They say when times get tough, the tough get going. And Covid-19 has certainly introduced tough times. For those already working from home, the effects are perhaps not felt as badly as those who are used to the bustle of an office environment and who now find themselves suddenly thrust into working from home. Sometimes that cosy situation may take a little getting used to. But those who have the discipline and perspicacity to work from home effectively, who understand the rhythm and control of their days, are in for a treat in so many ways.
Benefits come in all shapes and sizes for workers
- You’ll be saving on petrol and avoiding traffic. Sometimes that is a key factor that supersedes any downside. The continuing increase in traffic takes an enormous amount of time out of any worker’s day, time which they could put to good use at home. Not to mention the reduction of stress with regard to commuting in clogged conditions while desperately clock-watching.
- There is less distraction at home such as coffee chats, gossip, endless meetings, your boss micro-managing, and the general noise of people moving around. This helps you to be more productive which is good news for both you and your employer.
- Working from home means spending more time with your family. You’re there in the mornings and there in the evenings – not to mention that you’re less stressed. Engaging with your family more positively is beneficial for all your relationships.
- When working at home you can start and end when you want. That dreaded ‘clocking in’ aspect is gone! If you are a morning person then you can get going right when you get up, maybe at six in the morning (or earlier) with a cup of coffee in your hand, and away you go. Equally, you can end when you want: either a good day’s work under your belt by 2 or 3 in the afternoon – or you can push ahead and do as much as you want even after supper and well into the evening, if that’s when you feel you work better. It’s all your choice.
- There’s that great joy of not having to deal with office politics! That is probably one of the greatest causes of distrust, unhappiness and time wasting than any other aspect of office work. There is always someone in your office who has a complaint, a dislike, an axe to grind – and those who form ‘clicks’ from which others are barred. At home you have your own pace, your own time, and your own loved ones around, including the furry members of your family. Far more comforting than the unsettling drama of the office.
- There’s no doubt that working from home is much cheaper. There’s a saving of petrol or transport fees, but more importantly, you aren’t constantly buying snacks and sweets, or consuming on-the-hoof lunches, or using the lunch hour to prowl the shops. You can definitely save tremendously while working at home.
- That brings the focus on workwear to the fore. You won’t be spending so much money on that, for sure. Working from home means you can literally work in your pyjamas – although that is not recommended. Even so, you don’t have to buy expensive suits for office meetings, or ensure that you appear in something different every day. Home is relaxed, there’s no formality.
- The best secret of all with regard to working from home, is that you can work from anywhere. With modern laptops you can work in a coffee shop, a café by the sea, on the beach, in a park under a tree, and so on. You could even travel the world while you’re working! There’s no boss telling you what to do and how to do it.
- Working from home is good for the environment because you’re not adding to pollution with a car commute, your carbon footprint is much less. With more people at home, the environment benefits from cleaner air, less dust and dirt.
- When you’re on your own at home you become more independent. You don’t have the benefit of colleagues a desk away to answer your questions, you have to find information for yourself, and make your own decisions. You learn to think for yourself and build self-esteem in the process.
The benefits for employers
- Hire top talent with no geographic limits! Many good workers may want to take up an offer of a job merely because it will mean they can work at home. Some may leap at the offer with no demands for an increase in pay.
- Today, with video conferencing and all the mod-cons of communication, you can have your staff anywhere in the world, run a company with virtual offices all over town. Businesses don’t have to be confined to a composite grouping in an office building, following a strictly 9 to 5 routine – a business today can be a network of professionals working at their own time and pace and producing possibly a higher standard of work than if forced to comply with ‘clocking in’ and ‘clocking out’.
- Greater productivity is the key that really drives the work-from-home office. Many employers today are more casual in approach. Workers are given greater responsibility for their work and time. Some workers don’t even want the constrictions of benefits packages – they prefer a full salary and the choices of selecting and controlling their own benefits programme, which leaves less responsibility and time and work on the employer’s hands.
- The biggest problem for managers and business leaders to overcome with regard to their staff working from home, is lack of trust. They tend to assume that because their role is essentially a controlling one, that the workers at home are not doing their job. If they can’t see the employee working, well then…maybe he or she is not working. The trick is to learn to evaluate a job through measurable outcomes rather than physically witnessing an individual at work.
- Having a number of employees working from home usually proves cost effective for your business. It means less money spent on office space and rental, parking bays, desks, stationery, tea and coffee, etc.
In essence, working from home requires discipline, it tends to sort the wood from the chaff. There are some people who will never be happy working from home because they will miss the connection of colleagues and the general busyness of a workplace. But for those who understand the value of time, of family, of peace and quiet – and the joy of making their own choices – working from home will prove both productive and valuable. These are the people whom employers who desire to make their virtual business successful will actively seek. When this Covid-19 virus is finally done, this may be the way of working we will all prefer – and the world of work may change forever!