I’ve had an eventful few weeks recently. My son had an ear infection which involved several trips to the GP and eventually a 24 hour stay in hospital. This week I thought we were getting back to our normal routine and then it started to snow. Given that Kent County Council apparently decided not to bother gritting the roads my 4 mile journey home from the station took me 4 hours (3 hours sat in stationery traffic and then an hour walk when I eventually managed to ditch the car!)
I have never been more grateful for the fact that I can do most of my work from home. On my laptop I can log in to exactly the same system that we have in the office and I also receive my emails on my phone. At times this can also be a curse as it can be difficult to become unavailable but otherwise it means that I can generally manage to be there for my children when they need me whilst also meeting work commitments. In short I can have my cake and eat it.
Having said all this I do still need to come into the office on a regular basis. There is some work which is much easier to do in the office; it’s easier to get to speak to my colleagues, it’s where I meet with clients and as a Mother of two small children it’s also an opportunity to enjoy a hot cup of coffee and to go to the loo unaccompanied – bliss!
As far as I am concerned technology has made it easier than ever before for people to manage their work/life balance and this surely makes for a happier and healthier workforce? I therefore couldn’t believe it when I saw an article in the evening standard which reported that the CEO of Yahoo had banned home-working and told all employees that they needed to be office-based once more.
The change was announced in a memo to all staff which explained that “Some of the best decisions and insights come from hallway and cafeteria discussions, meeting new people, and impromptu team meetings.” “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home.”
I can see some merit in this argument and as I have noted above there are occasions when coming in to the office is absolutely essential. However, I think the key concept here is flexibility. I believe that as an employer if you allow your staff some flexibility as to when/where they work you will get loyal, committed and happy employees as a result and that is surely a good start to building a successful business.
Nicola Pearson – Partner
Westbury Accountants and Business Advisors is an accountancy practice based in London. Westbury have been providing Accounting and Tax solutions to small and medium sized businesses since 1936. Talk to the team at Westbury on 0207 253 7272; or visit http://www.westbury.co.uk.