With working patterns being disrupted, ‘the norm’ is looking very different to how it was 18 months ago. As the UK slowly eases back into the new realities of work, it’s an interesting time to explore the reason why remote working not only benefits the employee but widely has a beneficial impact for many organisations and employers.
I recently surveyed my Linkedin contacts to discover their perceptions of workload whilst working from home:
With 80% saying they felt they worked harder from home, as the effects of reducing the office culture are clearly taking a toll, with some of the conversations I have had including the issues below:
1 Blurred Lines between work and home life
Burnout is real. It is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. It’s important to be wary of this and ensure your teams realise when it is time to just switch off from work.
2 Lack of Social Contact
This can be an issue if you work from home alone, without other people around the employee, be it housemates or family. It’s key to ensure that you as an employer are understanding of this situation and offer ways to support social interaction, be it through virtual team meetings to help map out the day or week of work, regular conversations over the phone or even face to face catch ups when restrictions permit.
3. Lack of Resources
Do your teams have the tools and resources they need to fulfil their roles day-to-day? If you plan on switching to a hybrid model whereby your team is expected to work from home in the week, it’s essential they have the tech resources they need to complete their work. Do they need that second screen? DO they have sufficient tech tools? A review with your employees should help you distinguish what they need to support them when working from home.
However, there are clearly benefits to your business which are, but not restricted to:
Working in the office can sometimes be distracting, busy and loud. which can lead to a lack of productivity and concentration issues for some of your employees. Employees working from home also benefit from the extra time in the morning avoiding their commute and being able to start the day fresh without the hassle of public transport. If employees are on-boarded with the right skills of how to work from home, then they are likely to be very efficient and productive. We at Pro have seen a huge uplift in productivity whilst we continue to review and ensure we provide our teams with the tools they need to succeed.
2 Improved Employee Retention and Attraction
Even if an employee’s personal circumstances change, being address, Covid restrictions and self-isolation, working from home allow your employees to still focus and carry out their duties whilst working wherever they feel most comfortable. Being flexible in remote working opportunities is a great way for employers to retain staff, reduce employee turnover and ultimately save money on hiring in the long-term.
Remote working in the UK has shown to statistically be favoured by employees, being one of the most important company benefits for 19% of employees, who say that if they were torn between two roles, 1 in 5 individuals would accept the remote working jobs over office-based jobs.
3 Financial Benefits
Fewer overheads, less need for costs in the office such as kitchen facilities, furniture or utilities. Without completely eliminating all costs, remote working can offer a reduction in the cost for the less necessary resources and allow you as an employer to focus on providing better tools and advance your technologies.
4 Improved Employee Wellbeing
Having a flexible schedule can be beneficial to your employees for many reasons, including reducing stress and increasing happiness. Those who have children are able to take them to school or even have the evening meal with them, others who live further away from the office are able to benefit from the extra time and money saved in their commutes.
Mental health is currently the leading cause of sickness absence from work and costs the UK employers an average of £1300 per employee. Taking time off from work, or having the flexibility to work remotely is a great way to boost the work/life balance for employees which will lead to better mental well-being in the workplace.
Here we see that the benefits do outweigh the disadvantages, however, as employers it is important that you manage your duty of care to ensure that those who may need that extra support whilst working from home are provided for. with 80% suggesting that they work longer hours whilst working from home, it's key that you as an employer review this before your staff experience burnout.