How does working from home benefit employers? In a recent study by Cardiff & Southampton University found that nine out of ten homeworkers said that they would like to continue working from home in some capcity, with 47.3% of people saying they wanted to work from home often or all the time. But in the future will working from home continue to be the new norm? and how can employers create environments that harness the best of both worlds home and office.
This is where the concept of agile working needs relooking at. Agile working focuses on the idea that work is a task, rather than a place to go. With this in mind, staff are free to work where they like, home or the office, provided that the same milestones are reached.
Agile working may even incorporate some of the same work practices as ‘flexible working’ such as adopting hours around other commitments such as childcare.
One of the main stumbling blocks of homeworking was the question about productivity, however the same university study found productivity has not been adversely affected by the shift towards homeworking, and the strongest members of staff actually increased their productivity levels.
So working from home could be a major benefit for employers in terms of both productivity and increased staff satisfaction particularly amongst the top performing staff members.
Further to helping staff achieve a better work/life balance, agile working can also be hugely cost-effective for businesses as the cost of office overheads sneak up. With many large companies reviewing whether they need all of their current office space in light of the number of people wanting to work from home on a more permanent basis. The cost of rent for office space in London is the highest in Europe. Less space equals less cost.
In our personal experience, carefully planning and re-designing our offices has helped us to scale up. Whilst some of our team still have fixed desks as they prefer to be office based, we ensured that all our workstations were fully adjustable for anyone to work comfortably when they visit PPHQ!
The key here is flexibility, equipment that works for a range of shapes and sizes so that people can feel instantly comfortable. If employees aren’t sure how to set up their home office, this post provides a step by step guide.
Here are some of our top tips for creating an agile working environment:
- Better known as hot desks, agile working environments usually work on ‘clean desk policies’. This means that at the end of every workday, all personal items are packed away ready for the next user. Our projects team at Love Your Workspace can provide lots of advice for the perfect storage solution.
- Carrying around Laptops, tablets, and notepads can start to get heavy. If your work policy requires staff members to work in and out of the office, think about a suitable wheelie bag or rucksack to take the weight
- Not having a fixed workspace causes a DSE conundrum! Make sure staff complete a DSE assessment and know the principles of good workstation setups. This will protect them from related musculoskeletal issues and hopefully dissuade them from working on the sofa!
- Provide staff with compact and lightweight accessories such as a lightweight keyboard, mouse and laptop stand to help them work well whenever, wherever!
- Agile working isn’t for everyone. Make sure you establish who will need a fixed desk before you make the switch to agile working. Have open discussions with the team to see how people really want to work.
- Make sure your furniture can work for everyone. The reality of agile working means that one day a 6 ft 3 person can work at a desk and the next a 4 ft person! Height adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs are a must!
- Make sure you have an amazing I.T company. Local Sussex based company Ingenio combined with a new CRM system have ensured we can work without being tied to the office
- If someone is going to be based at home, make sure they know how to create a good home office
- Take a look at our post ‘the Home vs. The office’ to help you decide the best place to work.
Our top product recommendations for agile working
We were asked a bit more about our experiences of implementing our own agile working environment in this Telegraph article