Working from home is becoming more popular in the UK, with 4.2 million Brits now choosing to stay at home with their work.
Remote working, or working from home, is a growing trend in the UK, with 13.9% of the population skipping the daily commute to the office in favour of working remotely from the comfort of their own home. This trend is by no means limited to UK borders: 20% of Americans already work from home and this is expected to increase by 63% in the next few years.
Working from home allows employees to work flexibly and gives them a better work-life balance. Employees who work remotely have greater freedom over their working hours and waste less time on commuting. They are also more productive workers: a study by Stanford University showed that home-based employees were 13% more productive than their colleagues based at the office, as they enjoy a calmer working environment and take fewer days off due to illness. Companies can also benefit from employees who work at home, as they take up less office space and thereby reduce facility costs and expenses.
New technology has made remote working a real possibility for office workers, as all you need is a good wireless internet connection to effectively communicate with your employer. Yet in 2013 Yahoo banned its employees from working remotely, stating that face-to-face communication is needed to maintain high quality work, despite the fact that remote working helps boost morale.
The Reality of Working From Home
Many consider working from home to be a dream, but research undertaken by the London Business School and the University of California has shown that working from home could actually damage your career. Employers can easily forget workers, who are home-based, as they do not see them in the office as much as regular employees – this can have an adverse effect on promotion and pay rise opportunities.
Additionally, many employees, who work from home, often work overtime, to avoid being perceived as a “slacker” or “skiver”. It’s certainly true that working from home requires a different mind-set, strong will and excellent organisational skills, as remote working is generally based on performance, rather than hours and attendance.
Companies can take simple steps to make working from home more attractive to employees, such as setting up clear channels of communication so that home-based workers will not be forgotten, and setting employees up with the right equipment so that they can efficiently and successfully work from home.