Working From Home: Cons
26 July 2017
Recently, we conducted our own HR Consultancy Flexible Working Survey to see how our candidates and clients felt about working from home and remote working policies. Despite an overwhelming response in favour of flexible working, there were some respondents who voiced their opposition to such a prospect.
There were a variety of different reasons given, most notably “I like to keep my work and home life separate”, “I would be easily distracted” or “I would end up doing housework”. Last year, approximately 1.5 million of us across the UK opted to work from home. So, is it really better for you?
Certainly, you’d get to avoid the rush hour commute but studies have shown that working from home can actually damage your career; making employees feel isolated and torn between the blurred boundaries of family and office. The Financial Times suggested that we need to be office based in order to give our work a sense of purpose and meaning.
We can also become distracted; resorting to housework or channel hopping to avoid a difficult or uninteresting task. It’s too easy to switch on the TV, go for a walk or simply catch up on household chores. This, ultimately, can lead to missed deadlines and reduced productivity.
Some of our respondents also said they had no defined space in their home from which they could work. Perhaps putting your laptop on the dining table is impractical, or maybe the idea of taking calls from the couch seems counter-productive. Not sitting in suitable chairs or at appropriate desk height all day can also lead to health problems.
For some of those surveyed, working from home is simply an impossibility, owing to the nature of their work. For example, a HR employee needs to be based in a business, on hand to resolve any issues that may crop up. They would be less effective at their job should they attempt to ameliorate any situations via Skype of phone call. Sometimes, work really does need the personal touch.
There is also information to suggest that working from home is bad for your health. Statistically, those who work from home take less breaks and have their lunch whilst continuing to work. There is also the mental impact of not actually leaving your home all day. You can start to feel confined. The blurred boundaries between family space and work space can also leave many people feeling like they are never truly ‘switched off’ from work, especially if they opt to work outwith the traditional 9 – 5 format.
One respondent to our survey answered with a very strong statement: “It does not work. On paper, it sounds great, but people need managed and access to other human beings in the workplace. At time, it is useful, but unworkable in most cases.” This combines the issue of isolation and perhaps access to specific technology that may be required to do your job. And, yes, without a line manager to offer guidance and structure, some people might be less productive with their time. There simply isn’t enough active management to make working from home truly successful.
How do you feel about offering employees flexible working schedules? Have you tried working from home and are now back in the office? Let us know how you feel about remote working options in the comments section below.
Written By Hilary Roberts