Where do you feel more efficient?
This is a question that a variety of businesses across the country have contemplated over the last decade. Due to the advancements in technology, a majority of organisational cultures have evolved to provide employees with the opportunity to work from home (WFH).
However, the recent outbreak of coronavirus has transformed the world of work. Working from home has become a necessity for businesses in Britain and across the globe to survive. 60% of the UK population are now working from home under the instruction of the government during the coronavirus lockdown. This has resulted in a direct impact on employee productivity and wellbeing. Therefore, it is important to look at the recent research and statistics to weigh up the pros and cons of working from home.
In some cases working from home can be the best solution for your lifestyle. Here are some of the main advantages of a home office:
- There is no commute (or traffic!). On average, workers will save up to £44.78 by cutting out the commute and buying lunch out.
- It is cost-effective. Purchasing an office space can be expensive to those that are self-employed. Although, you can claim costs back if you are renting an office or work from home. Unfortunately, you can not do so if you have paid for a premises.
- More flexibility. On occasions, there are just some situations which require you to be in the house. Whether you have a child that is off sick from school or an expected parcel for delivery. In addition to this, it can enable workers to take regular breaks from their screen to carry out everyday home tasks.
- Design your workspace to suit your needs. You can surround yourself with amenities or keep your home environment at a comfortable temperature. Whereas a shared office space can be more restricting in regards to allowances and expensive to decorate.
- Environmentally friendly. You have control over how green your business is. You will be decreasing your carbon footprint by reducing the use of your car and public transport. In contrast, if you are renting an office space, you are automatically binded to the green practices of the rest of the building.
Whilst there are various benefits to working from home, there are many drawbacks to consider. Here are some of the disadvantages that should be considered:
- Lots of distractions. These can come in the form of school holidays, pets, or daily household noises which can easily distract you from focusing on your work. Whereas, a professional surroundings can prevent you from taking your attention away from your work, especially if you are easily distracted.
- You can feel isolated. As a result of the lockdown, one out of five remote workers stated that they struggled with feelings of loneliness and isolation from other people. With no commute, working from home can decrease the amount you leave the house.
- It’s difficult to switch off. If you are working from home, it can be easy to confuse your work life with your home life and ultimately let your work take over. Whereas, leaving a physical office for the day can enable you to take a breather and return to work the next day refreshed.
- You can feel stir-crazy. Going into a communal office can bring a different experience each day. Whether it is a particular view on your way to work or having a coffee with a colleague during your lunch break. Whereas, spending an extended period of time in the same four walls of your home everyday can make you feel disconnected from the outside world.
- It is difficult to build relationships. Whether you are a freelancer or running a business, if you are not able to physically meet up with your clients, it can have negative repercussions such as struggling to secure potential business and relationships. Meanwhile, being able to accommodate your clients and employees in a professional office space can solve this problem.
So what’s the final verdict?
A balance is best. It is clear that working from home is a solution for some businesses. It enable workers to achieve a work-life balance. Although it may enable employees to take a break from the office and de-stress, too much time away from an all-purpose built office environment can create a barrier between workers and the outside world of professionalism.
More than 1.54 million people are now working from home as part of their main job. Therefore there has been enough research to suggest that it can affect the health and wellbeing of workers. Whilst two-thirds of employees typically feel they are more productive in a home office, Gallop Surveys suggest that only 30% of workers are actually engaged in their work.
Furthermore, it has been concluded by a series of workplace studies that businesses should attempt to provide an engaging environment for workers. There should be no sacrifice of concentration levels. For example, working from home two days a week allows for a healthy work-life balance and combination of company culture in the office and concentration at home. Alternatively finding the perfect shared office space with ‘quiet rooms’ provided can also provide options to employees with varying workspace needs.