Is working from home more than just a policy?
Posted on 12th May 2020 at 11:39
Today, Twitter have said that their employees can work from home forever, if they want to. The decision comes as they have said that it's work from home measures during the lockdown have been a success. It also said that people can go into the office if they choose when it re-opens later in the year, giving ultimate flexabilty. Twitter said "The past few months have proven we can make that work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen".
This follows Facebook and Google announcing last week that staff can work from home until the end of the year. So, is this a defining moment for office based employees? It's been tested over the last few months and most employees have proved it works. We have all started to use technology more and have quickly adapted to using Zoom, Teams and Skype. But is this right for the long term? There are pros and cons of course as there are with everything. Is working from home forever the right thing to do?
Interaction at work is important for all sorts of reasons. It helps to separate home and work life (which suddenly seems to have blurred together), it creates better relationships with colleagues and encourages the sharing of ideas and thought creating innovation. But most of all, it allows for the human contact that so many of us are desperately missing at the moment. But with every list of pros there is the counter argument. Do we really need to separate home and work or is it just life? Working through technology has allowed a glimpse into someone's life through their kitchen, conservatory or home office. Many people have met their colleague's dog, children or partner they might not have otherwise met. Has it made us more human?
That said, there’s a lot of money that can be saved on expensive rents. Revenue can be increased through improved productivity with no commuting time and less business travel. Funnily enough, after working from home after setting up my business, I moved into an office in a shared business space weeks before the lockdown as I missed being around people. I can’t help thinking that working from home forever is a step too far but maybe it is just about giving people the option and flexibility.
See what they choose, at least in the short term until it is actually safe to return. And if it's the right thing to continue for your business, ask yourself how it would affect your culture, team dynamics and productivity? There will be work to do for sure for this way of working to be successful in the long term which goes way beyond a policy. With the additional pressure to create a new legal right to work from home (as the right is just one to “request” flexible working currently), is this the start of a new chapter?
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