Since the financial crisis of 2007 and the insecurity in the job market, there has been an increase in small businesses and start up’s. Up and down the country people are working on their little businesses, ploughing away on their ideas and vision every day.
The main place they are doing this is in their own homes. They have helped drive us towards the idea of working at home as a successful venture for many businesses to adopt. More and more staff, for whatever size business, are spending their working days at home with nothing more than a laptop and mobile.
But what are the benefits of homeworking for yourself and your business?
Homeworking has always had a place in society for many years, especially in certain industries such as sales people and creatives. However, now with better technology, greater internet access and more start up’s, working at home is the norm for many people across the UK in 2016.
Save money on office space
This is particularly useful for a newly established business with only one or two people in it. If there are only a couple of people in your business, there usually isn’t much need for an office. In this situation, working from home, or public spaces that offer free Wi-Fi, is probably a viable option for the business.
This is unless you need to have a High Street presence or see customers and in that instance, you could look into renting desks/office space on an ad-hoc basis. It will save you a great deal of money on rent which can be invested in the business to grow and develop.
It gets rid of the long commute
Many employees regularly spend more than an hour commuting to work in a morning. It is great to be able to have a job close to where you live but it is not possible for many who have to travel across their city or to another city for their job. Many people love their jobs but hate the long commute that comes with it, as a result many employers offer their staff the opportunity to work at home.
This can either be full time or 3 days at home, 2 days in the office; regardless this arrangement can be beneficial to workers. The less time they spend commuting, the more time and effort they can put into their work. They will be more refreshed, it will reduce their carbon footprint and they will be more productive on a day to day basis.
Gives staff the opportunity to achieve a work/life balance
There is always a lot of talk surrounding the work/life balance and how difficult it can be to achieve. Staying at home and getting rid of long commutes gives staff the opportunity to spend more time with their family and have longer evenings spent as they please.
This is something that will be particularly beneficial to parents who try to juggle childcare, working and their own lives every day. Many mothers and fathers work from home in order to maintain a good salary, save money on childcare and spend more time with their children and each other.
By achieving a better work life balance where people can see friends and family more and spend time relaxing, it increases staff motivation and productivity. As we all know happy staff are productive staff.
There are no restrictions on where you can work
This is something that is particularly beneficial for business owners and creative start up’s. When you own or have just started running a business, you will naturally spend a lot of time working on it.
Having the ability and option to work when you want and wherever you want is a great advantage to business owners up and down the country.
You can deal with problems, work on ideas and hit deadlines much more easily and efficiently by having the freedom that homeworking brings.
However, working at home can cause problems for some businesses and some employees. It is not always a good thing and the drawbacks of it should be taken into account by employers.
It can be isolating and lonely
Working at home can be a real problem for some as they become quite lonely being at home, usually on their own all day. There is no one available to talk to while you work and there is no one to talk to about any problems that arise.
This leads to a lack of friendships as work socials are a lot less likely. As well as, the unreliability of phone and email communications between staff members which can break down, making it difficult to get in touch with people when needed.
Impact on people’s life out of work
Working at home can impact on some people’s personal lives. As I mentioned earlier, homeworking can help the work/life balance for some but can harm it for others. Some people like to leave their work in the office and by having work mobiles or laptops at home, it lets their work intrude into their personal life. It is personal preference but this is something that should always be discussed with an employee before implementing this way of working.
It can be harder to monitor performance and productivity
When people are working at home it can be difficult to keep an eye on their productivity levels and to communicate with them on a regular basis. This is something that can be especially true in bigger businesses where reports can get lost and communication can become confused. As a result of this, it can be difficult to measure exactly how projects are going and how well the company is doing as a whole.
Working at home is fast becoming a viable option for many employees and business owners in the UK. It really is easy to see why with the list of benefits associated with it.
However, as with everything, there are some disadvantages that could affect your business or staff morale. It is best to weigh up the pros and cons of homeworking if this is something you are thinking about implementing in your business.