According to the Office for National Statistics, 13.9% of the workforce work from home, the highest level since records began, however many UK bosses still don’t trust their staff to work remotely.

From an employers perspective – trusting your employees:

  • Never make a decision straight away, always identify their reasons behind them wishing to work from home. Personal circumstance may have forced this position upon them so try and be flexible where possible.
  • If it is just personal preference remember allowing one person to work from home may set precedence for others. Always assess whether it is feasible given the companies culture and beliefs.  Construct a code of conduct. This shows employees what you expect of them and breaching this can result in consequences.  Be clear about how much time they can work from home.
  • You may have initial concerns over your employee’s work ethics when allowing someone to work from home but trust does build loyalty and loyalty from your staff enables better staff retention, a happier workforce and employees who are prepared to work over and above.
  • Before giving someone the opportunity to work from home always consider the character of the employee and how they are in an office environment. Are they hard working, committed and independent? If yes then trust them to transfer this to home life.
  • Always agree a trial period to see how they get on and how they complete tasks and meet deadlines. Remain in contact with them throughout the day to ensure everyone is on target and motivated.  If you are still concerned don’t proceed with the entitlement.

From an employees perspective:

  • If you are a new starter at the company it is always best to show how much of an asset, motivated and diligent you are before you consider asking to work from home. When you do ask, show that you can be flexible and tell your boss how much you appreciate their flexibility.
  • Never breach the trust given to you by not meeting deadlines or failing to answerphone calls or emails.  Do the agreed hours just in the same way you would if you were in the office.  You will need to prove your commitment.  If you need to go out for example to do the school run then let the office know you won’t be available at that time and just make the time up   later.
  • Other employees may feel disgruntled so try and be fair to all your colleagues and don’t brag or take advantage of your ability to work from home.
  • Make sure you have the appropriate space to work from home. A study or small office is ideal where you can shut the door and have no distractions to get the best out of your working day.  Ensure your family understands you are still working if you are at home.
  • Use the latest technology to your advantage and organise meetings on skype and take part in conference calls and webinars.  Prove you are doing everything you can to be accessible.

By Dr Lynda Shaw