What a challenging couple of months we’ve had. Many people have found themselves working from home five days a week for the very first time.
Swinburne recently conducted a survey asking Australians to share their experiences of working from home.
The survey found 76% of managers believe their teams were more likely to work from home in the future than they had in the past. Manager opinions are important to determining the likelihood of working from home programs in the future.
Weighing up the pros and cons
The survey also revealed a number of advantages of working from home including less time commuting (89% said this was the most significant benefit), and greater flexibility determining when and where work happens, increasing a sense of work/life balance.
The survey also identified difficulties of working from home including the blurring of work and home lives and problems shutting off from work.
A similar German study found that people who work home more than in the office reported higher job satisfaction, but also reported greater levels of exhaustion, nervousness, sleep difficulties and disorders, and a lack of ability to concentrate.
This seems like a contradiction. However, one of the things the research has suggested is that the digital technologies we use that enable us to work from home are available 24 hours a day, and it takes more individual responsibility to shut ourselves away from those technologies that may lead to these stress disorders.
Will we work from home more in the future?
I think the answer is yes. We’ve gone through a structural shift where both managers and employees feel much more positive about the work from home experience.
However, it’s also really important that managers and employees communicate and develop trust in these working arrangements, particularly in setting clear expectations about roles, responsibilities and performance.
One thing is for sure – HR practitioners will play an important role in setting up guidelines and policies for working from home and advising organisations and managers about flexible work arrangements into the future.
This video is part of Swinburne’s Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship ‘Ideas and Innovation’ series.