Advantages Saves time, can increase effectiveness and is much more flexible than office working
Disadvantages Doesn't suite everyone, can be isolating
Working from home' is one of those phrases that means different things to different people. Full-time office workers may enjoy the balance of a day or two working from home, essentially completing stuff that they would have done in the office without the actual commute. You can, of course, do that on a full-time basis and many businesses are now trying to get their permanent employees out of the office to save costs. Other people see working from home as running a business from home, full-time. For the purposes of this review, I'm really talking about the former as my experience of the latter is a little one-dimensional and doesn't really explore the complexities of actually running a full business (with stock and so on) from home.
With the ever-so trendy phrase 'work/life balance' resonating in our ears, everybody these days seems to be looking to working from home to save their lives. Employees like it because it gives them flexibility in their schedules and offers great savings on commuting time and costs. In theory, it's supposed to put them in with their families more often and should allow them to be more effective. Employers increasingly love the idea because it helps reduce the overheads of permanent office accommodation. Business are now starting to downsize their permanent office accommodation by looking at the overall utilisation of office space and reducing the number of permanent desks that they hold. By the time that you've forked out for new office furniture for somebody working from home, you might wonder how businesses actually save any money but over the longer term, you'd probably be shocked by how much can be saved by farming people out to home.Back in the days when I managed people (shudder) I would permanently get requests from individuals to work from home. After I had moved on, the company I worked for introduced a policy, whereby all requests were to be reasonably considered and managers had to come up with substantial reasons to say no. This was partly due to the perceived unfairness in the existing decision-making process, where some managers would say yes to everyone and some would obstinately say no to everyone.
I had (and still have) mixed views about encouraging working from home across the board. This arrangement doesn't suit everyone and I think that managers should be encouraged to reflect upon the skills and personalities of their team members before granting these requests. I'd question, for example, whether some people are going to be as effective at home judging by the amount of supervision that they seem to require in the office. I also strongly object to the use of 'working from home' as a means of balancing child-care responsibilities.
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