? We caught up with Hilde Haems, HR Manager at Global Payroll Provider SD Worx to get her take on working from home.
“Digitalisation keeps us connected, no matter our location or time zone. This means businesses can expand and collaborate more easily and people can work the hours and conditions that suit them, including working from home. Yet is this as ideal as it sounds? Organisations and their employees must understand the pros and cons of working from home before deciding if it’s suitable for their needs.
The positives of working from home
Happy staff = happy business
People like the idea of working from home because there are fewer distractions. In an office, people are often pulled into last-minute meetings and discussions, and although it might be more sociable, little time can be spent focusing on big tasks that require dedicated concentration. Working from home distances employees from interruptions and office chatter. Through working autonomously, employees can compartmentalise their jobs and be more efficient with their time. In turn, this can make employees more motivated to complete tasks and succeed in their roles as they feel more in control of their responsibilities.
It’s not just employees that feel the benefits of working from home. Engaged staff members have a knock-on effect on the wider business as they are often more incentivised to go the extra mile to deliver great results. In turn, this will boost staff morale, and instil a strong company culture. Ultimately, if employees feel happy then this can only benefit your business’ bottom line as well as improving staff retention rates.
Flexible Working Benefits
One of the main incentives for working from home is the flexibility that it offers employees. Yes, staff need to be contactable during 9-5, but they can choose to work when suits them. Working remotely enables people to work when they are most productive, which for many does not fall inside of standard office hours. This also enables employees to fit their work around personal commitments such as caring for relatives or childcare responsibilities. Working from home is also a huge support to employees that are considering reducing their hours to part-time or stopping work altogether due to personal commitments. If employees can work in a way that suits their needs, then there is more of a chance they can still work as effectively as possible but also accommodate the demands in their personal life. If businesses can allow this flexibility, then they can retain their staff.
The negatives of working from home
Working remotely might be a flexible way of working, but it can raise the danger of employees not being able to switch-off from their job. The boundaries between home and work life are blurred, making it harder for employees to distinguish their work and leisure time. For some employees, this means that they can adopt an ‘always on’ mindset, constantly thinking about work and checking emails at all hours of the day. In the long-term, this can have a negative impact on employees, as they feel like they are not getting a work-life balance.
Flexible working is not for everyone. Yes, it sounds convenient in theory, but it only suits some personalities. Employees must enjoy working autonomously and must be disciplined with their work. Staff who like the sociable environment of the office will not necessarily enjoy working from home. They could lack motivation and might not feel as empowered in their roles. Employers must understand that working from home is convenient and conducive to certain personalities, but not everyone will enjoy and benefit from it.
Although flexible working can motivate and empower some employees, it can cause a lack of communication within wider teams and departments. Imagine a team of 20 people, of which five people work full-time in the office, six people work from home, three people work in a different time zone, and the other six are part-time. It’s challenging for this team to communicate altogether and find times when everyone is available. This can result in the team failing to see eye to eye on ideas and therefore cause damage to team morale. It’s also important that employees working from home maintain a trusting relationship with their managers. If an employee works from home all the time, then it is easy for them to lose contact with their colleagues and communication can become disjointed.
Whether your business is for or against working from home, it’s clear that this initiative is becoming increasingly popular. Thanks to technologies such as video conferencing and cloud computing, many people can do their jobs remotely. In order for flexible working to be effective, employers must understand where working remotely brings value through considering the nature of the employee’s role and their personality. If utilised correctly, working from home can not only bring huge benefits to the employee but also the wider business.”