Head of WorkSpace IQ
The idea of working from home appears idyllic for some people. No wasted time and energy commuting to work, no parking costs or challenges, space to yourself and the ability to design your workspace just as you want.
Aside from avoiding your daily commute, the ability to be at home for children after school, and so on, the everyday reality of working at home on your own can be quite different.
If you’re someone who thrives in a team setting, working at home can feel like you’ve gone into a retreat. The regular interaction with others that fires you up just isn’t there and it can be hard to keep yourself motivated.
However, if you struggle to focus in large, open-plan offices, are easily distracted or have a more introverted personality, you may well enjoy that home-based space with fewer interruptions. You will likely be more productive, feel better about your workspace and enjoy the autonomy that comes with it.
But should employers be encouraging this option more? Technological advances mean that these days your employees can work from virtually anywhere, but is it worth it?
Will encouraging people to work from home mean less office space required and potentially some cost savings for you? Will you see improved or reduced productivity? Does less accountability mean it’s harder to keep people on task?
This will depend on your business model, the amount of autonomy you give staff, the type of work being performed and the people in your team – it’s never a ‘one size fits all’ option.
In terms of health and safety obligations, any employee who is expected to work from home has the same rights around having a safe workstation set up, good seating and lighting, as they do in a normal office setting.
This is an area which is often overlooked by employers, but one to be more aware of. It shouldn’t be a big challenge to cover off, but it is really important – and a legal requirement – to ensure that you are keeping your staff – your most valuable resource – safe.
Legislation aside, the massively increased use of technology has an impact on people’s workplace wellbeing. As a good employer, make sure that any home-based employees take action in these areas.
Remember, people who suit this type of work environment will thrive and be more productive, so it does pay to be flexible and make the most of the digital age to enhance work environment options for your staff.