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Working from home – benefits for the employee

Why work from home? Is this only an option to be considered by employees who have family / lifestyle commitments?

Employers are quickly recognising the need to offer more flexible working options in a candidate driven market. I recruit specifically within residential property where there is a distinct shortage of experienced conveyancers in the marketplace. This is making employers think outside of the box.

According to a home working guide compiled by ACAS in 2014, which included data from the Trades Union Congress and the Office for National Statistics, the number of homeworkers had risen to more than four million. ONS figures showed a steady increase of 1.3 million from 1998 to 4.2million who spent at least half their work time using their home in 2014. More than a third of these homeworkers were employees and this was predicted to increase.

There are benefits / reason to consider a move to a home working role, which include:

• Better work / life balance

• Flexibility to accommodate childcare arrangements

• Saving on travel costs – Not having to pay for daily trips to and from work or parking and to avoid the rising costs of commuting

• Savings in after school fees / childcare costs

• Improved productivity – Many staff working from home tend to find they can get more work done than they would in the office due to not having to waste time and energy having to commute and because they are able to concentrate better at home because there may be fewer interruptions and less noise

• Job satisfaction – Employees may receive less supervisionand have more control over their job

There are considerations for employees to bear in mind when considering home working including:

Suitable workspace – As well as being safe and secure, homeworking space should be free of distractions and you must be able to demonstrate that you have an appropriate area of the house dedicated to work

Flexibility of hours – It is highly likely that an employer will require you to work within core hours to meet business needs and the employee should try to work set hours to keep a clear divide between work and home life

Availability – A homeworker will need to communicate clearly to their line manager, colleagues and clients when they will be contactable for work purposes

Need for on-site attendance – Whilst home working allows the employee flexibility to meet their personal requirements, it is also important to still feel part of the team and catching up on what is happening in the organisation

Equipment and resources – to ensure the employee has sufficient technology / stationary

Possibility of reducing stress – This can depend very much on individual circumstances, such as working from home when the employee has responsibilities caring for a child or elderly relative, or a busy household

Possible impact on a homeworker’s career – Research has indicated that working from home may sometimes reduce promotion prospects because of their lack of presence in the office. This does, of course depend on each individual homeworker – many of whom are particularly motivated and ambitious.

There is the question on whether the jobholder suited to homeworking
Employees and employers should be fully aware that it doesn’t suit everyone. To be successful, employees need to be self motivated with less supervision. Feeling isolated can be a problem and domestic demands can also prove a distraction.

Homeworkers need to be:
Happy to spend long periods on their own
Self-disciplined
Self-motivated
Resilient personality
Confident working without supervision
Able to separate work from home life

A question of balance
It is important for employer and employees to recognise that while homeworkers and office-based staff should all be treated consistently and fairly bearing in mind the above differences

All in all, this can be a great way of working and can open up a range of opportunities to employees who have previously been unable to combine a career with home requirements.

For more information on current home working opportunities within residential property, please contact Nicola O’Hanlon on 0161 819 7465.

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