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Red Alert, Red Alert and Working from Home

by Andrea O’ Reily, Head of Human Resources, Abrivia Recruitment

Red Alert Red Alert is what we all woke up to on the morning before the ‘The Beast from the East’ arrived ! I got up, looked out at a beautiful blanket of snow and commenced my journey to work. After the car slipped for the second time, I made the call to work from home and my boss agreed it was a better option. I work from home about twice a month, so I am all set up for remote working.

As the weather warning first came to light earlier that week our Managing Director told us all to check system access including logons and be ready to potentially work from home when ‘The Beast from East’ finally arrived. We were the lucky ones as our MD is forward thinking enough to realise the importance of having such a contingency plan.

My boss trusts me to do my job at home. Many employers are not so accommodating as they perceive working from home will lead to a lack of productivity. I believe this thinking is bad management and it is essentially a control issue.

Why do more employers not offer this option? A working from home policy would be a real benefit that will set your organisation apart. ‘Employer of Choice’ is the top priority for employers and trying to create a culture which is supportive and trusting, so why do more employers not make it a policy? There are many provisions that an employer can put in place to ensure employees are being productive. Having a working from home policy will contribute to a highly engaged workforce and can play a pivotal role in attracting new talent to your organisation.

As a mother of four children, having this arrangement is such a great benefit to me and my family. I am so grateful to be given this opportunity and work harder and longer to make sure that it is never taken away.

So, what are the benefits?

  • Reduces the commute to work
  •  Employees waste too much time commuting
  •  Employees can reduce travel costs
  •  Less commute means less stress
  •  Many studies have shown that employees are more productive and log on for longer hours when working from home
  •  Employees spend less time getting involved in office trivia
  •  Employees have no time for wasteful meetings
  •  Working from home means fewer distractions

 

  • Work Life balance
  • Leads to a happier workforce
  • For the employee, it means more time with their family

 

  • Working from home open’s the Talent Market/pool
  • Organisations will have a wider pool of candidates and allow companies to employ people no matter where they live
  • If you stagger employees working from home, you can reduce required office space
  • Reduce spend on office treats/food

 

  • Easier than ever
  • WIFI and current technology means that people can log on wherever they are located
  • There are many management systems available that employers will be able to manage teams remotely and able to check employee’s activities as if they are in work

 

  • More engaged workforce
  • Huge benefit for employees and will be less likely to quit
  • Good publicity for your company as employees will promote the organisation’s flexible working options
  • Employees will have less sick days
  • Employees will be more loyal

 

  • Other Markets
  • If you are managing teams remotely in different countries, you will get insights into local markets

 

  • Reduces stress
  • Employees will find the quieter environment less stressful
  • Because of reducing commuting times for employees, stress will be reduced

 

Remote working works for me, it’s logical.

My advice is that employers should not just implement working from home on ‘Red Alert Days’; instead bring in a working from home policy; realise the benefits for employees and the organisation at large. Set up a policy; establish goals/rhythms of communication and metrics and acknowledge it’s a no-brainer in regards employee satisfaction and productivity.

Just ask yourself this question: How many employees were paid for sitting at home watching TV over the alert?  I bet you that the employees of companies that have a working remotely policy in place were more productive over the alert days !

Categories: Opinion

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