Since the home office became the new norm, its advantages have been regularly highlighted in the media and all.
Working from home, made possible by digitizing tools and processes, helps employees achieve a better work-life balance. And that’s not the only benefit that comes from working in the home office.
This article will address the five most important benefits of working from home, both for employers and employees.
But when work at home is abrupt and disorganized, it too creates stress and dysfunction. This is the observation of many companies that, due to Covid-19, have been forced to let 100 percent of their employees work from home in times of need.
Therefore, the disadvantages of working from home and the best practices to overcome them should be addressed.
We have summarized the five most important advantages and disadvantages of working from home for you.
Advantages of the home office
- Cost savings for employers
The upkeep and maintenance of business premises cause considerable costs for companies, especially since rents are constantly rising.
As a result, many companies can make significant savings by considering home offices, including on a part-time basis. Of course, this assumes that employees have a desk at home.
In addition to the expenses for premises, there are also expenses for employees traveling by public transport or company car. Again, the company partly bears the costs.
This leads us to the next advantage in the home office, on the part of the employees.
- Time and cost savings for workers
Reducing the time, it takes to get around and extra minutes of sleep. Saving time is often the main motivation for employees looking for the home office.
There are no costs for public transport. In addition, drivers save fuel and maintenance costs, which can sometimes be significant.
- A positive image for the company and easier recruiting of talent
The home office helps strengthen the employer brand. It communicates:
- the modernity of the company,
- a trend towards modern management (participatory management, cross-functional management, etc.),
- an awareness of environmental issues. Fewer car trips = less pollution.
Enough to meet the most demanding talent to attract and retain, especially those of Generation Y.
Some profiles are difficult to recruit. In some sectors, such as IT, there is even a shortage of applications. Therefore, it would be a shame to deprive us of certain talents as we would not be able to greet them on the company’s premises. Some examples are:
- Geographical constraints. A candidate seems a perfect fit for your company, but the problem is that they live 500km away and have no plans to move. Why don’t you offer him a fully remote work contract?
- The handicap. Remote working remains one of the best solutions to enable certain disabled workers to work in optimal conditions.
- Less stress and fatigue
According to a study by Malakoff Mederic, 85 percent of employees state that working from home makes them less tired than working in the office. This is one of the reasons why employees are sick less often.
Running after the clock in the morning exhausted, crowded public transport, traffic jams. The home office avoids all this.
On the other hand, the harmful atmosphere that unfortunately reigns in some structures turns out to be a stress factor. Working at a distance makes it possible to escape this environment and reduce contact with harmful employees.
- Flexibility, productivity, and work-life balance
The home office offers flexibility and a better work-life balance for employees. You generally enjoy greater flexibility in terms of schedules and day-to-day organization. They adjust their schedule based on their needs, including the times of day that they know will be most productive. As a result, they can better balance their professional life with their family life, their leisure activities, and their own rhythm.
In addition, the home office also proves to be a sign of the employer’s trust in you. As a result, employees in the home office feel more taken into account and motivated, which increases their commitment to the company and their productivity.
Disadvantages of the home office
- Lack of social contact and isolation
It goes without saying that the work in office is the greatest contact opportunity. However, this is the biggest shortcoming of working in the home office.
Some employees feel isolated in the home office, which has a negative impact on their well-being and performance.
In addition, some organizations suffer from the lack of connection between home office workers and the company. Such a climate affects team cohesion and corporate culture. It’s hard to feel like you’re in the same boat when you never meet.
💡 The solution?
It is advisable to plan meetings between employees, e.g., after work, to maintain personal contact with colleagues and strengthen team spirit. Other bosses decide on the prescribed days of attendance, either on the company premises or in a coworking area.
- Communication problems
Working in the home office creates another problem: a lack of exchange with colleagues and difficult communication within projects. How are you getting on? What tasks need to be performed? Who is working on what? Etc.
Companies that are successful in the home office are well-equipped digitized companies. For example, they are used to using work from home monitoring software such as WorkPuls. And to increase their remote performance, they often use collaborative platforms.
- Lack of control
For home office to work, the company needs to maintain some control over employees to simplify the general organization and maintain cohesion between teams.
It is recommended to set up regulations for working in the home office to avoid excesses and sources of confusion for the employee.
How many hours per week can be worked remotely? During which period of time do employees have to be available? Which communication channels should be preferred?
A password manager like LastPass is recommended to control access to important tools and information. This makes it possible to give employees access to all necessary information and tools without openly communicating passwords. LastPass provides the highest level of control for the IT department and a password-free experience for employees.
- Self-discipline and organization
Organizational issues and workload management: not all employees are as disciplined in the home office as they are in the office. Especially when they work in jogging suits or boxer shorts, some feel more lost than others when their manager is not with them to help them organize their work.
Discipline remains the key! Plan a detailed and well-structured schedule for your workday and try to avoid possible distractions (cell phone, messages, etc.). To increase efficiency, this program should consider moments of optimal concentration and small gaps (e.g. working on more technical topics in the morning, scheduling certain times for processing e-mails, etc.).
- The blurred line between work and private life
Although home office workers can better balance their professional and private lives, many complain that the boundary between the two tends to become less clear—concentration problems accumulated over time or a lack of ” decoupling ” from the company.
It is important to give employees well-structured working hours in which they can concentrate 100 percent on their tasks. However, it is just as important (if possible) to set up your own workplace in the apartment. In addition, employees in the home office should set up rules with their partner or child in order not to be disturbed.
Home office, good or bad?
In summary, it can be said that the introduction of the home office is a win-win situation for both the employee and the employer.
However, in order to get the maximum benefit from this, it is important to proceed in the right way and act with foresight. Therefore, certain “failures” that occurred during the lockdown should not tarnish this beautiful picture. Unfortunately, most structures and employees were not prepared for this.
But with a better-defined framework, the home office will likely win the hearts of companies and Workers in general.
What is your personal opinion on the subject of home office? Share your experience in the comments!