Work from home or work from the office?
Updated: May 5, 2021
Working from home seems like the dream job for most. But there are a few questions surrounding the topic which we all need to ask.
Is working from home more or less productive than working in an office? Well, this has to be the biggest and most frequently asked things most employers are asking. Truth is, it really depends on the individual you are hiring or have hired. Work ethic and focus are relied on heavily, with the ultimate trust in play. Whilst you can have monitoring systems in place, who really wants to have to constantly monitor staff, while running normal day to day operations? No one! I feel personally this should be address on an individual basis. I feel the merit can really outweigh most things, but t is not a decision to be taken lightly. If you have staff that ask for this 'flexibility' then you should be looking at performance, their history within the company and overall contribution to their job. If, and only if, they seem to tick the boxes per se, then why not allow an element of flexibility or perhaps give the scheme a trial run?
Wont clients see my business as less reputable if my staff are working from home? Well this depends on the type of business you run. In most cases and the era we live in, I don't think this has to be a concern. Unless you are selling a service/ product which relies on human face to face elements, I think you can rest assure this wouldn't be an issue. Lets face it, who hasn't had a call during lockdown and the COVID-19 period where someone has made contact with you that's clearly working from home? Well I have and I sympathised with them sincerely. Their dog barking in the background and the noise of the washing machine did not phase this individual. I simply admired their passion.
What if my staff want to work from home full time? In my experience, this can be an issues, especially if you've given them a timetable to work part time at home and a part time in the office. I would simply explain very clearly you are allowing them some flexibility to accommodate modern life. If this isn't enough, I'd question their intentions and their dedication to the company.
I think working from home is a great idea. I would love the chance but how do I approach it with my employer? The answer to that truthful lies with you. You know your employer better than I ever will, unless I need a job then i'll come to you. Seriously though, you should approach it honestly and directly. No one likes it when someone Is trying to ask something but just won't ask it. I am a pretty upfront and honest person anyway, but I think you should also lay out the key things you do for the business and how it would help you in your life.
All jobs should now offer a work from home option. Do you? No. Categorically no. Some things you just cannot do well from home such as interviews and conducting face to face tasks. FaceTime, zoom and teams do not replace the 'human element' which is needed in certain jobs. Also when applying for a new job, there is not built trust between you and the employer. Therefore, I don't think it should be something just given, more earn't.
Distraction... this could be a huge pitfall. Well it can be, but again we ask the questions - small down time is ok but isn’t home going to provide too much? I think the office can sometimes attract too much downtime in the grand scheme of things. With taking to colleagues, making lots of office (which is usually me) and the internet (sitting on the daily Mail or telegraph). These are all readily available at work so I don’t think there is much merit to that statement ‘too many distractions’.
To summarise I feel that there are certainly benefits to working from home, especially as we move forward with modern working. But I think tread with caution. If you are either going to offer it or not, have a reasonable analysis to hand as to why, because this might be the 'make or break' for new employees.