Working from Home, Is this the future?
Working from home. Fieldmotion field services software gives you the flexibility
Should businesses allow their employees to work from home?
The advancement of modern technology and its position in the workplace has for a few years now sparked the debate of whether it would be functional, profitable, or even wise to allow employees to work from home. If your company has more than one office or branch in more than one city, thinking about allowing employees to work from home may be a very beneficial option both financially and logistically.
Like with any proposition, there are definite pros and cons. Firstly, companies need to consider whether the necessary requirements are in place to make this a viable option.
The first precondition to consider is adequate connectivity between the main office and the employee at home. This would include a stable telephone line (particularly if the employee is working in a customer service or telesales role) and a quality computer and Internet connection. A thing that definitely needs to be secured is the connection to the company network that would enable the employee to access the necessary company resources, intranet and e-mail, but which would also allow you as an employer to control the productivity and quality of their work.
The possible benefits of allowing your employees to work from home can be quite persuasive:
– There is a possibility of definite financial savings on office space, resources and commuting to work.
– More flexible hours can accommodate both work and family responsibilities.
– Work at home can provide a more comfortable and peaceful environment.
– Since employees can work longer with fewer interruptions, it can lead to higher productivity.
– Working from home can lead to your employees being more motivated and more loyal.
– It can raise the reputation of your enterprise as being family friendly and socially responsible.
– There is a good chance you will have fewer situations to deal with stressed employees.
As with any argument there are also the possible downsides. Here are some considerations in that respect to keep in mind:
– There is the risk of possible distractions, like children that have to be taken care of, or lack of will to do office work in a home environment.
– There is a collaborative element involved in office work. Employees working from home will have less opportunities to interact with others that they are supposed to work with, and that can particularly impact joint tasks.
– Of course there are also employees who need more supervision or who are just starting out and would need to spend more time at the office under the supervision of management.
– Lack of direct communication, both between you and your employees, the employees themselves, as well as your business customers. This is particularly important if the essence of your business involves direct communication with customers.
– There is always confidential information to safeguard, even if it is only personnel files. You would need to set up steps to safeguard confidential and sensitive information, particularly if your company e-mail and intranet data is to be available outside office network.
There are obviously many arguments for and against allowing your employees to work from home. Before making a decision it may be best to look at the structure of the business and see if it is viable option for any particular department or area. For example it may make more sense for field based sales agents to work from home given that they may have to travel great distances to visit prospective customers. If they cover a particular area of the country then it would make more sense for them to be based from home rather than having to ‘clock in’ at the office each morning. In this case it would only be necessary for them to visit the office once a month to give a report on progress or sales pipeline. If the company used a Field Services Software solution such as FIELDMOTION, they could receive up to date information in real time from their employees at any time.
A wise course of action may be to run a test program. Not only to see how the employees are adapting to such a situation, but also to see how all the technical elements such as data security is operating. Also bear in mind that as an employer you would still be responsible for all safety regulations, even at the employee’s home and that includes, electrical equipment safety, workstation assessment, lighting levels and other health & safety considerations.
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