Guest Blog Should You Let Your Staff Work From Home?

Monday August 31, 2015

undefinedHave you ever thought about letting your staff work from home? You’re certainly not alone. Recent research from Trade Union Congress suggests that one in seven people are now carrying out their roles from the comfort of their own surroundings.

There’s a tendency to think that working from home is all about not getting out of bed until midday and sitting around in pyjamas, not particularly doing a great deal. It’s time to step away from this school of thought though, because the business case for promoting this type of working arrangement is strong. Want engaged, productive staff who are happy and motivated? Then it’s time to start thinking about whether this could work for you.

Before announcing that everyone’s free to work from wherever they please though, it’s sensible to think about the wider issues that could be at play. In this guide, we take a look at the considerations that need to be made.

Is it operationally realistic?

First of all, you need to establish whether it would be realistic to allow certain roles within your business to be carried out from home. If you have staff who are customer facing in a physical store, for example, it’s pretty clear to see that you need them right there in the designated workplace.

You’ll also need to think about how many people you want to have on your premises at any given time. If you find that you’re the only person there for the vast majority of the time, you could run into problems. Be aware of practical everyday issues such as who’s going to answer the phones!

Do you have the systems and infrastructure to support it?

Bringing in a working from home policy is likely to prove to be a managerial challenge. You’ve probably already honed the processes and procedures that you use day to day, but we’re now dealing with a different kettle of fish entirely.

Communication is a big issue here. How will you ensure that all members of staff are up to date with key priorities? How will your managers manage productivity, and pinpoint any problems that could appear? Will there be any issues around the confidentiality of information that’s used for certain roles? New systems may be essential if you want to roll out home working successfully.

How will you ensure that employees maintain a good work-life balance?

According to a report from ACAS, staff who are working from home are likely to end up working much longer hours. The distinction between home and work becomes blurred, and it can be harder to switch off. You might think that this is a good thing, but this isn’t necessarily the case.

There are solutions to this though. Welcome feedback from your staff on these matters, and communicate best practice. You might encourage all work laptops to be turned off every evening before 7pm, for example. This way, workers are much more likely to be refreshed and motivated the following day.

It’s absolutely essential that you consider these key areas to help you to assess whether working from home might be something that you could introduce in your business. Doing the groundwork will pave the way for practices that drive the company forward and also meet the needs of your employees.

Before making any big decisions either way, make sure that you carefully assess both the benefits and risks for your business. Need help with creating your policies, and want to ensure that you get everything right first time? We can assist! Get in touch today for a chat to discuss how we might be able to work together to ensure that working from home practices are rolled out effectively.

About Dakota Blue HR Consulting

Jackie Brooker, Managing Director of Dakota Blue Consulting, is an experienced HR professional covering all aspects of attracting, recruiting, managing, rewarding, training, developing, engaging and exiting the right people for your business. She is known for taking the wealth of knowledge learnt in complex global organisations and communicating this with a down to earth, practical approach to help organisations get the best from their employees right from the start.

Talk to Jackie on Twitter @dakotabluehr

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