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The Pros & Cons Of Letting Your Employees Work From Home

December 22, 2015

Working-from-home

According to a report, released by GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, employee telecommuting has been steadily growing over the last decade, with stats showing a growth of 80% between 2005 and 2012! This will be, in part, thanks to the technological improvements that have been made over recent years, as well as the entrance of millennials into the working environment.

Many companies want to stay on top of trends such as these and as such may well start to relax their policy on working from home. There’s no doubt of the benefits that this can have to both employers and their employees, but there are also risks and so you should be aware that it may not always be the right decision for your company.

It is important to note that as well as referring to employees who always work from home, the term telecommuting also refers to employees who spend half their time in the office and the other half at home.

So what are the benefits?

1. Hiring

It is important to recognise that by not limiting your hiring process to people who are within your geographical reach you are widening your talent reach. This means you have better access to a wider range of people and, more importantly, their skills! By keeping your options open you are ensuring you don’t miss out on the top talent that might be living across the other side of the country (or the world!)

2. Retention of talent

You’d be surprised at the number of employees who end up leaving a company because their commute is horrible and stressful. Allowing them to work from home will improve their work versus life balance and reduce the costs of commuting too. This will help keep morale high and in turn, help you retain the talent.

3. Skype

Skype continues to improve with each year and now, alongside a variety of other video and web conferences, enables employees to dial in to meetings easily and virtually. You no longer have to be physically in the room to be able to contribute to the meeting.

4. Money saving

Having people dial in to meetings instead of physically attending them removes the need for your company to spend any money on relocating staff, travel costs, as well as removing the need to spend money on pricey office equipment.

What are the cons?

1. Hiring

Even though there are hiring benefits, there are also negatives. You have to be able to trust that your employees will be self-motivated enough to actually do their work at home. They need to be focused enough to deliver just as much at home as they would at work and this can be difficult to gauge in an interview. It has been found that people who are flexible work best at home whereas those who need structure and routine tend not to suit working from home as much. Again, this can be difficult to judge before an employee actually starts working.

2. Increased amount of pressure on line managers

Line managers may face increased pressure when trying to manage those who report into them if those employees are working from home. Some line managers can struggle to manage their teams properly without having regular face to face meetings. You need to ensure those you appoint as line managers have a lot of patience and understanding and are flexible enough to make sure problems don’t arise.

3. Skype

Skype is handy in so many ways, which is why it is on both the positive and negative list. The truth of the matter is, for many people skype will never be good enough to replace face to face meetings.

4. Occasional oversight and increased mistakes

Unfortunately without direct contact it can increase the number of mistakes being made, simply because of miscommunication and the lack of ability to properly (and physically) oversee things.

In summary, it seems that the best option for many companies would be to have a flexible working policy where staff can work part time remotely and part time in the office (if possible). However, how well such an arrangement will work for your company will always vary depending on how your business, and those who work for you, actually function. At the end of the day you have to do what works best for your business.

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