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Recognising Home Working As A Staff Incentive

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 26 Mar 2012 | comments*Discuss
Home Working Incentive Flexible Working

Home working has previously been touted as the future of employment. But many employers are still doubtful of the benefits of using home working as a staff incentive.

Home Working In The UK

Home working does exist in the UK and 88% of small to medium businesses offer this option to their employees. Outsourcing of work has led to an increase in home working, but many larger UK employers still doubt the benefits of employees working from home. Some employers regard home working as an excuse for employees to slack off and do the minimum amount of work. But mutual trust and respect between employers and employees can be increased through the use of home working.

Employees Actively Looking For Home Working Opportunities

According to research conducted by Orange, the telecommunications business, job seekers are looking specifically for employment that includes home working. Over three quarters of job seekers and employees who were surveyed claimed that the ability to work from home and have flexible hours was a major incentive. Employers are recognising the fact that if employees are happy at work, productivity should increase. Working from home also eliminates the major downside of wasted hours commuting to and from work. This leave employees with more free time and an improved work/life balance.

Employers Who Are Making The Most Of Home Working

There are number of different industries where home working is an ideal option. These will include customer service, IT help desks and telesales, as well as the accountancy and consultancy industries. There can be some administrative and personal assistant work that is conducted on a home-working basis, too. Certain additional skills will be required of an employee working from home, including time management, communication skills and an degree of discipline.

Offering Home Working As A Staff Incentive

For employers who offer home working there are a number of benefits. Home working can actually increase productivity as employees have fewer distractions and can concentrate solely on work. Motivation can also increase, with employees recognising the respect and trust provided by employers. Another benefit is that employees are less likely to suffer from workplace stress when working from home. This can have the knock-on effect of reducing sick days caused by workplace stress.

Cost Cutting With Home Working

One of the major advantages of staff home working for employers is the cost benefits of lower overheads. Employers can reduce wasted office space and office facilities if employees work from home. For employers who outsource work to self-employed home workers, it also means eliminating sick pay, holiday pay, tax and accounts work. Small and medium businesses in particular can benefit from outsourcing specific jobs to home workers. In fact, many small businesses do employ accountants and bookkeepers on a long-term home-working basis.

Attracting A Wider Range Of Employees

Home working does not have to mean that the employee works solely from home. This type of incentive can be offered as a flexible working arrangement. For employers this can mean there is a wider scope of potential employees to choose from when interviewing. Parents with small children will benefit from flexible working hours, and this can be an incentive when they are job hunting. This incentive can mean that staff retention of the right workers is increased, which is another benefit for employers.

Considerations When Offering A Home-Working Incentive

Here are the key points to consider when offering home working as an incentive:

  • There may be a lack of team spirit, as home workers can be isolated.
  • It eliminates the ability to monitor employees.
  • There are some jobs where home working will not be possible.
  • Flexible hours may mean there can be problems contacting home workers in an emergency situation.
  • There may be initial training costs for new home-working employees.
  • Employers may have to pay for home communications equipment.
  • Additional home-working facilities may need to meet health and safety requirements.
  • Home workers can miss out on meetings and training updates, which will mean additional work at a later point.
Employers who recognise the benefits of offering home working as an incentive can increase productivity and cut overhead costs. They can also attract a wider range of qualified candidates who are lured by the flexible working option. A home-working incentive or flexible working hours may be the right solution towards increasing profits on a long-term basis, too.

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