Should I Let Employees Work From Home? - The Benefits
If you're reading this blog, it's likely that some of your employees have come to you asking if they can work from home on a more permanent basis. They may have come to you with a list of reasons why they'd prefer to work from home, but you also have to consider whether it'll benefit your company - or not. Here are some of the ways that you might benefit from letting your employees work from home.
A lot of studies show that employees who work from home are exposed to fewer distractions. Where someone might get involved in a 30-minute chat with a colleague in the office, this might be reduced to a simple email now that the option to chat face-to-face has been removed. Some staff will even put in extra hours outside of the usual 9-5 since they're saving so much time on commuting. Overall, you might find that your employees get more work done than usual if they're allowed (and trusted) to get on with it in their own environment.
Better staff wellbeing
There are a lot of employees who find the hustle and bustle of working life incredibly challenging. Whether it's navigating a busy commute during rush hour, sitting in traffic for prolonged periods, or simply adjusting to the busy office environment - traditional ways of working are undoubtedly stressful. When bosses let their employees work from home, they are able to reduce a lot of their usual stressors.
Being able to work from home opens a lot of doors for improving wellbeing. Staff are able to get a full 8 hours sleep, spend more time with family, work in a comfortable and relaxed environment, exercise more regularly and take up new hobbies - the list goes on. Happier staff are generally more productive and you'll probably notice they take fewer sick days too!
One thing that employers often forget to consider is the cost of having employees come to a workspace every day. If you have 30 employees running computers, charging phones, drinking coffee and using the heating at your expense, you're likely to be spending thousands of pounds a year to employ them. By allowing people to work from home, they take on all of these costs themselves. If you allow a large portion of your workforce to switch to remote working, you may be able to get rid of your office space completely!
Should I Let Employees Work From Home? - The Disadvantages
While there certainly are a lot of benefits that come with letting your employees work from home, it's not the right option for every business or every employee. You might need to weigh up the pros and cons of working from home for each employee. Here are some of the negatives of letting employees work from home:
Whilst working from home can remove a lot of the distractions of the office, it can also leave some staff members feeling isolated and lonely. Some of your employees who live alone might prefer to come into the office each day so they don't get lonely. Others might find their family members more distracting than their colleagues. You have to consider that everyone has a different living space and different preferences. You might find that staff are happier and more productive when they come into work, as opposed to being at home. This is something you should consider on a case-by-case basis.
Where staff would usually come to work, do their 9-5 and then head home, working from home allows for a blurring of lines between home and work life. This can leave staff to quickly burn themselves out. It's important that you still encourage boundaries if you're going to allow staff to work remotely. If you're asking them to take on lots of additional overtime, you might find that productivity decreases.
Having staff in the office allows you to keep an eye on their behaviours and ensure that goals and deadlines are being met. When people are allowed to work from home, they take on a lot of responsibility to manage their work and productivity themselves.
Chances are you already know which members of staff will keep themselves accountable for their work, and which won't, so this is definitely something you should consider when someone asks to work from home. Some employees will feel empowered that you trust them to work autonomously and will work harder, others will take advantage of the situation and become more distracted than usual. Again, this is something you should consider on a case-by-case basis.