The remote working revolution: should you be a part of it?
The increasing integration of digital devices within the workplace has freed employees from the confines of their office desks. Remote working is now easier than ever; to utilise those hours spent commuting by responding to emails, crafting proposals or catching up on the latest industry news.
In a similar way, mobile devices have also given rise to a new trend: remote working. According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), of the 30.2 million people in work in January to March 2014, 4.2 million were home workers. This figure is the highest on record and equates to 13.9% of the UK’s workforce.
Home working can be useful whether you’re an employee of a company or own a business. But when it comes to the office vs home working debate, there’s no clear winner. If it’s a decision you’re faced with, you need to identify which environment best suits your individual needs. To help you decide, here are some of the pros and cons associated with home working:
Setting-up office in your own home can help you curtail work-related spending. For example, you won’t need to waste money on commuting; bus passes, train tickets, petrol and parking fees can mount to hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds over the course of a year.
If you’re a business owner, working from home means you don’t have to pay for rental of office space, which can save you a significant amount of money. Similarly, you don’t need to fork-out for expensive work clothes and instead of spending £5 in the shops every day, you can make a sandwich in your own kitchen for a fraction of the cost.
Along with the cost-savings, cutting-out the morning and afternoon commute will also save you time and can reduce stress levels.
Flexibility is one of the main reasons people choose to work from home. Home working often enables people to strike a better work-life balance, which can be particularly beneficial for people with family commitments.
According to recent YouGov Omnibus research, 30% of office workers feel that their productivity levels increase when they work from home, with only 17% saying it makes them concentrate less. The more comfortable you feel in your surroundings, the more productive you’re likely to be – you just need to decide if you feel more comfortable at home or in the office.
It’s incredibly easy to be distracted at home; when not under the watchful eye of your boss, you might be tempted to catch up on last night’s television, sort out the washing or aimlessly scroll through Facebook. Just 30 minutes of wasted time each day may not seem like much, but that equates to two and a half hours a week – that’s weeks wasted over the course of a year.
Working on your own all day with no social interaction can be lonely. It also prevents the opportunity for teamwork, which can be highly effective in a number of business scenarios, such as brainstorming and decision-making.
Con: lack of communication
If you’re not in the office working alongside them, it can be difficult to keep communication open and continuous with other employees. Whereas in the workplace you could simply walk up to colleague to ask a question, at home you’ll need to email them and you could be waiting a while for a response.
There’s no simple solution to the office vs home working debate. Everyone’s different in the way they approach their jobs, which means you need to identify which environment best suits your work approach.
If you choose to work from home, your office should be set up in an area away from distractions. It should be a personal yet professional space that promotes productivity – sitting on the sofa with the laptop in front of you is not good enough!
Also, if you use equipment such as laptops, printers and tablets for work, these might not be covered on your standard insurance policy, so you’ll need to acquire additional cover. Lockyers can help you find affordable coverage that best suits your needs.