Working from home and having a home office is not a new concept. Over the last twenty years there has been a trend for large corporates to introduce a home working policy, enabling them to reduce overheads and make cost savings.
But how does this affect the workers, their morale and their productivity? We talked to some of the tenants we’ve recently placed in co-working spaces in London to get their thoughts.
Flexibility – All said that working from home gave them greater flexibility, meaning they can arrange their day to suit their lifestyle and achieve a better work-life balance.
Isolation – Many said that they felt lonely and isolated when working from home. They particularly missed the rapport with co-workers.
Lack of Inspiration – Idea sharing, brainstorming and inspiration is often generated within a team environment where people know each other, trust others’ opinions and bounce ideas off each other. When you’re working at home, you have to rely on emails, phone calls and Facetime/Skype in order to communicate – and many felt that this affected their creativity.
Distraction – Home workers with families lamented how distracting it can be. Children entering their home office when they were trying to make an important call, dogs barking, doorbells ringing etc all contributed to the distractions.
Lack of amenities – A home office does not have the wide range of amenities a regular office can provide. Home workers missed high speed internet, good printers, meeting rooms and the stationery cupboard!
Space restrictions – Squeezing in an office at home is not always possible and some home workers are faced with working at the kitchen table or in the lounge. This can affect posture and comfort when working which can lead to backache and headaches. In the same vein, small business owners who work from home reported that it is difficult to employ staff and grow their business as they rarely have the space to accommodate them.
Productivity – Whilst the peace and quiet (assuming it is) of working from home can be conducive to productivity, surprisingly the reverse can be true. Workers said they had a heightened awareness of jobs that needed doing around the house (put the washing on, tidying up, decorating, gardening etc). In addition, productivity is often affected as they get called upon by family members and friends, as working from home was deemed as them being available
It’s therefore no surprise that co-working office spaces have soared in popularity in London. They provide all of the benefits of a large, busy office space – including the comradery with all the sole workers, remote workers and small business. Renting a desk in a co-working space gives you the advantage of a fixed, low monthly fee, but also has the benefits of home working such as flexibility to work the hours that suit you so you can meet your work/life balance.