The Pros and Cons of working from home.
As employers across the UK are currently mapping a safe return to the office for employees and striving for ‘normal’ in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, both employers and employees face the challenge of determining what the future work environment will look like and one thing is for sure – it will definitely be different.
The pandemic forced many companies to adjust to a new remote way of working. A method not on the radar for most UK companies, with less than 5% of employees reported to have worked remotely prior to the pandemic. However, with the suggestion that up to 85% of employees today looking for a future ‘hybrid’ working environment, it is worth considering the Pro’s and Con’s of working from home and ascertaining if becoming a ‘virtual employee’ is really the best option going forward.
The main Pro’s include the following:-
Flexibility – There is no doubt that working from home allows employees the advantage of working flexible hours, taking the time for appointments or nipping out for the school run etc. and making the time up later.
No commute – Time and money saved travelling to and from the office.
Better work/life balance – More time to enjoy with family, particularly before and after work for employees used to long commutes and the ability to carry out household chores/errands over lunch time, rather than being left for evenings and weekends.
Increased productivity/motivation – With the lack of usual office interruptions it is easier for employees to get focused and work productively when working from home.
Improved employee morale – The flexibility offered by employers can be seen as an incentive, showing trust in the employee in being able to do their job remotely, boosting employee efficiency and morale. There is no doubt that the offer of flexibility would also attract new employees.
The Con’s include the following:-
No separation between work and leisure time – The absence of a specific distinction between work and home life or personal and professional can often lead to the lines being blurred and the feeling of always being at work and having no ‘down’ time.
Isolation with no in person/colleague interaction – There is no immediate support or the ability to catch a colleague to discuss an issue or even just for a chat when working remotely. Those that lack confidence and/or starting a new job for example, may find it difficult to pick up the phone to ask for help or put instructions received remotely into practice.
Home distractions – Not every employee will have a suitable working space at home free of distractions and may also not be alone in working from home, leading to interruption and distraction.
Potential burnout – An office environment provides a clear physical distinction between work and home life. It can be difficult to switch off and put down tools at 5pm, leading to longer hours and increased stress with an inevitable impact on mental health.
Difficulty monitoring staff development/performance – Without a physical presence in the office it is difficult for employers to monitor how staff are performing and coping with their workload. Some employees might be reluctant to develop new skills or take on a new role when working remotely.
To find out more how our employment team can help if you are an employer looking to review your working from home policies, or an employee looking for advice on your employer’s working policies and how they affect you contact us here.