Working from Home – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Pros and cons of flexible working

The digital landscape has made it much easier to work remotely and many businesses now offer flexible working to its employees. But there are still a staggering number of companies who are not keen on this arrangement. Let’s take a look at all sides of the story.

According to the Office of National Statistic (ONS) between 2012 and 2016, flexi-time has risen by 12.35 per cent. Furthermore 50% of the UK workforce will work remotely by 2020! The reasons for this vary from needing quiet time to concentrate on complicated projects, to minimising rising travel costs and cutting down on pollutions. Largely the reasons for a request to work from home have a positive motivation, but how much of this is genuine and how much is a facade just to avoid coming into the office?

The benefits of working from home

Many of the people I talk to claim that they get more done at home and I can fully believe this. 43% of time wasted at work is attributed to physical discussions with colleagues; something to think about. Provided you don’t get distracted by a non-work-related to do list containing things like household chores, home working can give well-needed quiet time required to complete your work. This is particularly helpful if you are compiling a report or writing content that requires concentration and the avoidance of interruptions from your peers.

Businesses that offer home working have a happier workforce. A study by Owls Lab found that full-time remote workers were 22% happier than those who never work from home. That’s pretty astounding. Giving staff some freedom to choose where they wish to work from offers a better work/life balance, enabling workers more flexibility to do things like collect children from school or attend local appointments without spending time and money getting to and from the office. It also reduces stress and anxiety.

The pitfalls of working from home

As with everything, there is a flip side and the same goes for working from home. It isn’t uncommon for staff to abuse these privileges, claiming they are working from home but are really taking time off to indulge in a leisurely activity. There’s always an element of trust associated with working away from the office and that trust is easy for people to abuse if there are no ways of monitoring productivity or tracking time.

Another point to consider is whether the work your employees are doing offsite is secure. If they are working with sensitive or confidential data then it’s imperative that the employee considers the safety of their network. This could be potentially problematic with things like GDPR, where the protection of personal identifiable information could be compromised.

Like it or loathe it, working from home has its place and is on the rise. Employers see the value in offering flexibility to get the best out of their staff and well, as long as the job gets done and there is still a culture dominated by staff presence in the office, is it really such a problem?