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Article Updated December 2020
As the way we live our lives has changed drastically over the past year, more and more people are being put into situations where they have to work from home. But as the world starts to reopen and some people head back to the office - many businesses and employees alike are left with an important question: should we continue to work from home?
The increase in Wifi and Cloud software systems has contributed to make “working from home” more accessible for just about anyone not involved in manual labour. However, as well as several benefits, there are also disadvantages that come with this concept. We were keen to look into this, finding the following results. Read on to discover the advantages and disadvantages of working from home - for both individual employees and larger businesses alike.
From lower commuting costs to increased motivation, there are many benefits which seem to come from working from home. The advantages of working from home include:
Less childcare costs
Opportunity for a wider pool of job applicants
Increased productivity and motivation
Working from home means that you won’t have to pay as much on childcare. The costs of play-school and after school clubs will be reduced as you will be able to look after your children personally. While there’s no denying that this might lower productivity levels, from a cost point of view, there’s never been an easier way to save.
Having a team that works from home means that you no longer have to worry about office location issues when hiring. Just about anyone from around the country - or world! - can apply for your position without having to stress about getting to work every day.
This not only opens up your workforce to a whole range of skilled individuals, but it also makes your company accessible for all. For example, somebody with disabilities, won’t have to worry about getting to the office.
Many reports have found that employees feel as though they have more freedom when working from home; resulting in increased productivity and motivation. There are usually less interruptions at home, especially if the office space where you work has an open plan set up. Having a more peaceful atmosphere at home can mean that you manage to get more done without getting distracted. Motivation can also increase due to the cut in commuting and travelling time.
From a business point of view, moving to remote working is extremely financially beneficial. Your business no longer has to pay for office space or electricity bills, cutting overheads down greatly. Employees are now in charge of their own office space; you could even sell your desks and office chairs to them to keep the transition as smooth as possible.
Of course, working from home is not only economical for the employer - the reduction in travelling time and costs is also beneficial for employees.
The reduction in travelling and staff commuting means there is less air pollution, protecting the planet more. In fact, it has been found that nitrogen dioxide levels on London’s roads decreased by 31% during the first UK lockdown.
If more and more businesses permanently switch to remote working, imagine the amazing impact this would have on our environment!
Unfortunately, as well as bringing benefits to the table, some people may struggle with the move to work from home. From management issues to lack of teamwork, there are some things that being away from an office can’t solve. Main disadvantages of working from home include:
Troubles monitoring employee performance
Less teamwork opportunities
Difficulty solving complicated technical issues
Increased telecommunication costs
It’s harder to ‘switch off’
It is not easy for managers to monitor their staffs’ progress and performance without them being in the same office space. This is especially escalated if the job role requires a lot of “background duties” that can’t be monitored on a work’s system. Frequent catchup calls to solve this issue can be very time-consuming, reducing productivity levels.
Working from home naturally means that you don’t get to work in a team as much. There is less communication between employees which in turn, may decrease an element of teamwork amongst yourselves. It can also mean that you miss out on “everyday matters”, such as daily updates and possible promotions, as you become less involved. Some employees may start to feel isolated as the business culture slips.
Simple problems, such as software issues, become more difficult to fix when you’re not in the office. It takes longer to try and help someone over the phone than it would be in person. Technological issues in particular tend to require expertise, which can take days to solve.
The amount that you are likely to use your own mobiles increases when working from home. Not being around any of your colleagues will also mean that the phones are used more often. If the business isn’t utilising a video conferencing software, telecommunications costs can soar.
Although it has been found that working from home can boost productivity, there’s no denying that there are some new distractions to be aware of. Factors such as noisy neighbours, family or friends will mean that your productivity and concentration levels may drop.
It also becomes a lot easier to have a ‘quick’ scroll on Instagram when no one is there to monitor you. You could be disrupted more than you may think!
Staying at home will mean that you “never leave the office”. This could mean that it becomes more difficult for you to “switch off” from the working day. No more having to get into the office for 9 and clocking out at 5. While flexibility is great, this may increase your stress and worry levels.
There are plenty of advantages as well as disadvantages when it comes to “working from home”. The mental health and financial benefits make working from home favoured by many, however, there are also disadvantages to the concept that aren’t easily overlooked either. Balance seems to be keen here, depending on the person you are, and the industry you’re in!
To make the right decision moving forward for your business, it’s wise to conduct a survey, asking employees for their opinions. Every single individual will have a different experience when working from home - it’s important that you allow their voice to be heard. You can make an informed decision on whether to move forward with flexible working, office working or full-time home working from here. Don’t forget to monitor performance and happiness levels every few months to establish whether you made the right decision.
Is working from home more advantageous for you? Make sure you let us know in the comments below!
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