is home office the solution for everyone?
In the meeting and events industry, we by definition have to work from many places. Basically, all we need is a laptop and a cell phone and we can start. This makes our industry to a perfect place for home office. Isn’t that amazing, people would think.
Well I see it a little differentiated.
I have worked in big companies surrounded by many employees and colleagues. Small companies with about 5 people around. I have worked in airport lounges, taxis, trains and hotels. And I have worked from home. I have enjoyed different working models.
Working from home has great advantages. You save the time for the commute, stay in your private surroundings and can pretty much work in your PJs if you want. The company you work for saves investments for a workplace and with the technological communication possibilities of today anyone can be in contact with you at any time. Also, the environment benefits from this model.
For families with small children, that need constant attention or supervision, this is a good way of being with the family but still earn money working in your dream job.
If you have kids, you will also know, that it doesn’t always work out that easily. Working will not be possible at times, when the small ones ask for attention and also deserve it. So, the working time is postponed to the evening hours or the early morning. This expands the daily working hours to the time you should relax to keep up with the right work-life-balance. This can be quite exhausting.
For the employer, knowing that you are not always at your desk preparing presentations and calling clients from 9am to 5 pm, requires some soft skills that not all managers have: Trust!
Your boss has to trust you in fulfilling your tasks, without checking on you all the time. I have seen leaders in companies spending their valuable time checking the online activity of their home-based employees and following up if there was doubt. This leads to employees leaving their laptop “online” while they are absent from their desks for whatever reasons, to be able to “prove” that they were working.
Trust and a clear definition of task deliveries on the one side and responsible entrepreneurial behavior on the other side is needed to break that pattern.
There is another downside for those that exclusively work from home. The social impact of the chat with the colleague in the office corridors or at the coffee machine, is something that I believe to be very important. For some old school managers, this is seen as waste of precious working time. I think it is the driver for innovation and creativity. The cradle of new ideas and developments.
We are social beings and need the feedback and thought exchange from other like-minded beings around us. We need the praise, the support, as well as the pushes from others, that understand, what we are doing.
This important interpersonal communication is missing when we only work from home. In the end it will lead to poorer work results and less creativity and innovation.
This is why I believe, that a good amount of home office in combination with some office presence is the right balance for a good work environment and the key to success.
How much of both sides depends on the personal situation of the employee and the tasks he/she has to fulfill. Leave it up to the employee to decide and support him/her in taking the decision based on the deliveries. And trust. I have had very good experiences with this.
Try it! You will see how it works!