With ever increasing overheads, it’s no wonder business owners are starting to see the obvious benefits of at least some of their employees working from home on a regular basis. However, asking your staff to work from home could prove a costly exercise so it’s worth weighing up the pros and cons before you start celebrating the perceived savings.
You will need to give careful consideration to the potential difficulties of managing homeworkers and monitoring their performance. Some people will enjoy working from home and will be all the more productive when they work uninterrupted. Others will find the working from home discipline almost impossible to achieve. You need to think about how you manage and monitor both types of employee because each will have their challenges.
Deterioration in skills and/or work quality
Following on from the previous point about managing employees, it’s important to weigh up the risk of a possible deterioration in the employees’ skills or quality of work which could end up being a significant cost to your business.
Set up costs
Depending on the type of work involved, some employees will not just be able to relocate their desk and carry on as usual working from home. There may be initial costs such as training and providing suitable equipment as well as carrying out individual risk assessments to ensure that the employee has a safe working environment.
Having a workforce who do not often get together in one room can make it a challenge to provide staff development and training opportunities. When planning for people working from home, you need to consider how and where you will carry out such things as reviews, appraisals and training sessions and how you will disseminate information necessary to keep skills up to date.
Security of information
You may already have the technology to allow employees to have remote access to your systems but are you satisfied that the information is as secure as it needs to be? Assess the risk to your business before you implement home working and make sure that you undertake regular reviews of information security.
Cost of telecommunications
It doesn’t have to cost the earth to have good telecommunications between your office and your employees working at home; however, it’s another point to be investigated while weighing up the pros and cons. If staff are always going to call the office from their mobiles, for example, you might be able to negotiate free calls to the office landline as part of your deal from your telecoms provider.
Human beings are social animals and there is a risk that people who routinely work from home will feel isolated and may not communicate effectively with other members of their team and the wider company. The secret to getting the communication right is all about the planning.
Suitability of work
Some roles will be unsuitable for a home environment. Each different type of role in your business should be considered on its merits and the practicalities of having an employee carry out that role from home should be assessed.
Asking employees to work from home may seem like an attractive option to reduce the pressure on physical space in the office and keep the business overheads down. As with any change you plan to introduce into your business, there are two key elements. The first is planning and the second is communication. Consider and plan for every aspect of employees working from home and communicate your plans and the business reasons to the employees concerned.
If you’re considering introducing home working for your staff, give us a call on 01487 815720 to discuss your options and get help with planning for a successful outcome.