The research of 113 employees during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, published July 2020, also found that just over a quarter (27%) said that the work they produce is of a higher quality while working from home, with only 7% reporting the opposite.
Furthermore, almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents are finding working from home much easier than they anticipated, with an almost equal amount of respondents (74%) wanting to continue working from home long-term, 15% happy to continue remote working short-term and only a small proportion (10%) keen to return to an office environment as soon as possible.
Furthermore, 44% of employees with caring responsibilities now feel more loyal to their employer compared to 33% of non-carers.
However, over half (52%) of employees have seen an increase in their workload since the pandemic restrictions began, with an additional 37% working longer hours, but only 3% of employees cite they are dissatisfied with the support they are receiving from their employers during this time.
Debbie Rotchell, strategic consultant at ENEI, said: “Our research suggests that as many as two in five employees are anxious about returning to their normal place of work, despite the safety measures being put into place. Whilst many employers will be wondering if and when they ask people to return to the office, they should consider the opportunities of long-term home working with the potential cost savings, productivity boost and the inevitable benefits to the environment. When appropriate, this could be blended with face to face working in a more agile approach, giving employees more autonomy in the way they work.”
“Employees have been telling us for years that they need more flexibility in the way they work, and part time working options that simply reduce the total number of hours are too inflexible to meet their needs. This enforced period of homeworking has shown how easy and effective working from home can be and should be given serious consideration as a permanent addition to an employer’s ways of working.”
As a result of Covid-19 there is a strong case for employers to shift towards flexible working for employees, but there are a whole host of other benefits to home working, particularly from a health and wellbeing perspective.
Below, we look at ten reasons why home working is the future.
1. It cuts out the commute
Not only is commuting often stressful and unpleasant, it also takes up time that could otherwise be spent working, dropping the kids to school or doing something else productive. Whether it’s a two-hour train journey, an hour’s drive or a 20-minute walk, it takes time out of your day that you’ll never get back – and that’s before you take into account how long it takes to get ready in the morning.
When you work from home, you can be at your desk (or the kitchen table) and ready to work within a few minutes of waking up, or getting some exercise in before you get stuck into your tasks – instead of stuck in traffic or crammed into a train carriage. Employees who can work from home will also spend less money on petrol or train fares.
2. It costs less
The cost of office space can be high, depending on your particular needs and location, and if you’re just working by yourself it can feel like an unnecessary expense.
Whether you work from home or rent office space, you can claim some of the costs back, either as part of your tax deductible self-employed expenses or as part of your capital allowance, but you can’t claim for buying or building a business premises.
Travel expenses such as petrol costs and train fares can be massively reduced. Food and drink expenses such as the daily take-out coffee on the way to the office, really add up over the year. Not to mention the convenient sometimes unhealthy lunch options. Working from home you can make yourself something fresh and healthy for half the cost.
If working from home allows you an extra half hour or an hour of your time in the morning/evening, you might not need to spend out on certain child care costs or after school assistance looking after them until you get home from work.
3. It gives you more flexibility with your home life
Sometimes there are things you just need to be at home for. Whether it’s waiting in for the plumber or a parcel, if you’re working from home anyway then you have the flexibility to deal with the unexpected.
On top of that, there are the everyday tasks you can fit in around your work – from laundry to receiving online grocery deliveries. It also means employees can exercise or do stretches while at home, which they may feel embarrassed about doing at work – but is important for preventing back or joint problems which can come about as a result of a 9-to-5 job.
Working from home allows workers to go to necessary appointments – the doctor’s, dentist or opticians – during their lunch break, which they may not have time for if they’re office based.
4. You can set it up however you want
Maybe your office environment needs to be tidy, calm and serene, perhaps surrounded by plants, or would it benefit from inspirational images and motivational quotes. Maybe you work best on the sofa with your laptop on your lap. Being at home gives you lots of flexibility when it comes to your workspace preferences.
Office spaces – particularly shared office spaces – can have more restrictions on what you are and aren’t allowed to do. Plus, if you spend money on decorating a rented space and then have to move out, you’ll be out of pocket in terms of time and effort, as well as money.
5. It’s more eco-friendly
Whether you drive or use public transport to get to your office, you’re increasing your carbon footprint. Working from home automatically takes that out of the equation.
In a rented office space, you’ll be constrained by the environmental practices of the whole building. They may not recycle or adhere to energy-efficient policies. When you work from home, you have much more control over how green your business is.
6. More productivity
Many people who work from home claim to be more productive because they’re not in a loud environment or distracted by co-workers.
In fact, according to a recent survey, homeworkers rank their productivity as 7.7/10, compared with 6.5/10 for office workers.
A spokesperson for employment agency Reed said: “There are some obvious advantages of working from home that you’ve probably heard before – avoid the nightmare commute, work in your PJs – but the benefits go beyond that.
“Working from home can really help to increase your productivity, as the absence of office distractions makes it easier to keep your head down and actually get your work done.”
7. Fewer sick days
The survey also found, unsurprisingly, that home workers took fewer days off sick than those based in the office.
Employees working in an office took on average 3.1 days of sick leave last year, whilst homeworkers only took 1.8 sick days.
That’s because employees who have a cold or are mildly sick can still get work done at home, while office workers are more inclined to take the entire day off to avoid leaving the comfort of their home.
In addition, the better work-life balance means workers are less likely to get ill in the first place because their stress levels are typically lower.
8. Improved employee retention
As well as employees generally being happier when they work from home – which means they are less likely to quit – parents with childcare responsibilities are also more likely to continue working for the company if they can work from home, as it gives them greater flexibility.
Plus, because working from home is seen as such as an attractive work perk, employees who have experienced it are less likely to leave for a firm that doesn’t offer flexible working.
Mariano Mamertino, EMEA economist at global job site Indeed, said: “Flexibility is high up the wish list for employees of all ages – from new parents who need to juggle work with childcare, to older workers.
“But younger workers in particular see it as essential. Digital natives often expect to be able to harness the flexibility that technology provides, to enable them to work whenever and wherever suits them.”
Employees are generally happier if they can work from home thanks to the improved work-life balance
9. Increased talent pool
By having employees who work from home, companies can hire the best talent regardless of who or where they are.
It means employers can work with people who don’t live in the UK, or those from more geographically remote areas.
Mr Mamertino said: “From the employer’s perspective, offering flexible working is a powerful way to access wider pools of talent – whether that’s Britain’s sizeable older workforce, or millennials who place greater emphasis on work-life balance than previous generations.”
10. Less money spent on office space
If employees work from home, companies can spend less money on office space, technology and supplies. By staggering employees’ work-from-home days and hot-desking, firms can massively save on office space, which can cost thousands of pounds a month and be a major drain on a company’s budget.
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