While it may seem like the best idea which has ever existed, there are some reasons why it has not become the most popular choice in all companies. At least, not yet.
There are some facts to consider while deciding to take this culture in action or not. Here are some positive and negative points about Home Office.
Time savings - An average employee that drives from home to the office and vice versa 5 days a week, spends up to 45 days a year in transit, according to a study published in 'El Universal'*. As you can imagine, that’s a big amount of time, and we could save so much of it by committing to this culture.
Money savings - In the cities with most transit, citizens spend between 30% and 40% of their income in transportation, according to the study last-mentioned*. This is insane and depressing, so Home Office sounds like an almost necessary thing to go for.
Lifestyle - It is obviously expected that the employee’s way of living will improve with this culture; it would imply less stress and fatigue on a daily basis, resulting in a better and more relaxed lifestyle.
Pollution - The world's leading cause of air pollution is related to the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) that is used for the transport industry. Home Office culture would help a lot with this problem if most companies start to adopt it.
Client restriction - From the point of view of a Software Developer, if the employee is working for a client, there’s a chance that they will restrict this practice. They just don’t feel like the employee is going to do a decent job such as the one he would do by working in the office. This is going to depend on the restrictions the client establishes.
Solving quick issues - Problems and issues will always arise with anything related to your work, mainly talking about the minor ones, and it will definitely be easier to solve them if the employee is at the office instead of at home, especially if it is a teamwork project of any kind.
Inappropriate workplace - In some cases, working at home makes it easier to concentrate on what they’re doing because it is a quieter place, but in most cases, it is not like that. Usually, there are more possible distractions while working out of the office. After all, that’s the main purpose of working in an adequate space.
Safety - Despite all security procedures that are performed to protect confidential information when an employee works at home, there’s no doubt that it is always better and safer to work at the office, and that is due to a lot of apparently small reasons, such as traveling with a laptop in hand, working at home with other people around, using the work laptop for other things besides work, etc.
Analyzing those 8 aspects of Home Office, I can say that it is a good practice but with boundaries. There will be some cases where this is not a good option, so a good way to start could be with occasional days where home office is approved and evaluate progression and risks presented. I personally have tried this and it was really fruitful, particularly because I live relatively far from work and I don’t really have significant distractions over there.
What other things do you think are important to have in consideration about Home Office? Do you have any good or bad experience with this practice?
Íñigo Arredondo Vera, I. A. V., & Diego Flores Manzanedo, D. F. M. (2017). El Universal | Tiempo en el tráfico. Recuperado 18 diciembre, 2019, de: https://interactivo.eluniversal.com.mx/2017/tiempo-trafico/