Working From Home – Advantages & Disadvantages

by securedatamgt | 04 Jun 2014

Enterprise Company

Many employees today are discovering the advantages of working from home, also known as teleworking and remote working.  Not surprisingly, the number of those working from home is increasing in the UK as employees seek to achieve a better life-work balance.  Teleworking is becoming more accessible as an estimated 59% of employers now offer it.

The Advantages of Teleworking:

Improved Productivity

Employees who work from home often find that without the distraction of fellow employees they are able to get considerably more done.  A home environment is likely to be less stressful and is also unquestionably going to be quieter. Without the interruptions of office routine an employee is likely to be more productive.

Environmentally Friendly

Whilst not commuting to work is a benefit in many ways it also minimizes you carbon footprint.  Working from home gives you greater control over your office waste and as an individual you might find it far easier to make the move towards a greener workplace.

Flexibility

Working from home enables you to have a far more flexible work schedule. Employees might find doing their best work in the traditional 9 to 5 day exacerbating and could be better suited working late at night or early in the morning. This flexibility can also give employees more time to be around their families, for employees with young children this is particularly valuable.

Despite these advantages, 4.5 million employees in the UK who want to work at home are not permitted to do so by their employers. Teleworking can result in mutual benefits for both employee and employer:

Cost Effective

One could save money on every day running costs and office space by sending employees home. Every year BT is able to save £2.2 million by encouraging teleworking.

Recruitment

An office which offers teleworking is able to expand its recruiting pool drastically. It means a company has access to the best employees in the field, not just those who happen to live close by. Teleworking has been proven to improve employee retention as employees are less likely to be sick and in want of time off.

Improved Service

Employees at home are able to contact clients at more flexible hours which might improve a company’s reputation in a competitive market. In terms of sales, having employees out in the field might prove more efficient as some employees are going to be situated close to clients.

Morale

By allowing your employees to work at home you are putting your trust in their abilities. As opposed to micro managing able employees, you are giving them flexibility and confidence in their own work which will improve morale.

How to Overcome the Challenges of Teleworking

In 2013, Yahoo CEO Melissa Mayer made the decision to terminate Yahoo’s flexible teleworking policy. Mayer defended her decision stating:

“To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”

Communication undoubtedly is a worry for any employer debating the shift to teleworking. Employees scattered in different locations is hardly convenient for the running of daily meetings and brainstorming sessions.

How can an employer make sure that his remote employees are working to the best of their ability? How are ideas and information going to be communicated? How are documents and files going to be organised and tracked?

Accessible Data

Having data that is easily accessible is an important step towards ensuring that your remote employees are able to get hold of information.  Online document management software allows your employees to access data on the go or from home. Scanning your documents and transferring them into digital copies is an effective method of making your company’s documents more accessible.

A Record Management Facility

Sending your employees home might seem like an administrative nightmare but by outsourcing your documents you can minimize confusion when it come to the organisation of your company’s files.

Fears of employees taking documents home and then misplacing them are justified. However, outsourcing your documents to a record management facility means that your company files can be indexed and tracked whilst access to confidential files can be restricted.

Employees working from home might similarly be disconcerted by the prospect of mountains of paper piling up around their homes. A professional record management facility can provide document storage space for any individual’s requirements. Secure Data Management offer ‘easy storage’ choices for clients who have minimal document archiving needs.

To learn more about how a professional Record Management provider could improve your work flow and efficiency, check out this post: What to expect from a competitive Storage Company

Communication

With modern technology remote communication is easily achievable. Most companies have heard of Skype but not as many would have heard of the up and coming Sqwiggle.  This programme uses a webcam to take stills every so often of employees at their desks and to communicate amongst each other you can use the chat feed.

Managers can see whether their employees are at their desks or not without having to constantly use video chats and interrupt them from their work.

Working from home is no longer the mystery it once was for employers and employees. The challenges of working from home have been experience first-hand. These challenges are now being tackled head on by technological advancement; teleworking is no longer the secluded and risky venture it was once assumed to be.