Working from home: does one size fit all?
If you are considering introducing working from home arrangements into your workplace, or if you want to start this conversation with your employer, keep in mind that every workplace is different and what works for one, won’t work for everyone.
It is becoming more prevalent for businesses to offer employees the ability to work from home.
A recent study by the International Workplace Group found that almost 50 per cent of Australian employees work remotely for half of the week and more than 66 per cent work remotely one day a week.
However, even though it is an attractive and exciting concept, businesses need to consider whether or not their employees will benefit from working from home.
Most employees require balance between being in the workplace and working from home to reap the full benefits.
This is crucial to avoid negative consequences such as isolation, and disconnection with your business and people, which can lead to poor morale.
Our working from home arrangements at Osborn Law are developed individually with each employee to ensure everyone benefits.
The idea originated from a need to free up office space due to business growth, but has grown into much more with rewarding results both in terms of productivity and employee satisfaction.
We have found the key drivers that make working from home arrangements successful are flexibility and connectivity. Get these two pillars right and there can be considerable benefits for the business and employees alike.
As an employee given the opportunity to work from home one day every week, I have found there are numerous personal benefits which also benefit my employer.
I find my working from home day to be my most productive due to less interruptions. I am not alone on this either with more than 50 per cent of Australian employees who work from home citing this as the main benefit.
Even though the day I work from home is my most productive workwise, it actually feels like I’m having a break from work as I can get on top of things at home.
Like a lot of employees, I was attracted to this arrangement because it represents the highly sought after “work-life balance”.
While this works for me, this isn’t the same for every employee and I have colleagues who find it more distracting.
With that in mind, there are things employees can do to get the most out of their work from home experience including setting up a designated work area and routine, setting clear work hours, and the big one – getting out of the pyjamas.
It is also important to maintain connectivity as numerous studies report that employees can feel isolated due to working remotely.
Implementing technologies (like Microsoft Teams) that can be used both within the office and from home is critical to overcome this and stay connected.
The key is to understand that flexible arrangements are not a one size fits all and you need to determine what works best on an individual level.
Sarah Hovanyecz is a solicitor – commercial and corporate at Osborn Law