The Pros and Cons of the Home Office
The home office is something that many of us have had to become accustomed to this past year, as the pandemic has pushed the workplace into the home. This has led to a lot of people developing their own office in their house – and led to more people wishing that this home office remains even after the end of lockdowns. Recent studies have indicated that workers want to spend up to three days a week at home, potentially causing the workplace to lose its place. But is this a positive development? Read on to see the pros and cons of the home office.
Increasing Office Comfort
One of the most obvious benefits of the home office is its location: The home. This allows for greater workplace comfort and flexibility around the workday. People having their familiar four walls during the day can increase their productivity, as stress could be relieved by being in a comfortable and known room, with the ability to head into the rest of their home during their breaks. This comfort, however, has proven as a double-edged sword. By being at home the risk of distractions is higher as you are surrounded by all of the things that you like, such as games consoles.
Working alone at home will present those who perform risk assessments and deal with accident at work claims to notice different trends and patterns. An employer still has a duty to take reasonable care for your safety at work, regardless of where you are working from. Therefore, if an employer has not properly identified risks or kept an open line of communication it is possible and likely that accidents in the home office can occur.
Luckily, it is possible to remove these distractions. First, get rid of any non-essentials in your office, leaving only the necessary equipment you need to work. Then, make sure that your lighting and decorations are inspiring but will not have you changing them frequently. For example, it is best to get a single colour light, as you could be tempted to keep changing it to get the “right feeling”.
Removing the Daily Commute
Removing the daily commute for many people has proven to be excellent for many. Studies show that the average UK commute time is 1 hour 48 minutes, so removing all of this extra time spent has led to many having extra time in the morning to socialise with their family, get breakfast or even just get a good lie-in. In turn, this extra time has led to workers reporting that their feelings of stress have gone down, leading to greater productivity through the working week. This again, however, has some negatives as well. The lack of a commute, of a daily walk or cycle to the office, has led to what some have called, “sitting disease” where many are not spending enough time up and away from their desk. Many offices tackle this, giving their employees an outdoor area to take a break-in, or by providing standing desks. The other issue that has been raised is that many businesses that rely on breakfast and lunchtime purchases have struggled with the home offices, as people are not around during their usual peak times. Whilst being able to eat at home may be cheaper for individuals, it could cause some long-term problems to small cafés and other providers who focus on catering for office workers.
As seen here, the home office has a number of advantages and disadvantages bundled into one. It is going to take employees and employers time to work out what will be best for everyone, and teamwork will prove to be the most important factor in getting the world back into a healthy working routine.