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Working from home

Working from home

Posted on 1/09/2016 by Charlene Bennett

Home work space

Would you rather have the flexibility of working from home, than get a pay rise?

Interestingly, the latest research by the Institute of Inertia, released for British ‘National Work From Home Day’, has found that over 7 million Brits would rather work from home for one day a week than get a pay rise.

That’s nearly a quarter (24% or 7.5m) of British workers would rather have a planned and regular day for working from home than receive an annual pay rise.

The research also found that 7m British workers admit to suffering from ‘procrastination or inertia issues’ when working in an office.

Does this ring true for you or do you hear this from your employees?

The study by the Institute of Inertia, was in partnership between comparethemarket.com and the University of Sheffield. They found that 48% of workers are happier when they can work from home and nearly a third (32%) of British workers ‘feel more productive’ when they do so.

We know through a vast array of research that striking a heathy work/life balance is hugely important for employee health and wellbeing. Does regular working from home opportunities help to deliver this? And if employees are actually more productive when they work from home, this is a win win.

The research reported that the top five reasons for better productivity for home working are: 

  • Fewer interruptions - 66%
  • Ability to structure their day to suit their needs – 64%
  • Flexibility of working hours – 56%
  • More control of their ‘to do’ list – 35%
  • Fewer meetings – 33%

Does your company have the option for people to work from home? Would it be possible and do you think it would be of benefit for the business and for the employee?

In the past, employers may have seen working from home as a bit of a 'skive'. But with technology as it is now and people being able to work remotely and still have access to shared files, emails, intranets and the internet. If people are actually able to be more productive when working from home, why wouldn’t businesses encourage it, or at least trial it?

Despite all this technology at our finger tips, the Institute of Inertia study found that almost half (48%) of British workers never work from home, even though 60% would if their employer gave them the option.

The study also revealed that home working is ‘more productive’ for older workers, with nearly three quarters (73%) of 45+ year olds being more productive at home, compared to 30% for 18-24 year olds. Over 45’s also reported feeling ‘more in control of their workload’ (74%), ‘less stressed’ (65%) and ‘generally happier’ (77%) when working from home.

Do people end up doing their washing and watching TV? 

The Institute of Inertia says that employers will be relieved that their survey found that only one in eight (12.5%) women and 11% of men admitted to ‘doing as little as I can get away with’ when home working. More women (8.77%) than men (4.60%) confessed to working from their bed, and one in six (17.57%) of Brits ‘never get dressed’ when working from home.

And actually, does it matter if people are working from their beds in their pyjamas, if they are being more productive than if they were in the office fully clothed?

When it comes to effective home working, the survey found that access to high-speed broadband (66.5%), is now the most ‘essential technology’.

Dr Thomas Webb, social psychologist at the Institute of Inertia, said, “Working from home not only allows workers to embrace a healthier work-life balance but also gives them the opportunity to focus on the tasks at hand, rather than be distracted by meetings and everyday office life. It also makes employees feel trusted and valued by their bosses leading to higher retention levels.”

Simon McCulloch, director of insurance at comparethemarket.com, commented, “We have a flexible working policy at comparethemarket.com and so we've seen first-hand the boost to productivity and engagement that can come as a result of this approach. Flexible work shows that our employees are a recognised and trusted part of the business – meaning happier staff that stay longer.”

Phil Flaxton, chief executive of Work Wise UK, added, “Work is something you do, not somewhere you go, and adopting a flexible culture has been proven to cut down on wasted time and cost. Many British companies are now looking to recruit and retain staff by offering flexible work options. Furthermore, the rise of technology, such as broadband, cloud computing, instant messaging and handheld devices means working from home is more productive than ever and very easy to implement.”

The types of roles you or your employees do on a daily basis in the office, can often dictate if they would be able to work from home. For many marketing, creative, sales and project based roles, it could certainly be a great idea. Being able to talk aloud when writing documents can be a real help and not something people always want to do in an office environment.

And for all those minutes spent catching up with other employees in the office, chatting over the coffee run, joining in group conversations, walking or driving to grab lunch etc, they are the minutes you get back when you work from home to be able to pop a load of washing in the machine, whilst ticking off more items from your work to do list than if you were in the office.

Another knock on effect of having regular working from home opportunities within our business, is the positive impact it has on your recruitment strategy.  A prospective employee will see you as a business who trusts and empowers its workforce.

Something to have a think about.