Couple working from home in a modern apartment

Should your team continue to work from home?

27 July 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses were required to close their premises, either putting their employees on furlough or putting measures in place so that team members could work from home.

Many businesses were surprised to find that their members of staff who were working from home were still able to work effectively. FE News published data showing that post-lockdown, 79% of businesses plan to keep their home workers at home.

To help you decide if you are going to keep your team working from home, we are going to explore both the positive and negative aspects of working from home.

Flexible working

If the type of work that you do doesn’t have strict time constraints, allow your team to work flexibly when it comes to arranging work around their home lives.

Child care and medical appointments are both easier to manage when working life is flexible, and as long as work gets done, starting and finishing times don’t need to be as strict.

Less commuting

It is estimated that the average commute in the UK is 59 minutes; the longest it has ever been. Cutting down on commuting post-COVID-19 will help your members of staff in a variety of different ways.

The average cost of commuting for a UK employee is £146 per month, so by allowing a member of your team to work from home, you will be helping them keep money in their pockets.

Commuting has also been found to lead to health problems, such as musculoskeletal disorders and stress-related illnesses. The longer the distance of commute, the worse health problems can appear. Commuting whilst COVID-19 is still a threat can also expose your team to the virus if they are using public transport, and can cause mental health problems such as anxiety.

Travelling by car or public transport also pumps carbon emissions into the atmosphere, so by encouraging your team to work from home, they will be helping to reduce CO2 emissions.

Employee happiness

Probrand reported that 70% of its surveyed audience said that if a company offered working from home arrangements, it would be a more attractive job prospect.

They also reported that when businesses allow working from home, employee retention rates increased by 10%.  

Communication difficulties

Communication is usually easier with colleagues when in a face to face environment when a conversation can be more about context rather than words being exchanged and body language is visible.

With your team continuing to work from home, good communication could deteriorate over the long term, causing issues at your business.

Social isolation

Many people don’t just see their job as a way of earning money, but a social experience where they can spend time out of their house engaging with different people.

Working together at the business premises helps a team build meaningful relationships with colleagues, leading to stronger cohesion as a team, which is something that is missed out on if people are working from home.

IT Security concerns

Most businesses will provide IT equipment if necessary for the job, with security software and training provided by the business. However, if someone is working from home with their equipment, this can be a security concern if it’s not properly managed.

If members of your team are working from home on equipment that you haven’t provided, you won’t know what kind of cybersecurity software that they have in place. We have previously written an article about the importance of cybersecurity when working from home.

Loss of productivity

Whether or not working from home improves or worsens productivity is subject to debate. Many studies show that working from home can actually improve the productivity of your team, but many people also feel that they work better in an office.

Whilst studies show that some people are more productive at home, we have included it in the negatives because those who are less productive working from home can cause an issue for your business.

When deciding whether or not you are going to keep your team working from home or not, don’t just take a general consensus, and be flexible to the needs of your colleagues, whether they are productive working from home or a business site.

For more information about working from home, take a look at some of our other articles on the topic:

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