Before March 2020 no one would have guessed that working from home would have been a new trend that was imposed on employee’s overnight. For many people it suits their lives better than a lengthy commute, but for others it is a social lifeline that has been removed.
Does working from home suit you? As an entrepreneur who works from home I already have a strict day to day routine that involves being a wife, a mother and a business women, but this has taken years to balance correctly. In this article, https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52765165, there is a huge list of companies who have embraced the new working norm and here are a few
Amazon – allowing workers to work from home until October 2020
Barclays – 70,000 staff currently working from home.
Facebook and Google – extended working from home until the end of 2020
Twitter – has offered staff the option of working from home permanently,
WPP – the world’s biggest advertising agency says returning to office is to be voluntary and flexible
Working from home does give you a number of benefits, but you need to make sure you know your rights as this new way of working could be thrusted upon us longterm and without consultation. So with all the benefits of working from home please take time to read the below Guardian article to understand what your rights are
Tax. As you spend more time at home and use your home resources for business purposes HMRC have indicated that you can gain tax relief for some items, such as says business phone calls and gas and electricity for your ‘office’ space.
You should carry out your own working from home risk assessments, because you will not have a bases for future claims such as repetitive strain injury or injuries from incorrect work spaces if this is not completed.
Your rights remain the same as if you were in the office.
Covering childcare can still be taken but it’s typically unpaid. If you looking after the children does not suit your job structure then it can cause significant stress. Many health bodies have tried to show the importance of getting childcare where possible, or working with the other parent to come to a reasonable shared parent role as working from home looks set to stay.
Insurance companies many not cover you if your a work based employee working from home. “If you are an office-based worker and are working from home as a result of the pandemic, your home insurance cover will not be affected. You do not need to contact your insurer to update your documents or extend your cover,” Association of British Insurers. So if you opt to work from home from 1st September 2020 please tell your home insurer.
What if I don’t want to go back? Some employers may encourage you to return to work, but your employer has to ensure you will be safe – they have a duty of care to you. The Law Society, supports this as they state that employees are ‘entitled to ask questions about what safeguards are in place’. Evidence of things changing can be seen in New Zealand where the PM has suggested a four-day working week, and Microsoft trialled a four-day working week in Japan in 2019 with success in terms of employee feedback and productivity.
Twitter has offered staff the option of working from home permanently,
The positive and negatives of working from home
Increase time with your family
Reduce stress and fatigue of commuting as the average London commute is 74 minutes a day
Increase your health as you can enjoy the outdoors or sporting activities as you recoup time without your commute
Manage household and life errands throughout the week so you can spend the full weekend doing what you want to do
Reduced business infrastructure costs
Reduce impact on the environment
Recruit people from further afield as there us less focus on your travel distance to the office
In April 2020, 86% of people working from home did so as a result of COVID-19. www.ons.gov.uk
As mentioned above, I have worked from home since September 2018 so I have a very set routine which allows me to wear all of my hats and still be a successful as a mother, wife and company director.
But for many we now have our offices in the bedroom, at the dinner table or a laptop balanced precariously on your knee. The areas that are now used for dual purposes so the tranquil restful bedroom has been taken away and the dining room table is now your desk, so can you truly switch off. I only work at my computer when my baby sleeps, so that I have to focus on the important tasks for 3-4 solid hours a day and when that time is up I have to know that I have completed are most vital tasks to my business. If your laptop is in your bedroom, I would suggest turning the laptop off at 5pm, putting it away out of sight and moving to another space or go outside (which is the best option). One thing is certain, we all have a lot more screen time and we need to appreciate that our bodies need a rest, vitamin D and exercise.
By balancing our time inside and outside we will ensure that we keep a stable mindset, which will make us more focused and productive. For those that know my husband and I well know that we are very focused on health and I have read a few articles from all types of media (remember who writes what you read and who owns the media channel!) and a common agreement is patients who were deficient in Vitamin D had raised levels of inflammatory issues which reduces your chance to fight infection, thus reduce your ability to combat any Coronavirus which includes the flu and Covid-19.
I exercise once a day by following circuit classes on Youtube, doing yoga or simply playing in the garden or park with my son. Doing any form of ‘physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our wellbeing. Even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood’ https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/how-to-using-exercise.
I do fear that we are to see a permeant change in the building landscape as working from home reduces the need for office space. These businesses will sell under-utilised offices which will gain them revenue but what will happen to the look and feel of the landscapes we have taken for granted?