Working from Home – the Pros and Cons for your Business
With more and more employees working from home during the COVID 19 restrictions, business owners are considering how much this affects productivity.
A common question asked of Zoran Sarabaca – founder of Xcllusive Business Sales – is whether allowing employees to work from home will increase the value of the business. Many employers are considering the savings to be made by not leasing or buying premises and infrastructure.
It goes without saying that if your business can operate without premises, you will save money on rent and expenses. However, is this the right move for your business?
Zoran looked at the Pros & Cons of employees working from home.
PROs – employees
- Less time commuting for employees
- More time for family, friends, and private life
- Financial savings e.g. fuel, buying lunches, work clothes etc
PROs – employers
- Savings on tenancy costs
- Savings on overheads e.g. power
- Better performance due to less distractions
- Improve employees’ performance and loyalty
“There are some major benefits there, so you may think working from home is the better option for your business,” said Zoran. “However, take a look at the negatives, too.”
- Harder to engage with employees using technology vs face-time
- Performance may be affected due to employees missing out on social engagement with team members
- Lowering of team spirit
- Challenging onboarding when new employees join the business
- Harder to train employees
- Harder to manage employees
- Collaboration tasks take longer to communicate
- Challenging supervision and risk management – supervision mitigates risk
- Blurred workers’ compensation guidelines
- OH&S issues when working in the home environment
- Extra cost for IT systems
“As you can see, there are very strong points for and against working from home,” Zoran said. “It goes without saying that if you reduce or cut your rent altogether, you will save money which will boost your numbers and, in theory, make your business more valuable.
“However, if performance drops due to introducing flexible working, the value of your business could drop.
“Whilst you can calculate how much you will save in rent, you cannot forward plan or estimate the impact in real terms. Remember, buyers will look at profitability not savings,” said Zoran.
“The bottom line is this, allowing some employees to work from home could boost the value of your business – if done in the right way. Here are some suggestions that may help.”
Set expectations and provide training
Don’t just send your employees home to work with no guidance. Let them know exactly what is expected of them and provide any training needed for them to work from a home environment.
Facilitate working from home for those who need it
Not everyone wants to or can work from home for whatever reason. However, for those employees who want to work from home, allowing them to do this will boost their morale, increase productivity and, therefore, improve the value of your business.
Measure performance from home and office
Work out whether an employee performs better at home or from the office. Some workers need and want to be managed daily.
Develop performance parameters
Employees need to know what is expected of them.
Ensure the home working environment is adequate
Does the employee have the space, environment, and tools to successfully work from home?
Put in place risk mitigation systems
Mistakes can be very costly to some businesses and, with less supervision at home, you want to ensure mistakes don’t happen.
Have regular face-time with employees
Whether this is weekly or monthly, it is important to build face-time into the work-from-home set-up.
Employment experts are labelling this time as the biggest workforce change since World War II and it can particularly affect women. In Australia, only 42% of women return to work within two years of having a baby, often due to a lack of childcare. Working from home would allow many more women to re-join the workforce.
A survey of 5000 workers in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK revealed that two-thirds of employees thought they would be more productive if they could work from home. But again, how this affects the business is down to employers providing the right infrastructure, training, and management.