Working from Home Week: good idea, but it doesn’t suit everyone

Meeting the management challenges of caring for home workers

Yesterday was hyped as the most depressing day of the year, but it also marked the beginning of Working from Home Week (20-26 January 2014). The idea will resonate with anyone struggling to get out of bed and join the January commute. There are many advantages to home working; but depending on your personality and personal circumstances there are also disadvantages. Yes, you’ll avoid traffic jams/crowded trains, take the dog for a walk when you fancy and can concentrate on a project without annoying interruptions. But working from home has its disadvantages too; including feeling isolated and finding it difficult to remain motivated. Rather like those who decide to move to the country but find it’s too quiet – for some people the buzz of the workplace is vital to their productivity and wellbeing.

As Simon Cliffe – the organiser of Work from Home Week says: “Working from home can be an attractive alternative that can get around many of the stresses and strains of office life. Home working can offer the flexibility that doesn’t usually exist in full-time employment, enabling you to fit work in around other commitments and allowing you to create a working environment that suits you and your working style.”

Identifying a preferred working style is an important point as, anecdotally, I know of more than one person who has fancied the idea of home working, only to find themselves tuning into “Homes under the Hammer” in a desperate attempt to avoid switching on their computer.

According to a new report published today by mobile access provider Aruba Networks there is a new generation of mobile workers emerging, who will be best suited to the flexible working genre. The majority of #GenMobile2 as they’ve called them – are in the early stages of their career, owns three or more connected devices (62%), and feels most productive when working from home (57%).

The increasing demand for flexible work styles is best illustrated in the US, where 79 per cent of respondents declared that they feel most efficient when working at home, and respondents in the UK are also above average, with 72% stating that the home office is where they can be most productive.

Whether or not a few years of working life will shift these workers priorities is debatable, what is the case is that people of all ages are choosing to work more flexibly, but it’s important employers manage their needs carefully.

As Simon Cliffe advises: “With careful planning and the right support, you can make a successful switch to working from home, and create a better environment that suits you and your working style.”