Before the days of the internet, going to work meant sitting in an office 9-5 to use a computer and a telephone that couldn’t be moved from the desk. Nowadays, thanks to the power of online communications, staff have the freedom and flexibility to work just as effectively away from the office.
With increasing numbers of people working productively each day from home or in coffee shops, is a traditional office working a thing of the past? Richard Branson has said that offices are out-of-date environments and many would agree with him. But is an internet connection all that is needed to produce successful individuals and give them satisfying and rewarding careers?
The benefits of non-office working are definitely apparent. Removing a daily commute to the office saves time and money, enabling employees to spend more time with their families and leads to a much healthier work-life balance. Plus fewer commuters on the roads and trains has obvious environmental benefits too.
Recent research also suggests that home working is more productive. Without co-workers to chat to or a lengthy commute, employees actually work more productively and for longer hours from home. And with less sick days, all these factors contribute to a greater sense of employee satisfaction and could increase the output of any business.
However, it’s worth noting the concerns about home working. With no fellow workers to talk to and socialise with, home working can be lonely and may in time, affect face to face communication skills. Also, with performance judged on results instead of merely turning up at the office each day, it could ultimately place more stress on workers and lead to staff feeling they must work longer hours.
Our professional view is that, whilst there are clear advantages to home working, an equal split between being based at home and in the office would be the ideal solution for a business considering the idea. This approach combines the flexibility and work-life balance of home with the day to day social interaction in an office that is so important to the happiness and satisfaction of a working individual.