Should we go back?
The pros & cons of remote working
I strongly dislike video chat. It’s not the same as speaking in person because it feels like I have to work harder to get my point across. And I also have to concentrate on the person or people who are on the other side. Training people over video chat in a multi-person course is put simply, mental suicide. Apart from the obvious benefit of not dying from Coronavirus, what are the for and against points to remote working? Well, let’s have a look:
Remote working: employee pros
- Working from home reduces the chances of contracting the potentially fatal virus from other people.
- A personal space for work to be customised to your taste and style.
- Time benefits like flexible working hours and breaks.
- No more sitting next to Gary in accounts who feels the need to clip his fingernails at your shared desk space because he’s got nowhere better to do it.
- No requirement to be in office dress all the time (as long as you remain dressed for video call, mind).
Remote working: employee cons
- Irregular availability of your work team because people are on different break times.
- Communication methods such as video chat and instant messaging can be highly disruptive because of technical errors.
- Home pressures may encroach on working time.
- No purpose-built area for work, leading to it leaking into your home life.
- The potentially expensive cost to adapt your work processes to allow you to work remotely.
As you can see, some people can adapt faster to new ways of working. The overall question is; once all the effort has been put into this potentially temporary solution, should we reverse from this direction and go back to the old ways?
Answer: No. I’ll explain.
With the way that home offices have sprung up recently, there is a lot of costs involved for a company to comply with the necessary regulations to keep their employees safe in their place of work. The debate is, are employers responsible for their employees when they work on their behalf at home? Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 states that the employer is responsible, as far as reasonably practicable, your health and safety in your workplace (use our COVID page to advise you). If your workplace is away from the normal working scope of the company but you are conducting work activities, the employer needs to apply adequate measures for your health, safety and wellbeing, wherever you are.
Translation: if you are working from home, that is your place of work. Your employer needs to work with you to make it as safe as you can including any training courses that are needed because it’s their responsibility. There is even a debate on whether we should return to work at all or not.
If this is the case, rather than discard all of the measures already in place, modify them to move forward and continue working towards a safer future