41% of workers say they could work from home

…but the majority say they wouldn’t want to

Four employees out of ten in the UK say that they’d be able to do their work from home, but most say they’d miss the company of their colleagues.

These are the findings of a British health and safety law consultancy after the right to request flexible working from your employer came into force a month ago.

According to the Protecting.co.uk, people who have taken up the offer of home working have not found it the exciting opportunity they thought it might be.

“While things like high speed internet have made working from home a real possibility for many office-based and call centre workers, it doesn’t mean that it’s actually better,” says Protecting.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall.

“In fact, despite being more productive at home, quite a few of the employees we spoke to said they couldn’t wait to get back to the structured environment of the workplace,” he says.

According to a phone poll of over 500 office based workers conducted for Protecting.co.uk

  • 41% said they could do their work from home
  • 38% said they’d probably be able to do a full day’s work at home in less than four hours
  • 70% said that given the chance of working from home, they’d decline the offer

Protecting.co.uk says that more and more employers are giving their workers the opportunity to work from home as it decreases accommodation costs and lowers staff workplace risks. Secure internet connections with technology such as two-stage authentication means even employees who deal with sensitive data can now work off-base.

However, despite the new right to flexible working, it appears that employees are not terribly keen to give it a go. Among the reasons given by the 70% who would turn down home working were:

  • “I’d miss the company of my co-workers”
  • “I’d have the boss checking up on me every ten minutes”
  • “I’d miss out on office gossip and announcements”
  • “I’d be out of the loop on important developments”
  • “Tele-conferencing is the worst thing in the world” (“It would also mean I’d have to get dressed”)
  • “I just know I’ll be overlooked for promotion or a pay rise – out of sight, out of mind”
  • “I’d do all the work in ten minutes, then I’d be bored”

“For many people flexible home working is a great opportunity,” says Protecting.co.uk’s Mark Hall, “It means they can do things like balance a family life and still work full-time hours.

“But there’s also the danger of falling out of a daily routine. How many work from home attempts have ended drowning in a sea of daytime TV and furtive trips to the shops?”

Protecting.co.uk’s survey found scores of people who tried working from home, but eventually gave it up, citing loneliness and boredom as the main reason they went back to office working.

“Clearly, working from home has its advantages, and it’s good for companies to offer this as part of a flexible working package,” says Hall.

“But both bosses and employees need to ask one important question – do we really need it?”