UHY Hacker Young | Chartered Accountants

Why you should consider working from home

11 August 2016

I’ll start this one with a caveat. I really do like the people I work with, the office where I have been for five years is busy, full on and everything else you would expect from a growing business. However, since becoming more responsible for an ever growing list of great clients, coupled with duties such as contributing to this blog, I have begun to ask myself “how can I do all of these things effectively, whilst providing a service I believe clients should have without working an ungodly amount of hours”.

Of course hiring additional staff helps hugely, but this has already been fulfilled. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that working remotely could be the answer – not every day, but perhaps one day a week to really take on some challenging work, undisturbed (if there is ever such a thing!).

I have heard lots of arguments for and against working from home. But here is my take on it…

Last month, I decided to take home some work (a tax computation for a group company set-up to be exact) to see how long it would take me to complete. In the office this can take around two days, with my phone ringing and general disturbances. I sat at my dining room table at around 7.30am, forgoing my usual 45 minute journey to the office and the general ‘good morning chats’, I made my green tea and began work.

Without boring people of the intricacies of a group tax computation, I was more or less finished by 4pm (Including my customary lunch time gym session in this time too!).  I spent the remaining hour dealing with the day’s emails.

Some may say “you’ve worked longer hours than normal there”…Well yes, slightly, but I’d rather spend 45 mins doing additional work than listening to ‘Wheels on the Bus’ for the fifth time on the nursery run – my fiancé has that pleasure!

I’m not saying that not being disturbed by my lovely colleagues is the reason for this. Of course, working in relevant solitude does focus the mind but I found it was simpler than that. Three things come to mind:

  1. I wasn’t in a rush to get ready in the morning; meaning I relaxed more and that put me in a better mood. I simply strolled around in my very non-office attire ready for work, even at these early hours.
  2. Unless I was on the phone, I put some of my own music on which again puts me in a better mood. We can’t have music on in an office like ours, it would be unproductive, but here I could listen to what I wanted at whatever volume I liked.
  3. The time and stress saved from commuting!

Of course, music and wearing shorts are not the road to effective working, though I felt productivity increased, I was motivated and actually enjoyed it. I am not saying all staff should work from home but if you don’t need more development, are responsible for your own work and the fees it generates then I cannot praise working from home enough.

The 5pm commute home was also eliminated so in this time I cleaned the house and prepared dinner meaning more family time, which is the main reason we work isn’t it?

I need to be in the office three – four days per week as my role is very much client facing, which is a role I very much enjoy. It’s just that when I do need to get things done, working at my pace and in my own environment is what I am going to do.

To be effective I suggest that you have a goal to achieve that day. It’s not a ‘let’s see what comes in today’ as you may need your colleagues or office files. I now get all my work for the home day the day before so I know what I am doing and do not waste any time.

So I think business owners should really consider allowing their staff to work from home. The ‘as long as your work is done – I do not care how and when’ attitude has always favoured me. You will soon find out how motivated staff are by putting them in this environment. Do managers really monitor their teams’ goals each day anyway?

Another tip is to leave your two little kittens out of the room as they seem to find the printer and laptop as their own…