Over the last year, with the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic, huge numbers or people have been forced to work from home. This has been unprecedented times however as we have become accustomed to the current situation, albeit begrudgingly, in many cases we have failed to realise exactly what the advantages of working from home are. In this article I just want to detail a few of the advantages of working from home that we maybe have taken for granted, or, not even realised as an advantage. I do this as I feel there has been so much press given to the negative aspects of working from home. I’ll split this into two sections as I think that although I will concentrate on the benefits from the employee’s perspective I will also highlight advantages that the employer will have as well.
For The Employee
1) What works best for you……………..
You know the type of office you currently work in, it may be brand new or it may be a bit run down. You may work in an open-plan office with a heap of people you like or perhaps, you don’t care for any of them at all. The person next to you is allergic to plants or is maybe one of these OCD people who don’t like clutter ANYWHERE near them. They might be a bit older and don’t appreciate the finer tones of Stormzy or Yungblood!
What I’m trying to say is that if you’re in your own space at home, you can decide. You can decide to be surrounded by plants (which incidentally are very good for you – see THIS!) – you can decide to put on your favourite playlist (again the advantages of music are many – see THIS!) – and you can decide whether the desk is as clear as it can be or is as cluttered as Colombo’s (I am making an assumption that his desk is going to be pretty cluttered!). These decisions are yours to make and that will encourage you to work at your best and enjoy the experience more than you would stuck in the office at work.
2) Well that’s an Hour I’m Never Getting Back……….
I’m being conservative but I personally – at the very least – spent an hour a day driving backwards and forwards to work. That was at least 30 – 40 minutes on the drive there, sometimes during winter, you would have to get up earlier as you knew the roads would be bad, and you would have to scrape the windscreen. At night, it would be the same, if not longer, due to rush hour with everyone else driving home. The concentration of the drive, the constant stop start of the traffic, the dark nights and dark mornings – the rain – the cold. Yes, I have never been a fan of the commute and I was one of the lucky ones who could drive straight there and back. I didn’t have to wait on a bus or a train or an underground to get me there and back, never had to cram into the bus or train with heaps of strangers. Never had to then get to my car and then drive some more – lets face it, the commute was a horrible necessity which was pointless and purely based on the archaic principle that your boss needed to see you in the office to know you were working.
Even the preparation required to commute ate into your day. You would need to get up, get washed and dressed and then maybe rush some breakfast or grab a bit of toast on the way out of the door. When I think that now I can get up a good 50 minutes later than I used to, getting a good thirty minutes more sleep in the morning, get up, go switch on my computer, nip downstairs, grab a coffee and something healthy and be back at my desk before my start time, it’s brilliant and I haven’t even mentioned ANY of the environmental benefits from not commuting every day either!
Remember those days when you had to check to make sure your boss was in a good mood before asking if you could leave early as the plumber was coming as you hadn’t had hot water all weekend? One wrong word, or you had caught them in a bad time and it would be a phone call to postpone the plumber!
Working from home is just much more flexible, the employee is at an advantage as they already at home. Your boss is much more understanding if you might be away from your desk for ten minutes as you sort the plumber out to show him what the problem is than the two hours you would ordinarily have had to take off to get home in time for their appearance (I’m assuming they all turn up bang on time as well, they do, don’t they?)
Or how about that parcel you have been waiting on for a week, if you’d been at work then you would have had to have it redirected or left with a neighbour but if you’re in anyway, it’s no problem at all.
I no longer have a Sunday which is mainly spent just doing laundry and the other chores which have built up over the course of the week, and not just as I’m not wearing shirts at work these days. If I have completed a task at work or I need a screen break then it’s just enough time to get a load of laundry on, fill up / empty the dishwasher before getting back to the screen.
For me anyway these are the three main reasons that working from home is the way forward. Now whether employers decide that they want the work from home mantra to continue once the threat from the pandemic is over or not, I don’t know, but I know that the vast majority of people don’t want to return to 100% office based and even if we go back to the office 50% of the time we will still have 50% of these advantages to look forward to, fingers crossed.
For The Employers……..
Speaking of the Employers though, what would be the main advantages for them for their employees working from home?
1) Reduction in bills.
Costs are always the main factor for employers; how much will this cost? How much can we save doing it differently? Well, I am sure that a lot of employers have noticed big reductions in costs over the last few months with everyone working from home. Heating bills for a start, electricity bills, office supplies will all have been much lower over the last few months.
If companies are thinking longer term now they may be considering reducing the amount of office space they are committed to, this would see further reductions in costs due to lower rents, lower business taxes etc. Even if they decide to bring people back to the office 50% of the time, then releasing half of the desk space would be a huge saving on the amount of space required.
2) Easy does it
As they will have figured out by now, the move to remote working was easier than they thought AND that the employees are, by and large, probably more productive and spending longer being productive than previously. I would anticipate than the number of meetings has decreased somewhat over the last few months. In addition, meetings used to be something that you would have to go along to, whereas now, if you are attending a meeting (especially one which doesn’t require your full attention) you can be getting on with answering emails or working away while listening in on the latest updates on what other departments are up to!
3) Best of the Class
Another, maybe less obvious benefit of having your employees working remotely is, from an employers point of view is that there is no longer a physical boundary for employees. Up until now, when you were interviewing for people, there would have been a physical “barrier” – say your main office is in Paris, then you wouldn’t have considered hiring someone from London as the commute would have been ridiculous, but now………. Therefore, the opportunity to employ the best candidate became greater as the available pool became global, within reason.
So, that’s just a quick run down of the main benefits of working from home. I really do believe that working from home will become much more accepted now, from both an employees and from an employers point of view. It has been a long time coming, but we have finally reached the virtual office – it’s taken a pandemic but it’s here. What happens now is going to be interesting.
I hope you enjoyed my article on the positive benefits of working from home. I hope that if you are working from home that you are enjoying the experience but I would love to hear what you think. Please let me know below in the comments and I’ll get back to you.
Wherever you’re working, take care,