Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home Permanently

COVID-19 initially created havoc across the world, and it left many employers scrambling. When the pandemic took hold in March, they were forced to clear offices, and shops. Workers were sent home, with what seemed like a temporary measure. However, could there have been a change for the better as a result of this?

However, it has proved to be more permanent than many believed. The pandemic has calmed, but not gone away. There has been a huge change in employment throughout the world. Productivity has not taken a big hit, as had been predicted by many.

A large percentage of workers continue to work for home, and many are enjoying the perks of it. They can skip the morning commute, and work from the comfort of their own home. Many employers are extending home working, and are not planning a return back to the office anytime soon.

We have some clients that are planning to make working from home permanent and give up their leases – what will this do to our cities and micro businesses that rely on foot fall?

According to the Office for National Statistics, these are the latest indicators for the UK economy as of 27th August 2020, these are the latest indicators for the UK economy as of 27th August 2020.

 

Main Points

  • Survey (BICS),13% of the workforce are still on furlough leave, with 70% receiving top up from employers. See Section 2 of survey.
  • Overall footfall at retail locations continued to rise in the week commencing 17 August, with footfall in retail parks up to 90% when compared to the same day last year, shopping centres just under 70%. See Section 6
  • On Monday 24 August, all motor vehicle traffic was six percentage points lower than traffic seen on the equivalent Monday in the first week of February, mainly driven by reduced car traffic, according to data from the Department for Transport (DfT) See Section 7
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    All Staff Have Rights to Work From Home

    Employees with more than six months service were able to ask for flexitime to job share or work from home from June 2020.

    It was reported back in June by Emma Birchley from Sky News, that from the 30th June 2020 the right to request flexible working arrangements was extended to all staff, not just parents and carers.
    This change has extended flexible working rights to around 20 million people. With this in mind I want to take a look at the pros and cons of working from home.

    This change has extended flexible working rights to around 20 million people. With this in mind I want to take a look at the pros and cons of working from home.

     

    Pros of Working from Home

    • Companies are reporting that because they are able to work from home they are able to change their hours to suit family life. This can have a good effect on their family life and mental health.
    • Managing Directors are saying “it has helped the business we want to be able to recruit the best staff that we can. It’s important that we are flexible around their lives and then also that they can be flexible around what we offer our clients”.
    • Companies already offering Flexible working or working from home: They say it increases staff motivation and productivity.
    • The added flexibility helps employees work longer: I think many employers worried about workers taking advantage of working from home. You could log in to your email via your phone and go out for the day shopping or head to a National trust park with the family? Most don’t do that, I find that when there’s more autonomy with the workers, most workers work longer hours and become more productive compared to workers in the office. In my experience when there is high levels of independence, then the work rates are high to is I believe is called the “Gift Exchange Theory” Workers want to prove they can work from home and feel they need to repay that trust by working harder; the obligation to give, the obligation to receive and the obligation to repay.
    • It will reduce absenteeism from the workplace: Because working from home creates a better work life balance this will reduce absenteeism in the workplace. In our experience, any company that struggles with managing attendance should consider flexible working, especially a small company that can move quickly. As long as workers meet the business needs, working from home can save on office space, travel costs and expenses.
    • Workers have more time for their hobbies outside of work: If the workers are commuting, there could be several hours of additional productivity lost in merely going to and coming back from work. Now working from home frees up that commuting time, when there’s more free time available there is more time to pursue innovative ideas and extra hours to pursue hobbies. This means a better work-life balance and a happier worker can be more productive.
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      Cons of Working from Home

      • Not feeling part of the team out of the loop: Some may find it hard to communicate and not be firing on all cylinders via virtual communication, and lack of face to face contact may have an effect on the workers wellbeing, especially when it comes to missing the lunch time banter and general socialising.
      • Not being able to clock off at the end of a shift: From our experience working with 100’s of companies dealing with all manner of HR issues the biggest fear an employer has when letting workers work from home is that they won’t be as productive. The majority of workers have the opposite worries, when they sign off from their day, they might not be switched off from their responsibilities. More and more home workers find it hard to separate the work and home life. This could be because of smartphones and other technologies, it’s not unusual for workers to burn out faster at home compared to the average office-based worker.
      • Co-workers opinions: Working in an office you can see and smell your co-workers and get a good indication of who is putting in a shift and who is not. There may be some resentment from office workers to home workers as they can’t see if they’re working or not. The only way to offset this disadvantage is to place the onus on the workers working from home to over-communicate their accomplishments and work they carry out. Transparency is key in a virtual environment.
      • There could be promotional problems: Some home workers may find their promotional opportunities hampered due to being outside the office, so their availability is not as reliable as those in traditional settings. This could lead to missed opportunities.
      • Family and pets: they can be a distraction at home, if you don’t have a designated working spot. TV and social media can also be a distraction if not used in the right way. To help manage working from home, we produced an article in March which you can read to create a better home working environment.

       

      Conclusion

      Overall, working from home has its pros & cons. It’s a great option for employees. A lot of sales roles are home or field based. Is it time to make accounts, customer care and many more roles home based?

      With the rise of technologies like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and with faster broadband, we are now more equipped for home working, which brings its own pros and cons.

      Every company should weigh them up to make the best decision in the long run. If there is one positive impact of the pandemic, it is that it has allowed us to rethink the way we work.

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