If you asked any of your employees whether they would prefer to work at home or in the office, we think it’s a safe bet that they would answer “at home.” Working remotely has several well-known benefits, including less commuting expenses, spare office space, and increased employee satisfaction. Despite these advantages, many employers are hesitant to let their staff work from home. Why is this the case?
We’re sure that, whatever the reason is, it’s a valid one. For starters, let’s take a look at these six common reasons employers say “no” to working from home.
A Lack of Trust
Working from home is a privilege, and nobody understands that better than the employer. This privilege needs to be earned through hard work and dedication. If a business’s staff consists of new hires who haven’t proven either of these traits, you can bet that they don’t deserve to work from home… at least, not yet. They first need to show that they are fine, upstanding folks who work hard and can be trusted. For example, if these new hires are late getting to work in the morning, take long lunches, and leave before the office closes, they probably can’t handle the freedom of working from home unsupervised.
In the Interest of Fairness…
The previous situation ultimately creates a rift in the workforce, and splits the group into two parts: Those who can work from home, and those who can’t. This naturally leads to divisions amongst your staff, with some unrest soon to follow. Before you know it, the workers who are stuck in the office all day will grow to dislike those who have the opportunity to work from home. A mutiny would be counter-productive, so these employers try to avoid it altogether by just saying “no” to everyone who wants to work from home.
A Remote Workforce is a Big Change
If you’re a startup without a set-in-stone office setup, you’re probably more likely to allow employees to work from home. However, if you’ve already invested plenty of capital into an optimized workspace, including bathrooms, workstations, and break rooms, then these investments won’t see much use if the team works remotely. Employers see this as a waste, and would rather not implement this big of a change if they’ve been doing business in the office perfectly fine for as long as they can remember.
Lack of Control
Similar to the lack of trust some employers have for their team, the lack of control presented by remote workers can be disconcerting for a manager. Employers like to feel like they are in control, and the remote worker is somewhat immune to this. Having each worker in the same building every day, easily accessible via desk-to-desk interaction is ideal for maintaining control, and allows employers to ensure quality. With such a hands-on approach, employees will be much more mindful of how much time is wasted on YouTube and Facebook, especially when the boss could walk through the door at any moment.
Missed Collaboration Opportunities
Video conferencing and instant messaging might be fantastic ways for a remote team to collaborate in real time, but it’s just not the same as having the whole crew gathered around the conference room table. The workers who are forced to spend time with each other day by day will be able to communicate with each other far better than those who hardly ever come to the office. After all, you can only get to know the person behind the computer screen so well without being with them constantly.
Repetitive Tasks Likely Won’t Get Done as Well
While working from home has been proven to increase productivity for jobs requiring a creative twist, those who perform more monotonous and repetitive tasks will be upset to learn that their jobs don’t translate well to the remote worker. Basically, this means that boring tasks that don’t require much focus will probably yield time wasted on the plethora of distractions made available to the average worker while home (i.e. television, video games, pets, food). After all, nothing says “distraction” better than your cat knocking over a glass of water right next to your computer because you aren’t paying attention to it.
As the business owner, it’s ultimately your call whether or not you let your team work from home. While it will likely score you some points in the Coolness category, denying the privilege might yield unexpected results. Whatever your choice, make sure that you give some solid reasoning for your choices. If you let your team work from home, lay down some clear guidelines about what you expect of them. If you don’t let them work from home, back up your decision with claims.
It’s important, however, that you keep the option of letting your team work remotely in mind, as it can help your business save money on various utilities throughout the office, like electricity. If done correctly, you can make the investment pay off over time. If you do allow your team to work from home, give Tektonic a call at (416) 256-9928. We’ll get your team hooked up with all of the productivity applications they need to connect their home office to you as completely as possible. Give us a call today to learn more.