For a lot of companies the idea of offering employees the opportunity of ‘working from home’ fills them with dread.
Surely everyone will just lounge around in their pyjamas all day watching ‘This Morning’ or ‘Homes under the Hammer’ and only check their emails every hour or so?
Maybe they’ll even jump back into bed and take a midday nap whilst supposedly ‘grabbing some lunch’?
Well, attitudes are changing and company bosses are realising there are benefits in offering flexible working to their employees.
If team members work remotely companies could benefit from some or all of the following:
- Reduced office costs (especially if ‘hot desking’ is introduced)
- Enhanced pools of talent
- Environmental benefits – reduced carbon footprints
- Increased staff morale
- Staff retention
- Increased output
I’ve been lucky enough to work remotely for almost 10 years; colleagues of mine have done so for even longer. It is definitely an added benefit to our job; why look for work elsewhere when we’ve got it so good?
But we’ve earned it – and we continue to earn it.
We work hard, harder in fact than sometimes when we’re in the office. We’re not distracted by office chit chat, dealing with office politics or answering calls that aren’t meant for us.
We’re focused, organised and have beautiful office stationery. Our pens don’t disappear.
On a hot day we can sit with the doors open (although I did miss office air conditioning when the temperatures reached 33 last summer); on a cold day we can turn the heating up without arguing with colleagues and even wrap a blanket over our laps if needs be.
When I pop to make a cup of tea I can put a load in the washing machine and if I am expecting a delivery I can answer the door promptly and not have to come home to a ‘Sorry you were out’ card – and we don’t need to use up annual leave just to wait in for a plumber.
So yes there are perks for us, but the perks for the boss are palpable too.
Over the last few years our team size hasn’t reduced but our offices have. With a few team members working remotely on different days of the week, we’re able to operate from a smaller office. Team members ‘hot desk’ and the office never feels cramped as not everyone is in on any one day. If we are it’s for company meetings, so we use the board room.
Talent pools open up to companies who offer remote working. Those of us with children may shudder at the thought of commuting into London every day, having left the kids with a childminder at the crack of dawn just to get into work on time. Many of us would be working just to cover the cost of both getting to work and the childminder needed to allow us to do it.
Working from home allows me to drop my kids off to school on time; I can be back at my desk with a hot cup of coffee by 9.10am and can get 6 hours work in before I need to pick them up.
I can watch their nativities, attend sports day and go to parents evening without having to race back from the office and I can work in the evenings once they’re tucked up in bed as all my work is sat on my desk, where I left it.
Being able to work from home meant I could return to work much sooner after having children; so a whole host of candidates could be available to employers if they were offering flexible / remote working.
Flexible working is not just beneficial to parents; the ability to schedule your work around your life is deemed to be a highly attractive benefit.
Need to walk the dog? Want to attend 8am yoga? Or maybe you want to volunteer once a month with a local charity?
If you’re able to schedule your work around your life commitments, and your work doesn’t suffer, then surely it’s a ‘win-win’?
Synonyms of remote are ‘faraway’, ‘distant’, ‘far-flung’ – even ‘in the middle of nowhere’! As long as you have the technology and facilities to be able to get the job done then it really doesn’t matter where in the world you are.
I have a friend who’s husband’s job moved to Switzerland; after discussions with her boss she converted to ‘remote working’ and worked from their Basel apartment, flying back to London monthly to attend meetings.
Another friend relocated to Australia; her London based law firm didn’t want to lose her so she agreed to work ‘remotely’ from the other side of the world! Yes, she had to work unsociable hours to tie in with London but remained on her London salary – a real incentive to keep going when sat at her desk in the early hours.
Other synonyms are ‘lonesome’, ‘isolated’ and ‘secluded’. Remote working isn’t for everyone.
Many people thrive in an office environment, some need and enjoy the support of those around them.
But for the 4million+ who worked from home in the UK in 2015*, it must have worked. More and more of us are doing it and more and more bosses are embracing it.
With 50% of the UK workforce expected to be working remotely by 2020**, if you’re not already perhaps 2019 will be the year for you…
Why not take a look at our current vacancies – you might just find a role for you that will offer you the work/life balance you’re looking for.
*Statistics from the ONS
**According to HSO