Technology and cloud computing, together with improved home internet connections make teleworking and homeworking much more accessible. As such, many companies are faced with a growing number of requests from employees to allow them to work from home, either on a full-time or part-time basis.
The idea of traditional office roles being undertaken remotely can make some employers feel uneasy about how it will affect their operation, plus further additional considerations in terms of Office Insurance requirements and data security.
Will Homeworking Be Good For Business?
There is no definitive answer as to whether teleworking will be good or bad for your business. It comes with both pros and cons that can be influenced by a variety of factors such as company environment, type of work and individual employees.
Because of all the variables that can affect the success or failure of employees working from home, most situations should be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
Benefits of Remote Working
If applied in the right situations, remote or teleworking can have a variety of potential benefits for both your business and its employees.
#1 Eliminating the Commute
Teleworking turns the potentially large block of time wasted during the commute to and from the office every day into time that employees can be working. The lack of a commute means employers no longer have to deal with tardiness or absences caused by traffic accidents and weather.
If employees are using company vehicles, eliminating an unnecessary drive to and from the office every day decreases the chance for accidents. With fewer vehicles on the road each day and fewer accidents on your company’s record, the cost of motor fleet insurance premiums could fall.
#2 Saving Office Space
If you want to add more personnel but just don’t have room, remote working can save you from the constraints of your current accommodation without requiring the development of additional office space. Less office space with fewer employees and less expensive equipment means not only lower utility and upkeep costs, but also lower property insurance premiums.
#3 Reduced Employee Sickness
Employees working at home have little direct contact with co-workers, meaning that they will be less likely to catch a cold or flu that may be going around the office. Less exposure to contagious disease helps employees who telework miss fewer days of work due to illness, which means increased productivity for your operation.
Even if a work-at-home employee does become ill, they are more likely to remain productive since their illness does not affect their ability to come into the office. Fewer sick employees means lower overall operating costs and higher productivity for your business.
#4 Attracting and Retain Employees
Studies have shown that a majority of employees favour the option of teleworking. Not only does this increase the morale and job satisfaction of current employees, but it can also be valuable when recruiting new talent. Hiring and retaining the best employees will help you save money on training costs, and more seasoned workers tend to have less injuries, contributing to lower insurance premiums.
What About The Potential Risks?
While it can be very beneficial, homeworking has some potential problems that your company should consider before it allows employees to work remotely.
#1 Health and Safety Requirements
Employers are responsible for the health, safety and welfare at work for all of their employees. This even applies if the employee works from home. Employers need to carry out a home risk assessment of the potential hazards faced by teleworking and ensure measures are in place to control or avoid any risks.
#2 Limited Employee Supervision
One of the top reasons employers are leaning towards allowing employees to work from home is the inability to accurately monitor how time is used throughout the day.
#3 Increased Equipment Costs
There are certain pieces of equipment that an employee will need to work from home, namely a computer and an Internet connection. They may also need other devices to help them communicate with their fellow employees.
If the employee does not already have these things, the company will need to pay for them. Add these costs to the logistics of maintaining and repairing IT equipment that is away from your primary place of business, and this can become a significant investment for companies considering teleworking.
#4 Limited Face-To-Face Time
Employees working from home are not as involved in the culture of your company. Not having an employee physically available for a meeting or discussion can be an added headache for those working in the office. Employees at home may have a tougher time being recognised for promotions or other advancements. This could lead to lower morale, and, again, problems with employee retention.
#5 Data Security
The basis of teleworking is the use of the Internet. When an employee is at the office, his or her work is protected by safety standards that keep your company’s’ network and data secure.
However, an employee working from home may not have the same safety measures in place to protect company information they may be working on. Make sure employees are provided with security software and that you have the proper cover, such as a Cyber Liability Insurance policy, to protect against a potential data breach.
Stop Problems Before They Start
If you allow employees to work remotely, make sure you institute an established programme to minimise the risks. Decide on what types of positions in your company will be open to allowing teleworking, and detail what is expected of employees when it comes to productivity and time usage.
Pay particular attention to distractions at home which could impact productivity, such as childcare or inappropriate workspace.
Also, be sure to institute security procedures that will keep sensitive company information safe at home offices. Having guidelines in place will help you reap the benefits of teleworking without letting it disrupt your business or lead to increased liabilities and costs.
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