The world may be opening back up again, but new working habits appear to be staying put. While some predict that the five-day office week will soon be the norm again, others hate – and we mean really hate – the traditional cubicle and water cooler set-up.
Homeworking opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for workers, and makes the work-life balance a reality rather than a pipe dream. On the other hand, the office inspires creativity and can keep loneliness at bay. However, both come with their drawbacks. Is there a way to win that involves everyone getting what they want without a business suffering? Nick Pollitt, Managing Director of office furniture suppliers, DBI Furniture Solutions, examines the pros and cons of working from home when it comes to company culture.
It makes home life easier
Who out there reading this has responsibilities and obligations outside of their nine-to-five job? Chances are everyone put their hands up, or at least agreed. The problem with the traditional working day is that it only leaves a small window of opportunity to complete these tasks, especially when you factor in the commute which can add at least an hour either side of the day. Working from home allows you to build work around your life, rather than the other way around.
Got a doctor’s appointment to attend? Make it a midday one. Need to do the school run? Not a problem. Want to be home for tea, bath and bed with the kids? Sorted!
Working from home allows for much more flexibility in all areas of your life, whether it’s related to your job or not.
It shows care and trust
Leading on from the above, providing an option to work from home or some level of flexibility shows you care about and trust your employees. Trust goes both ways in an employee-employer relationship; they trust you to follow through on your promises of an improved work-life balance, and you trust them to deliver their work in hours that suit them. There’s more to life than work – even bosses can admit that.
It makes for a fantastic work perk
Well, strictly speaking the pandemic has meant working from home is now expected rather than offered – if you’re not offering flexibility in some respects then you’re really not making yourself appealing to potential candidates. But flexibility really helps to draw people in; the willingness to ditch the traditional nine-to-five and help people create a better work-life balance will have top candidates applying for all your open positions.
Can be detrimental to well-being
Unless they already have a home office set up, there’s a good chance employees have been working from the couch or dining room table. Everyone was thrown into home working with little to no notice, and now seems to have become permanent for most. But not having the right chair and desk set up can lead to slouching, poor posture and health problems, but it can also lead to low morale, poor mental health and decreased productivity.
It’s hard to build company culture
Company culture is fast becoming one of the most important things that a business can work on. Salary and benefits are sometimes placed second, with the ‘vibe’ and feel of a company taking the top spot when it comes to drawing fresh talent in. It’s really hard to build a conducive and strong company culture with everyone working from different parts of the city, or even country. If you’re in a period of growth and hiring, how do you know all your employees will get along with one another if they haven’t even met? Those 4 o’clock office beers on a Friday can mean the difference between office misery and high morale.
Risk of overworking
Over the past year, the line between home and work has become increasingly blurred, to the point when people were starting work earlier and finishing later than they usually would. While flexibility is important, it can be hard to clock off at the end of the working day, especially when the requests keep coming in after 5pm. Working like this can lead to burnout and work-related stress, as well as no time for yourself.
Less face time and collaboration
Getting along with your colleagues is an important part of enjoying your job. Many industries thrive on face-to-face meetings and a creative flow – such as marketing and advertising – and there just isn’t the same feeling when it’s done through a computer screen. This could mean a lack of productivity at home and a downturn in creative ideas, where both the company and clients or customers could suffer.
Whether you’re Team WFH, Team Office, or even Team Hybrid, there are pros and cons to each side, but unfortunately, there’s no situation without its disadvantages. Whichever option you choose, it’s got to be the right one for your business, but also for your employees. After all, there is no company without its people.