Striking a work/life balance is particularly important these days. Potential employees are now looking for flexible work as a part of their job. However, many employers are reluctant to offer flexible working because they are afraid that they will not be able to control their employees. After all, it is not always clear whether the employee is working the agreed hours when they’re working from home. This is when trust becomes important; a principle which is alien to many managers.
If properly managed, companies should invest in online tools that their employees can use when working from home to better align the interests of the employees and the business. If employees do work from home, they should be able to work outside their allocated working hours according to their own rhythm. Some people are more productive late in the evening whereas some may get the majority of their work done early in the morning. When no longer subject to following the prescribed working hours, many people will work more efficiently and deliver better results. And, satisfied employees usually remain loyal to their employer.
Security vs comfort
If an employee does work from home, they must stay on top of their hours and ensure they go into the office when necessary (i.e. for company meetings). An employee working from home also determines whether and to what extent the employer should get involved in the costs for the employee’s home office. The employer cannot always control what the employees home office looks like or what technology they should have, but they could provide some solutions to help them stay connected. It is also important to keep a good record of what your employer covers and what they don’t, in case of any unexpected issues.
But are you productive when you work from home? A survey conducted by Stanford University indicated that employees working from home are on average nine percent more productive than in the office. However, a survey conducted by employment firm TINYpulse found that, 91% of survey respondents felt they were more productive when they worked in the office. It is clear that it completely depends on the employee and where they feel they work best – so working from home won’t be everyone’s desire.
Bring the technology home
In the age of globalisation and digitisation, employers cannot afford to give all their employees the opportunity to work from home, instead, they should make the company’s working environment as dynamic as possible. Companies that cannot allow working from home should try to make the office as appealing as possible, with modern decor and co-working spaces. For many businesses, having employees work from home is favourable since you do not have to make room for them or have large offices, and the one-time costs of supporting and setting up a home office are far less than paying rent on a large office space.
That said, managers should offer their employees the ability to come into the office whenever necessary. This gives employees the freedom to decide whether they would be more productive in the office or if they need to work from home due to issues with transport or other problems.
Flexible work doesn’t have to just mean working from home. Every employee has different needs and wants – but having the option to have flexible hours, work constantly at home, or even just some of the time at home, can help broaden the pool of workers available to you and help with your overall employee satisfaction.