The Pros and Cons of Working From Home In 2023
The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020 completely shifted how businesses operate. Globally, thousands of employees were instructed to take their work home for the foreseeable. It was reported that in April 2020, 46.6% of workers did some work from home. Work from home continued as of February 2022; 84% of those forced to work from home due to the pandemic said they would continue to do so.
This blog will highlight the pros and cons of working from home for employers and employers.
Working from home is not a feesible option in every industry. A restaurant can hardly work from home, but its marketing team can. Working from home requires a few basic things in place for it to be as effective as possible.
Basic requirements for home workers:
- Equipment (laptop, mouse, webcam, charging cable)
- Any required software on computers/laptops.
- Quiet space to work, like a desk area with a chair.
- Strong Wi-Fi connection.
- Good structure/schedule to keep WFH workers connected.
- Computer/laptop security.
The Pros of Working From Home
Better Work-Life Balance
Employees that work from home have noted that their work-life balance has significantly improved. The flexibility of working from home allows employees to be more productive personally on their breaks and before/after work. This includes finding time for the gym, the school run and completing household tasks like cleaning and cooking. A study from the Organisation of National Statistics shows that in February 2022, more than three-quarters (78%) of those who worked from home said it improved their work-life balance.
Better Concentration and Productivity
Working from home could, in some ways, have fewer distractions than the office. Some employees work better alone, in quiet, without distractions like conversations or office speakers blasting out Calvin Harris. Allowing employees to work in a comfortable environment and seek out quiet space when required can boost their concentration and productivity. Research has shown half of employees feel more productive when working from home.
Erase Lengthy Commute
One of the most popular positives of working from home for many employees and employers is erasing the sometimes lengthy morning and evening commute time. Many employees’ commutes can add up to 2 hours to their working day. Erasing this gives an employee part of their day back, allowing them to spend this working on themselves. Whether at the gym, doing chores, or simply sleeping in for an extra hour.
Connects Branches and Employees Around the World
Working from home can have significant benefits in the search for experienced candidates and connecting offices around the globe. A work-from-anywhere policy means you can cast your net much wider in hiring. This allows people who match your values and bring something to the team to contribute and work for you despite not living locally.
As for connecting branches, larger organisations with offices based around the UK or globally can still function as a well-oiled machine knowing there are employees and arrangements across the globe available at just the start of a Zoom call.
Increase in Employee Wellbeing
Studies have linked the effects on employee well-being to increased productivity and engagement within employment. ONS data shows that in February 2022, almost half of those who worked from home in some capacity reported that it improved well-being (47%). A more productive employee is less likely to suffer burnout or boredom in the workplace.
Engaged employees are more likely to create fulfilling relationships between themselves and their team whilst focussing on their tasks. These two factors alone can increase an employee’s drive, motivation and well-being whilst working from home.
Reduces Employee Absence
Employee absence drastically declines if employees are equipped with the tools to WFH. Sickness happens, and no one can change that. However, many employees feeling under the weather or infectious regularly take a day off to recover, which is understandable.
In some cases, these illnesses don’t necessarily take out an employee for the whole day. This means they can pick up tasks and go through the motions at home
According to Statista, in 2020, employees who mainly worked from home had a sickness absence rate of 0.74 per cent, as opposed to the 2.2 per cent sickness absence rate of employees who never worked from home. Many employees also suffer anxiety when it comes to ringing in sick or taking time off. WFH completely erases this experience allowing employees to still do what they can at home without any fuss.
Cost Effective for Employers
Remote working erases any need to rent out a constant space for employees to work. Office spaces can be pretty pricey per annum, especially when you consider the rising costs of energy, paying for internet, accidents at work and air conditioning etc. Research from Global Workplace Analytics suggests that companies could save around £11,000 per annum if they allow their employees to work remotely just 50% of the time.
The Cons of Working From Home
Lack of Daily Interaction
Many employees who work from home experience periods of loneliness and isolation as they spend pretty much their whole day at home alone. This can have a significant effect on their well-being. Ways to combat this include regular weekly scheduled meetings, hosting coffee breaks via Zoom and organising a mixture of both in-person and online work socials.
Lack of Collaboration
In many industries, creativity is key and working from home can significantly decrease the collaborative work a team has. Without the option to grab your coworker from across your desk, it makes collaboration a little bit lengthy. Ways to combat this are encouraging a team to organise collaborative calls for projects or meet up in workspaces to work from anywhere but with their colleagues present.
Working from home is a pretty big investment for some employees who may not have the setup ready and waiting. This means they will most likely have to purchase a chair, desk, extension leads, and in some cases, their own laptop and mouse. This can be a pretty hefty amount of money they must spend before they can even begin working.
Most employers provide new starters with laptops and mouses, but the work-from-home setup is usually the employee’s responsibility. Some larger businesses may have some budget to provide employees with a work-from-home entitlement to claim back on costs, but this is a rarity.
Rising Energy Cost
The cost of living crisis has hit both businesses and the average worker really hard. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of business owners are concerned that the current cost of living crisis will affect their company.
However, WFH employees are not immune to rising costs. WFH means an increase in how much electricity a household uses, and as winter creeps in, a significant rise in heating costs to run radiators. This is something employees will have to consider if they work from home. Some employers may consider a cost of living increase in salary for employees who permanently work from home.
Dependance on Personal Technology
We have all been in a scenario where the Wi-Fi suddenly stops working or becomes incredibly slow. Each person in the business would be relying on their own wifi connection or electricity. If one person’s WiFi cuts off they could be out of action for the day or until they find a suitable workplace. This could leave other team members potentially waiting on work or information from this person.
The Beauty of Hybrid Working
A happy mix. Hybrid working is a mixture of working from home and working in the office, and normally it allows employees to choose. In the majority of cases employers offer employees a choice of what days to work from home.
The most popular hybrid model is a 50/50 approach, well, technically 60/40. Two or three days in the office and the option to work remotely during the remaining weekdays
Hybrid offers the ideal solution to many businesses allowing them to combat the pros and cons of working from home well. Research supports this as a survey by consulting firm Accenture found that 83% of respondents reported the ideal working environment as a hybrid workplace model.
Offering employees a place to work in case of personal technology meltdowns and an opportunity to collaborate in person as a team. Some organisations even offer employees who do not live locally the option to work in the office once a week or a couple of odd days a month.
Are you able to work from home? Are you hybrid, fully remote or full-time in the office? Let us know over on our socials.