Homeworking is a powerful force that benefits employees, employers and the wider community. Realising its full potential depends on employers providing the technology and structures necessary to ensure employees work effectively and efficiently.
The opportunity to work flexibly is highly valued by employees because it allows them to fit their job more easily around other responsibilities in their busy lives, like the care of children and older family members.
According to Personnel Today, 90% of UK workers believe that flexible working would boost their productivity and 58% say it would improve their motivation levels.
Central to the idea of flexible working is allowing employees to work from home some or all of the time. Today 31% of employees work from home at least one day a week¹.
Homeworking sees employees liberated from the time, expense and drudgery of the daily commute so they can be sat at their desks less stressed and more focused.
It isn’t just employees that benefit from flexible working arrangements; employers are increasingly coming round to the fact that homeworking can be hugely beneficial for businesses.
Benefits of homeworking for employers
- Reduced cost of office space and associated building expenses
- Reduced absenteeism; homeworkers take less sick leave than their office-based colleagues²
- Enhanced offering to prospective employees – critical in sectors with a skills shortage
- Access to a more varied talent pool including a wider geographical catchment area and the ability to give greater access to people with disabilities
It also offers benefits to the wider community including fewer road journeys, less pollution, reduced strain on public transport and more opportunity for people to shop locally.
Working from home, not working alone
As powerful as it is, there are pitfalls to homeworking that employers must be aware of:
- Health and safety: out of sight shouldn’t mean out of mind so, for example, employers should arrange ergonomic assessment of home working environments in the same way they would office environments.
- Employee wellbeing: be careful to avoid developing a culture of presenteeism in which employees working from home feel they need to be available at all hours, to the detriment of their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
- Communication: keeping in touch with homeworkers will ensure they feel included, engaged, and motivated.
- Data protection and privacy: your organisation’s policies should be mirrored by homeworking arrangements.
- Technology: for homeworkers to be able to work efficiently you’ll need to provide quick, easy, secure and stable access to all necessary systems.
Talking of technology…
A double-edged sword when it comes to trying to maintain a work-life balance, technology is on the one hand responsible for our ‘always on’ society but on the other hand it also gives us the opportunity to work more effectively and efficiently – facilitating effective, reliable homeworking arrangements.
Mobile phones enable us to send and receive emails wherever we are, cloud servers provide secure data access to information and video conferencing and screen sharing facilities mean we can maintain face-to-face contacts with colleagues and clients around the world.
Homeworkers don’t just work more flexibly, they work smarter too. For example; ‘virtual meetings over video and web conferencing platforms tend to be shorter. It’s easier to stick to an agenda because you’re not being side-tracked by passing the biscuits, and idle chit chat seems to be kept to a minimum’.
Print and post. Precisely.
The growing popularity of homeworking also necessitates a more intelligent approach to how employees complete daily tasks such as the print and post of customer and employee communications. How can homeworkers do this if they don’t have a printer or are unable to get documents to the post box on time?
Datagraphic’s document automation solution, Aceni, can automate the output of office documents generated on a day-to-day basis by employees, whether they’re working in the office or from home. This approach – which enables a background to be selected, enclosures added and colour, print and postage preferences to be defined – ensures consistent branding across all communications and efficient distribution of important business communications.
You won’t need to buy any software and there are no minimum or maximum volume requirements so you’ll only pay for what you need. As long as you get your documents to us by 4pm, we’ll print and post them the same day in a secure ISO 27001 accredited environment.