When the concept of home working is introduced into an organisation, it is
often said that the least suitable people instantly volunteer. To overcome any
potential problems, you need to outline from the start not only the type and
level of the role that may be suitable, but also deal with each application on
its own merits, in accordance with pre-specified criteria.
Not everyone wants to work from home. Those who are most suitable tend to
– Responsible and reliable
– Goal setters
– Effective time managers
– Effective communicators
– Highly skilled
Home working is often offered by organisations on an informal basis, with a
handful of people working one day a week out of the office, perhaps when they
feel they have a need for some quiet time away from interruptions.
But one financial organisation is now actively encouraging more formalised
home working. Rapid expansion has meant that the company is running out of
office and car parking space.
It believes it is important to recognise teams have very different
requirements and that some are growing out of space faster than others. Keen
not to introduce a "one hat fits all" solution, it has chosen to look
at each case on its own merit. Through a series of practical workshops, line
managers have been helped to identify from the offset some of the pros and cons
of home working.
When considering home working, roles need to be considered on an individual
basis through a structured process. It should be the responsibility of the
individual to approach his or her line manager with a request to work from
Reviewing the home working is also important. Both sides need to have a way
back if the arrangement isn’t working. It has to be remembered that it is the
job that is given the home-working label and not the employee. If the person
takes on a new position it doesn’t necessarily follow that his/her new role can
be undertaken from home.
Many home workers may feel guilty when using their "prescribed" work
time to hang out the washing or put the dinner on. Whether or not it is
acceptable depends entirely on the role and the contract that has been agreed.
If the job is more project-based, such rigidity probably isn’t required. In no
circumstances should home working be used as an alternative method of
By Carol Savage, Managing director, Flexecutive