A recent salary survey from people2people found that when hiring managers were asked which benefit has been the most effective in retaining staff, flexible working hours was the highest ranked response at 52 per cent. According to the recruiter, flexible working arrangements are continuing to be a priority for employees when selecting an organisation to work with as well as a selling point for employers to attract and retain new staff.
However, flexible working arrangements can be different for everyone and working from home is one of the more popular options now and will continue to be in 2019. With more access to portable technology, many employees can perform most, if not all aspects of their jobs from any location rather than their desk cubicle.
The benefits of allowing, supporting and promoting working from home include
- Better work/life balance – more time with family, friends and ME time will mean your staff will have less stress and have more overall life satisfaction
- Saving time commuting to and from work – this one is massive. If you calculate how much time and money your staff would save from not having to travel to the office each day, you know there are huge time and financial savings not having to commute to work every day
- Higher productivity – the time you save from not commuting 5 days a week leads to more time to be productive at work
- Comfort – get your work done in your comfy clothes!
- Less office space required in agile workspaces – if your business completely embraces work from home for everyone, you won’t need the same amount of office space
- Staff retention – if your organisation doesn’t offer flexibility, someone else will!
- Promoting autonomy and trust – staff want to feel their manager has confidence in them to do their job unsupervised
- Less distractions – more meaningful focus on your top priorities
However the company also points out the downsides to introducing a work from home policy?
- Out of sight out of mind may lead to less team and management engagement
- Loss of productivity. Is your team member really working hard or catching up on Netflix?
- Difference in culture and productivity – if the team isn’t sitting together, do they understand they may have different expectations for pace and productivity
- Confidentiality issues
- Hard to switch off – if you take your work home with you, when do you switch off?
- Ergonomics – the work from home set up may not be WHS compliant and may lead to health issues in the future.
Anecdotally, across all of people2people’s seven offices there are stories of employers losing their ideal jobseeker because a competitor offered the job seeker more flexibility, including the opportunity to work from home.