By Brian Pho
With the evolution of smart phones, VOIP and internet technology, it is very easy for an employee to start working from home. This was not possible in the past, but with today's technology, there are more and more people starting to work exclusively from home offices.
The real question then becomes ... Is the employee more productive at home than in the office? We know with the advancement of video conferencing on laptop computers, interviews can be done over a strong T1 connection. In the recruitment industry, we know that 90% of our work can be done with just a phone and an internet connection.
However there is a contradiction to the above facts. With all of these new advances in technology, many successful companies still maintain physical office space. People still put on a suit, walk into their physical office and still make their calls or do their research from their own offices when they could easily be doing the same work activities from home. Why are more poeple not working from home?
Working from home exclusively is a tough gig. As human beings, we are social by nature and want that human connection with our peers. Sharing of ideas and having an office colleague next to us might stimulate us as we can brainstorm different problems together. Having a competitive edge with your colleagues builds healthy company culture that one cannot build when working exclusively from a home office.
There are many pros in setting up a home office exclusively and working from home. Of course, commuting time (to and from the office) is definitely lessened and the flexibility in the employee's time schedule is greatly increased. Whether we are more productive in an office environment or at home does become a paramount concern to many employers and employees.
I firmly believe if one decides to pursue the 'work at home' route, discipline and routine is imperative in order to make the transition from an office environment to a 'work at home' environment successful.
In recruitment, many meetings are set-up on a daily basis (with candidates) and I strongly believe a face-to-face meeting in a private office (office space can be rented) is 10 times more effective than a Skype or a video conference meeting. However, the time flexibility gained by working at home is an asset and potentially more productive than being in an office on an everyday basis.
As a recruiter, our days are spent either out of our office generating new business with new customers or meeting candidates. At times, if a recruiter chooses a work at home scenario most of his/her time should be spent outside of his/her home office either in customer meetings, candidate interviews/assessment meetings or valued networking opportunities.
In the end, I believe in order to be productive, it depends on the work ethic and discipline of the employee. Some individuals can be more productive working exclusively from home while others cannot work at home at all. They need that separation between home and office. Maybe the best scenario in which I see that most employers and employees are adapting is a hybrid scenario. This is where employees spend 3 days per week in the office and 2 days at home. This offers a good compromise for the employee and employer.