Employer Concerns with Working from Home

April 16, 2011

Is the home environment a productive place to work?

Despite many employers embracing the concept of working from home, there are many others who still struggle to justify that the home environment can be a productive place to perform work.

Not every role can be done from home, nor does this work well for all staff.

Common Concerns Why Employers Hesitate With Working From Home:

~ That work will not get done at all or as fast
~ That Managers won’t be able to keep a close eye on them
~ That they won’t be easily contactable by their colleagues
~ That once they are set up at home, these arrangements can’t change
~ That they will waste time due to the inability to access company software, hardware and files

Ways for employers to help minimise these concerns regarding working from home.

  • Measurable outputs
    To address a few of the concerns above, there needs to be a great amount of trust in an employee not to abuse the situation.

    Employers need to have confidence that their business outputs are still being delivered.

    One way to help assure this, is the establishment of measurable outputs for your staff.  Managers need to set specific goals that are measurable and within specified time frames to inform staff what is expected of them, so that it is easy to determine if work is being delivered or not.

    This should be the case if the employee is working from home or not.

  • Communication tools
    I have been fortunate to have worked from home occasionally with an employer and what allowed it to work successfully was that my team knew my whereabouts and they could contact me while I wasn’t physically in the office.

    Communication tools available to make this happen include email, instant messenger, Skype and mobile.  Also, organising regular catch-up between Managers and employees through video tools such as Skype, will help both parties to see each other, without having to travel.

  • Flexibility –
    The employer and employee must be flexible with working from home arrangements as there may be requirements on both sides for changes, for example an important meeting on a day you would normally work from home that you’ll need to go into the office.

    Also, working from home arrangements may not be permanent and will depend on the needs of the employer, your role and you.

    Therefore employees must formally address this in writing prior to the employee starting to work from home so that the process and notification periods clearly outlined should they be required to come back to the office.

  • Technology support
    I’m not a technical expert, but there are ways that your IT departments can set up your staff to work from home and gain access to all of the necessary IT requirements as the employee would have in the work environment.

Whether you are an employer or employee, working from home can result in many benefits, such as no travel time for staff, reduced pollution and reduced office space expenses.

It is important to acknowledge that some people aren’t as productive working from home and need the office environment to stay focused, whereas others would prefer and thrive working in this environment.

It’s therefore important to assess on a case by case basis and trial these arrangements out to see if it works for all parties concerned.

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