An increasing number of workers realize the benefits of working from home: no tedious stressful commuting, no noisy colleagues, pleasant working surroundings, no constant interruptions and a good work/life balance. All an employee needs is a laptop and a mobile phone. After a quick shower and breakfast with the family, the employee is ready to start. Great! From the company’s point of view, working from home results in more relaxed and productive employees.
Here’s an idea: why not let the company just scrap the conventional office completely and cancel the rental contract for the company’s office? After all, most of today’s IT is, or soon will be, in the cloud, and this will save a huge amount regarding operational expenses. Let’s do it, right now!
But stop! Before you decide to go that way, there are a few things you should think about. The first thing a family needs to realize is that when mum or dad is at home, they are not on holiday but working. This naturally means that they need peace and quiet – and without it, they might just as well be back in the office. Secondly, by working from home too often, say, more than twice a week, an employee starts to lose touch with other colleagues. They become less and less “involved” in what is happening. There’s also the added disadvantage of only being able to communicate by phone and email, thus making employee interaction less casual. Imagine, you are desperately trying to contact the person whose desk is directly opposite. You have called him three times and emailed twice. Why doesn’t he answer? He could be in a meeting, teleconference, swamped by unread emails (yours is number 85!) or trying to get some urgent work finished. Normally, you would just ask a question and get an instant answer – but not today. This is a disadvantage not only for the employee but also for the company. And that is on top of all the other worries that a company has: is someone really working when home or simply relaxing on the sofa?
It’s a good job we didn’t cancel that rental contract! Let’s go back to one of the above points: the IT infrastructure. Before choosing between home or conventional office, you will need to have the right infrastructure. There are a number of options from the end user’s viewpoint. For colleagues working in an office, a traditional PC may well play a part in daily life. For others, especially the road warriors, a notebook or tablet may be the right choice – or they would even be better off with a hybrid tablet, such as the Fujitsu STYLISTIC Q702.
What is your experience when comparing home or office working?