The pros and cons of working from home

The pros and cons of working from home

Why go to office when everything can be handled from home? Teleworking seems to be the future, yet it's not offered by every employer and has disadvantages too.

In many industries the physical presence of employees in the company is anything but necessary. According to a recent poll every fourth employee in Germany works from home every now and then. One eighth or about twelve per cent of German employees regularly work on home office. However, there are many companies opposing this trend. Yahoo for instance abolished this mode of work.

It has many advantages for both sides: parents can look after their sick kids or take care about things that require to invest time during the day. That's still better for the employer than employees being constantly absent. What's more, studies show that employees appreciate flexible work and are more loyal to an employer who gives them the opportunity to better balance work and family life.

Nevertheless, many companies have difficulties with implementing teleworking. Even those that allow their employees to work from home on individual days fear this may worsen their performance. Who looks after children is distracted from work, they think. They feel like loosing control of what the employee is actually doing. However studies show that employees are often more productive at home and work longer than if physically present in the company.

Yet it's true that if one regularly works at home, he or she to some extent disappears from the team. Often superiors feel like he or she rejects to pursue a career – especially if the employee justifies the request for teleworking by wanting to achieve a better work-life balance. Although his or per performance remains unchanged, the person gets less visible within a system that is based on physical presence at the office.

Therefore it needs to be made absolutely clear between employer, employee and the team that working often from home doesn't mean anything special. Both sides should clearly define the goals and individual tasks, so the employee's work can be easily quantified. This way either side will feel like having a greater work load or less work being delivered respectively. Many companies even take over the costs of being at home office, mostly the telephone and internet connection.

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