Is remote working the future?
Working from home is becoming increasingly popular. Employees benefit from greater flexibility and the time saved by not having to commute to work, while employers can reduce their costs by taking up less space. Home office can offer numerous advantages, but it also poses challenges. However, with the right organisation, it is easily possible to work efficiently from home and use the resulting flexibility to everyone's advantage.
What's home office all about?
Many employees work remotely, especially in this day and age. Often people use different definitions for this form of work. Classically, the term refers to working from home, regardless of where you work from and whether you set up your home office in your living room or in your own study. The latter is not mandatory to call working at home a "home office", because the approach does not refer to a specific office, but merely forms an overarching remote working concept to make work more flexible. Many use the terms home office and telework synonymously. However, a distinction must be made between different forms of telework. Telecommuting is when an employee performs his or her duties entirely from a home office.
In alternating telework, the employee has a workplace in the company, but also has the option of working from a home office. This allows him to change the place of work as needed and according to requirements. Quite a few companies use this concept to set up a workplace for several workers and thus save costs. Here, precise arrangements and good organisation are essential prerequisites for a smooth process. Mobile telework is also called remote work. It is the most flexible form, because the work is done from any location and the workplace virtually moves with the employee. This variant is mainly used in industries and companies with a high volume of travel. It is important that the company's IT network can be accessed from anywhere, for example via cloud solutions. This enables employees to work almost anywhere and to access important data, such as customer information or internal key figures.
Pros and cons of remote working
Home office creates numerous advantages for employees and employers, but it also entails difficulties. One of the advantages is definitely the time saved, because employees no longer have to commute to work, which is often a nuisance. Standing in traffic jams or delayed trains - all this is irrelevant when working in a home office. In addition, employees benefit from greater flexibility. For people with children in particular, this makes everyday life much easier, as it is easier to look after their offspring. In addition, remote working can provide a better work-life balance, reduce stress that can arise in an open-plan office--for example due to background noise--and reduce costs due to no longer having to travel to work, buy lunch out, or wear business clothes.
There is usually no home office dress code, as long as there are no video conferences. However, there are also challenges when working flexibly from home. For example, the lack of social contacts with colleagues can lead to a feeling of isolation. You can counteract this by having regular virtual meetings, for example via video chat, to keep in touch. Distractions in the home office due to household chores or children should also not be underestimated. Studies have also shown that many employees tend to work longer and more in the home office. This can lead to overwork. It is therefore important to separate work and private life even if both take place in the same place. It is helpful, for example, to record working hours in the home office in order to correctly track the hours worked. In this way, you also provide your employer with a realistic list of your working hours.
Occupational safety and health protection
German labour law also applies when working from home. Therefore, the same regulations must be observed here as when working in at the office. This means, among other things, that statutory break and rest periods must be observed. A regulation on home office can be stipulated in your employment contract, but it is not necessary to draw up a new contract on this matter. Instead, it is sufficient to conclude a supplementary agreement. In the event of accidents at work, accident insurance applies in home office just as it does in the company. However, there are some special features. If the accident does not occur directly at the home office but, for example, on the way to the kitchen, the accident insurance does not apply.
In general, however, it should be noted that the employer is also responsible for the health and safety of his remote employees. A central aspect to ensure the safety of the employee is the risk assessment. This must be carried out for the home office workplace as well as for the company workplace. In order to carry out the risk assessment, the employer can carry out an on-site inspection or commission an occupational safety expert. For this, however, the employer must have the right of access - an inspection without the employee's consent is not permissible. Alternatively, there is the option of carrying out the risk assessment by asking about the specific domestic circumstances. The assessment must be documented. In contrast to the workplace, it only has to be carried out once in the home office.
Flexibility through working from home
Working remotely is becoming increasingly popular in the corporate world, and a rethink has long since taken place in many companies, so that many employees are free to choose their place of work. With the use of the home office on a broad scale, all those involved gain more freedom, can save costs, and increase the effectiveness of their work. The prerequisite for this is to create the right framework conditions, for example a professionally furnished workplace at home. It should also be noted that the same legal regulations apply to home office work as to the workplace. This applies to working hours for remote working, break regulations, and occupational safety measures.