Would you consider letting employees work from home?

According to the Mega Trend report of flexible working published by the CIPD in January, there has been a big increase in the proportion of employees who sometimes work from home – either replacing, or adding to, the time they spend at their usual place of work.

According to ACAS, nearly one in seven UK workers now works from home for at least half of their working time. That’s 4.2 million people – the highest rate since comparable records began in 1998, when there were around 2.9 million homeworkers.

Does your company allow employees to work from home? Home working will not be appropriate to all businesses or roles but has perhaps become more accessible thanks to new technology that allows work outside of the traditional office setting with little reduction in quality of interaction or productivity. For those with commitments outside of the office such as caring for children of elderly relatives, it can be a great means of achieving a better work/life balance. Businesses can reap the benefits too, with opportunities to reduce office space and overall overheads, as well as seeing increases in staff motivation, engagement and retention.

However, home working needs to be carefully managed and consideration must be given to:

  • Impact on the team and social interaction
  • Physical working space – is it safe and appropriate
  • Work equipment – what will be required, and will the costs be prohibitive?
  • How will you maintain effective communication?
  • Work performance – how will this be supervised and measured?
  • Trust – a home working arrangement will only work effectively when there is trust on both sides