Working from Home Works

Whether you call it working from home, working remotely or distributed employment the trend is now a revolution.  We have had the technology to make this a reality for quite some time but the concept is just now being embraced and within the next decade or so I predict it to be very common place in the NZ. 

What is this revolution?

Distributed employment is the opportunity provided by employers for employees to work remotely some or most or all of the time.   These employees typically work from home but provided they have a good internet connection; these employees can work anywhere.  Whilst overall the trialled outcomes are significantly positive it is important to note that this type of arrangement is not suitable for all types of jobs and it is also not suitable for all employees/people.  Some employees prefer indeed need to work with their team around them and they can feel isolated in a remote working environment.  In fact, practical applications have shown that the greatest gains of distributed employment are when the employee ultimately makes the choice to or not to work remotely.

Why should we embrace this revolution?

Numerous companies have trialled and assessed and consequently implemented distributed employment with overwhelming positive results. 

o   Performance increases circa 25% when employees embrace the Work from Home opportunity by choice.

o   Companies experience a 50% reduction in staff turnover when distributed employment is made available.

These results stand on their own but there are many other benefits.

o   Did you know only 40% of employees are happy in their workplace and every one of these employees will identify “trust” as being at the core of their workplace happiness.  A Work from Home opportunity epitomises an employer’s trust in their employee. 

o   Employee loyalty to their employer increases because trust is demonstrated, a better work-life balance can be achieved and alternative opportunities of distributed employment are not yet common.

o   Overheads can be reduced e.g. less m2 office space requirements, reduced consumables consumption, reduced company vehicle expenses equivalent to the reduced commuting requirements.

o   It is a very real benefit when advertising a vacant position.  A Work from Home opportunity will be an enticement to some applicants and may even enable you to reduce your wage/salary offering.  You will also stand out as a potential employee as these opportunities are not yet commonplace.

Who should offer a Work from Home opportunity?

1.       Every business and organisation should ask the question “Are there any positions with functions that can wholly or partially be performed remotely?”. 

2.       If the answer is yes then the next step is to assess whether all, most or some of the functions of a single position can be performed remotely?  This will establish if the position is suitable as a remote full-time, most-time or part-time offering.

An example of a full-time remote position may be a computer developer; a most-time remote position may be a sales person and a part-time remote position maybe a bookkeeper.

3.       The next stage is to offer the employee the opportunity to discuss a remote working relationship and establishing if they are interested in moving forward with the idea then move onto the planning stage.  If they are not interested then you need take the matter no further at this stage, but when this position becomes an offering in the employment market take advantage of the opportunity to establish a Job Description with a Work from Home option and advertise it as such.

4.       It is imperative that the terms of the arrangement and the Key Performance Indicators
are clear, documented and agreed upon by both parties.  I suggest that each party formulates their own vision of this arrangement and then come back together to discuss their ideas.  This is an important evolution for the employer and the employee so the process should not be rushed.

5.       Once you have a platform to implement the change the employer should seek the advice of an appropriate HR or legal specialist to ensure all legal requirements are being met.

6.       Finally, once the terms are agreed upon each party should agree to meet regularly at least initially to review the terms of engagements and make amendments as required.

How does it work?

When an employee is in a Work from Home arrangement, they are happier, perform more effectively and efficiently and they are more loyal to their employer ultimately because they have control of their work environment and daily work structure.  Here are some reasons why.

They can:

o   Control the temperature of their workplace.

o   Choose whether there is music or not.

o   Be free of an overbearing supervisor or confrontational colleague.

o   Increase their productive working hours by replacing some or all of their usual commuting hours with actual work.

o   Work around personal circumstances and lifestyle choices e.g. children home sick from school, a golf tournament scheduled on a Thursday.

So, have a think about whether you can make Working from Home work for you.

Kayleen Martin

Recruiter | Talent Agent Specialist