Many workplaces hear the phrase ‘I’m working from home’ from their employees and depending on the industry you’re a part of, it really can change the working dynamics of the company. Some companies, of course, don’t allow such a policy, but others embrace it and believe working from home can make teams more effective in the long run.
A study conducted by O2 found that young workers in particular regarded working from home a ‘right’ rather than a privilege, and of the 3,000 Slough workers surveyed, only 125 people worked from their desks as normal. The other staff saved £9,000 in reduced commuting costs, spending the additional 1,000 hours sleeping and relaxing, or seeing more of their families. 36% said they were more productive than when at work. So is it a good idea, or are we breeding laziness?
Experts believe that working from home depends on the resources you have there. Working on a group project might be tricky, for example, if you don’t utilise collaboration programs. Workers may feel cut off if they aren’t given the right equipment, like a work mobile phone, in order to stay in contact.
Security is another issue. If you’re working with sensitive information, how can you allow staff to take this home with them? Is their internet connection secure?
Many companies look into investing in programs, like Thru’s secure ad hoc file transfer systems, to ensure that nothing can be intercepted when in transit – for example, when emailing to and from other staff in the company from outside the premises. Thru offers secure corporate data transfer services which provides staff with comprehensive network protection and application security, to ensure that data is safe at all times- wherever staff are working from. They haven’t had a security breach in 12 years, and like other file transfer companies, they take security very seriously and have built everything around enhanced safety features. File transfers are protected by multiple features this allows managers to be confident that their workload and data is not compromised.
Other than security, companies might have difficulties motivating employees to commit the time to work, and not end up watching TV or in bed. For this reason, specific targets and monitoring needs to be initiated from the start. Companies often have a ‘working from home policy’ which keeps track of progress at home and reviews the staff member’s ability to work from home regularly. If targets aren’t met, the staff member may have to come into the office.
Of course, there are many benefits from working from home. On a small scale, employees feel they can juggle their workload around their personal circumstances – a bonus for working parents especially. On a bigger scale, the reduction in commuting numbers means C02 emissions are reduced – great for the environment. It really depends on how the company currently runs, wishes to run, and what industry they are in (for example, is a physical presence even required? A mechanic wouldn’t be able to work from home…) as to whether working from home is even an option.
And once it is in place, establishing rules, guidelines and boundaries is key.