Pros and cons of working from home for employers
Is your company considering extending working from home? When the first lockdown happened, a lot of people had to learn to adapt quickly and for the most part the results were good. Now we’re easing out of lockdown, employers are considering whether this way of working is the way forward, or is the change just too big?
- More employee options
If you’re recruiting, you can broaden your selection pool to those who can’t realistically commute to your office. Maybe you’ll find better or more talent, or a specialist beyond the reasonable limits of commuting. You can also use talent in demographics that would otherwise be unavailable to work, such as parents with childcare responsibilities.
- Better work/life balance for employees
Better work/life balances will improve with parents able to pop out and pick up the kids from school, for example. Urgent appointments, like for the doctor or dentist, can be fitted into the workday. Employees can find an appointment quickly by looking at Switch Health and finish their work at home. If the job allows, employees can be flexible in their workday. If they need to, they can take an hour off, knowing that they can make up for it later in the day. They get more control over their work lives by perhaps choosing to start early because commuting is eliminated. A less stressful environment will create a more loyal and engaging employee.
- Reduced cost
There is a chance to save money, both for the employer and employee in working from home. The employee of course reduces the cost of commuting to and from work, in turn reducing their carbon footprint, and have expressed an appreciation for eating their own food at home rather than buying from the area around their office. The employer could also save money by considering reducing their office space and equipment. Everything from computers to electricity to cleaning costs to bulk stationary can be reduced.
- Productivity will go up
For the unofficial trial that was the COVID lockdowns, employers were pleasantly surprised to see productivity go up. With the need to commute, schedule and sometimes even fully dress eliminated or reduced, employees could focus entirely on the work. Toxic work environments were also eliminated, reducing stress. Less toxic, but still an integral part of office life is the chit-chat, noise levels and less important meetings causing distractions that are no longer around.
- New starts
Being The New Guy is daunting enough, where the ability to ask questions is a vital part of the process of easing into a new environment. A lot of small questions that don’t merit an email, but a quick gab will now have to be dealt with either in email/phone call form, or alone, causing unnecessary stress and a barrier between team building. More thought on how inductions and maintaining team cohesion are dealt with will be required.
- Monitoring performance
The main struggle of managers with employees working from home is monitoring performance. Gauging how much your workers are doing is an important statistic to have moving any company forward, although it depends on a variety of factors.
It was increasingly the case before working from home was even considered as an option, that online surveillance software was monitoring productivity. If that is not something you currently use, consider looking into it.
The real problem here is trust. Do managers trust who they’ve hired to work as much as they need to and present the same quality and results? If you have to think about that, why did you hire them?
- Security risks
It just makes sense. Instead of various computers under one roof, behind one locked door with sensitive data on board, there are now various computers behind various doors that are constantly opening for family members, the plumber, the pizza guy, what have you. With the rules of the General Data Protection Regulations recently tightened and strictly enforced, it’s important that there are systems in place to protect people’s data.
- Temptation to overwork
You don’t want your employees to experience burnout and become entirely useless when they have to take a step back. The idea of starting a little earlier because you only have to commute from your bed to your laptop can lead to a feeling of being trapped at work. Workers may feel there is no escape and find it hard to switch off. And mid-shift breaks to have a quick chat with a co-worker also going through a hard day is eliminated, causing the worker to say “Well, I may as well keep working”.
The idea of working from home is appealing to many employees across the UK and there are benefits to be had as an employee and an employer. Consider what it will take to make it work and the benefits in productivity and profit to decide whether it is the way going forward.