“Work from home? Are you Sure?”
Until 2020, working from home seemed like a relatively strange notion! But 2020 was a strange year.
Over the past year, the government has repeatedly stated the importance of working at home when concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
The office workforce has been working from home since March of 2020 (over a year ago).
In comparison, in 2019, around 4.7% of workers worked from home. The highest level pre-COVID.
However, when the stay at home order came into effect, over 46% of people were now working from home.
Almost 10 Times The Rate Before The Pandemic!
Many employees had to make offices in their living rooms, bedrooms and spare rooms (Whichever room was free). At first, this was far from ideal – Most struggled for the first few weeks, having to adapt to the new working environment. Now in 2021, it’s a completely different story.
In a poll, YouGov found that over 57% of people who were employed pre-COVID would like to remain working from home, even when restrictions are fully lifted. With fewer than four out of ten people wanting to return to the workplace, it can be assumed that many UK businesses need to change their stance on home working.
As an employer, there are many factors to take into account when considering making working from home permanently. One major factor is how productive employees can be when working at home.
There are lots of potential distractions and circumstances which may mean working from home isn’t the most practical option. For example, not having access to the internet or parents working from home.
However, if there is one thing this pandemic has shown us, it’s that as a workforce we are highly adaptable and we can evolve if the circumstances require it. Most people enjoyed working from home in some capacity, with some even considering changing jobs to allow them to remain working at home.
Many business owners are now trying to facilitate home working, wherever possible – Giving employees the freedom they desire.
Top Three Tips For Making Work From Home Arrangements More Permanent
1. Do Your Research
Business Owners Should Look Into Home Working Policies They May Have Had In Place Before The Pandemic. As Well As, Looking At Research Studies Looking At Home Working – Searching For The Facts Concerning Working At Home.
If Your Business Already Has The HR Policies And Procedures In Place For Home Working, It Will Be Much Easier To Start Implementing On A Larger Scale.
However, If Your Business Does Not Have These Policies In Place It May Take Longer To Allow Your Employees To Work At Home More Permanently.
If You Decide To Allow Your Employees To Work From Home, There Must Be Proper Policies In Place To Protect Your Business From Unwanted Legal Fees.
Having A Policy In Place Can Help Employees Stay Safe While Working From Home, Stating Whether The Equipment Will Be Provided And How Homeworking Will Be Managed.
Considering If Employees Should Work Part-Time At Home And Part-Time At The Workplace Is Also Important.
For Some Businesses, Working From Home Is Not Practical (Especially When Specialist Equipment Or Software Is Required), But Working From Home Part-Time Could Be Possible.
2. Consider The Pros And Cons
There Are Many Pros And Cons To Home Working, All Dependent Upon The Individual Set Of Circumstances. Working From Home Can Be Very Beneficial For Both Employer And Employee, But Sometimes It Isn’t A Practical Solution.
- Increased Productivity – A Stanford Study Found That 32% Of Managers Reported Increased Levels Of Productivity When Home Working!
- Increased Performance Levels – The Same Study Found That Employee Performance Increased By 13% When Working From Home.
- Improved Morale – Working From Home Allows Employees To Have More Time To Do What They Enjoy, Improved Breaks & Meals And Attendance.
- Cost-Effective – Homeworking Reduces Some Of The Spending On Employees As They Are No Longer On-Site, Saving Companies A Lot Of Money.
- Better For The Environment – Carbon Emissions From Commuting Are Greatly Reduced By Home Working, Helping Reduce The Effects Of Climate Change.
- Home Office Constraints – There Is Less Face-To-Face Contact Between Employees Which Can Make Communicating More Difficult. Also, Research Shows There May Be More Distractions At Home If There Isn’t An Appropriate Home Office Area.
- Access To Tools – In The Office There Is Everything Employees Could Need; The Internet, Computers, Technology, Files, Etc. This May Make Working From Home Harder For Some Employees (If The Employer Cannot Afford To Provide This Equipment).
- Motivation – This Does Not Apply To All Employees, But Some May Struggle With Keeping Motivated At Home. Being On-Site Makes Us Much More Likely To Complete Uninteresting Tasks.
3. Communicate With Employees
It’s Very Important To Listen To Employees When Discussing The Topic Of Working From Home – It’s Not For Everyone! Some Employees Will Greatly Benefit From Permanently Working From Home, It Often Leads To A Better Work/Life Balance. Although, For Other Employees, It May Be Completely Unsuitable (Especially If They Don’t Have The Right Resources At Home).
It Is Crucial To Look At Every Case Individually, To Make Sure All Your Employees Are Doing What Is Best For Them.
If An Employee Shows Interest In Working From Home On A More Permanent Basis, Employers Should Show As Much Flexibility As Possible To Accommodate Them.
If Staff Do Not Have The Home Facilities To Allow Them To Work From Home, Employers Should Look Into All Options. There Should Be An Honest And Open Environment At Work To Allow Employees To Voice All Their Concerns.
For Example, If An Employee Has An Ill Family Member That They Need To Look After, They Should Be Able To Talk About It To Senior Management So That They Could Potentially Work From Home.
Another Example Would Be Working Parents Who Need More Flexibility To Look After Their Children And Do The School Run, Working From Home May Be The Perfect Solution.
For Some, Working From Home Is Perfect – Fitting In Around Their Life And Making Them A Better Employee. For Others, Working From Home Is A Nightmare – Finding It Hard To Concentrate Or Motivate Themselves To Complete Work.
One Easy Way To Mitigate This Would Be To Have A Probationary Period For Home Working. This Can Be Used To Assess How Well They Can Work From Home And If They Enjoy It Or Not. If Employees Work Well In Their Home Environment, There Is No Reason For Them To Travel To The Workplace!
If Your Business Needs Help Supporting Employees To Work From Home – Contact Wurkplace!