The Pros and Cons of The 21st Century Home Office
In today’s virtual world working at home has become the new normal and there is no stigma attached. More and more companies are having flexible hours and flexible employees. Corporations have found that employees can be even more productive and certainly happier working at least part time from home.
When we started our creative services business in 1983 we were young and just beginning; the concept of spending money on an office with a huge overhead was not an option. We worried that we would not look like a serious company. We hid behind PO boxes and avoided the topic of passing out our business address. Today, your email and cell phone is more important than an address.
In early 2013 I wrote a post about the benefits of having a home office versus working at a business location. As I was looking through some of my old articles, I feel the need to rewrite this post because as times change and evolve, It becomes more relevant.
However, there are still die-hard situations where working out of your home does not make sense. Some jobs do require employee on-site participation like a legal firm or a doctor’s office. In this article I will compare the pros and cons of virtual home offices.
Telecommuting- The Pros:
- A big incentive to work altogether!
A virtual office is a must for employees that have small children at home or part time students who need a flexible schedule. Bad weather, long distances and other commuting issues are no longer relevant.Retaining good people is a constant struggle for any business owner. For some employees, the option of a home office enables business owners to maintain staff longer, which is a good enough reason for offering this time-saving option.
- Corporations save on costs
This is the most obvious benefit to telecommuting. Employees save considerable money on gasoline, work attire, and numerous other work-related expenses. Employers also can save too with less office overhead like rental expenses, company lunches, gasoline, and utilities.
- Avoiding distractions at work
Web designers or engineers could benefit enormously from NOT having distractions in the workplace. Interruptions that hinder productivity can be greatly reduced. Certain jobs require an extended uninterrupted period of time to focus. These technical jobs might enjoy an increase in productivity if working from the home.
If your job requires a lot of concentration, consider having an assigned “quiet’ space where no one is allowed to interrupt you for the duration of your work day.
Telecommuting – The Cons:
- Home distractions
There are too many distractions at home. For those with children, boundaries are sometimes hard to respect. Additionally, you have to trust your employee to get the work done. A solution is to have a “check-in method” via a company computer so that employers are able to monitor employee performance.
- Daily interactions lost
One of the main reasons for having an office is for engaging in daily interactions. Working side by side with others every day can spark creativity and promote teamwork. Not only will you have the opportunity to learn from your colleagues, you will also build relationships that benefit the company.
Weighing your options:
If you do choose to have some of your employees work from home, you will need to put in place a few hard rules to ensure productivity. We would love to hear from our readers: home vs. On-site office?