Working From Home?

Working from home - the good and the bad

In January 2018, statistics showed that 13.7 per cent of the UK workforce were working from home and the growth looks set to continue.

‘The number of people regularly working from home has risen to 4.2 million in the last decade. An additional 1.8 million people would like to work from home but are not given the chance.’ (HRDirector)

We decided to look at the good and the bad points about home working, is it all it’s cracked up to be or is it a classic case of the grass is always greener?

There were also predictions, in 2017 from the ONS that:

‘…half the UK workforce [are] expected to be working remotely by 2020’

…if growth continued at the same rate. I’m not sure this is an accurate prediction but there’s no disputing it’s rapidly growing.

Whilst many companies offer flexible working, or the option to work from home – employees often feel resistant to the idea, opting to stay in the office to ‘prove’ they’re working.

This is unfortunate as if you have a good working relationship with your manager and team – there really should be no issues with working from home. There should be mutual respect and trust between employer and employer; it’s not school, we’re not children any more.

Allowing employees this little bit of independence can be a great boost to their confidence. Being allowed to time manage and be self-sufficient is surely a small mark of approval and it’s a nice perk too. Flexible working is the second most valued perk, following salary – so it makes sense for more and more companies to offer it to their staff.

The Good Points

No Commute

If you can save time commuting, you can have a more leisurely start to the day, work longer hours, or even decide to use this time to go to the gym in your lunch hour!

More time + less stress = improved productivity. (below :0))

More Productive

Over half (53 per cent) of workers feel they’d be more productive if they could work outside the office, being free to work without unnecessary meetings, confusing email chains, or long calls.

Save Money

No commute also means no travel expenses! If you drive you’ll save on any car parking costs or issues, and of course traffic! You’ll save time and money!

Less Stress

Another commute related benefit really, but if there’s no commute, you’ll avoid the stress of the journey – whether it’s dealing with traffic, delayed trains or congested buses and tubes! I.e. This means less stress

Improved Comfort

Working with your home comforts means you’ve got everything you might need at your fingertips. Great coffee, snacks, lunch is all sorted – and this is likely to make you happier.

Convenience

There’s nothing easier or more convenient than having your work at home! This could be double-edged if you can’t leave the snack cupboard alone though :0)

Improved Work/Life Balance

Hopefully it will mean you can manage your time and workload better, depending on what you agree with your boss. You can make your working day fit around other tasks or commitments you’re trying to juggle.

The Bad Points

Distractions

One obvious pitfall is you could be easily distracted by what’s going on at home, depending on your home set up. These could range from anything from pets, partners, children, or just the washing up!

You need to be of the right mindset to stay focused on your workload – and not get distracted.

Over Compensate

But at the same time, you need to allow yourself breaks.
In one of my roles, I could work from home on a Friday, which I did quite frequently but not all the time. I’d make sure I had set tasks to work on that I needed time out from the office to focus on.

The problem I had was that often I’d overwork, I’d have no breaks and literally be stuck to my screen and seat – so there was never any chance of being seen as not working.

Cabin Fever

There are now many jobs which are home-based, where you might have a little office time or no office time. This lack of contact with colleagues isn’t for everyone, as it can get a little lonely.

But with today’s technology, it’s a bit easier to combat with Video Conferencing or Skype Meetings. And if you’re on the phone this also breaks up your day, alongside email.

If you’re working home alone, you’ll miss out on the team motivation and banter, this can’t be replicated at home in the same way! This could mean you detached from company.

Again, it’s suited to some people more than others.

The Switch Off

When you work from home, you need to ensure you have clear separation. If the lines between work and home get blurred you’ll feel like you’re working constantly. Very easy to do when your laptop is just on the table, or your work phone keeps making noises.

Ensure you have a work area, or office set up – so you can walk away.

The Tech

It’s no good having your desk all set up and then your broadband isn’t fast enough to get your work done. Your company might have remote access and a VPN you can use – these are magic when you have the speed – as it is just like being in the office.

But there is nothing more frustrating than watching a spinning wheel or waiting for files to download – so make sure you’re tech ready. Or, have everything you need ready, so you don’t have to rely on the internet for what you need. Something that is increasingly difficult these days.

And then of course, we can’t forget:
-There’s no one to make the Tea
-And most importantly of all, there’s no one to bring in home-made cakes (Laura + Susie)

Combine this with the the risk that you might eat more, sit more and move less; you might inadvertently…put on some pounds.

Hmmm.

So, what has fuelled the growth?

It has to be improved technology; alongside a change in attitudes from companies. Also, as the candidate led market continues, companies are fighting for the best talent, and want to attract them with a good benefits package. Flexible working is a big attraction.

Also, there are clear economic benefits for companies to offer remote working, as they save on desk space and ultimately overheads. This makes absolute sense for small companies based in expensive cities, where they are trying to make a profit.

The ideal has to be a mix of the two – office working and home working – if you’re job role allows for it.

Related articles:
The Power of the Spoken Word
Spring Clean your Career
Healthy Mind

Sources:
https://www.ons.gov.uk/
HRDirector.com

Explore more from our blog here...