Imagine there is a mother of a new-born baby.After taking care of the baby for the whole night, she has to get up to work with insufficient rest the next day. Worse still, she has to worry about her little kid for the entire day, concerning whether he drinks milk punctually and eats adequately at home. The consequence is that the mother will be in a bad mood and cannot fully concentrate on her work, which leads to a poor work performance and productivity. She can only be relieved when she returns home and sees the lovely face of her little honey. Don’t you think everything will go a lot better if she can work at home? In fact, there are multitudes of benefits to have a home office.
Not only do mothers want to work at home and take closer care of their children, but there are lots of adults in Hong Kong who are also eager to have more flexible working hours. And having a home office can benefit them in different aspects.
To begin with, having a home office can give workers more freedom to deal with their job and personal matters in better ways. A convincing illustration is the story of my father. He works days and nights in the office and seldom does he have day-offs. However, as my grandmother suffers from diabetes and her legs cannot function well, my dad has to ask for holidays so often in order to take my grandmother to clinics for regular checks. It is extremely inconvenient for him and gives a lazy impression to his manager. If my father could work at home, he could first finish the jobs that he planned to do the following day and spare the remaining time to accompany my grandmother. Thus. he could finish his work on time while being able to take good care of my grandmother. Autonomy is definitely not an evil if it doesn’t go too extreme. When employees can be given the chance to work at home and allocate their work by themselves, they can somehow feel the genuine trust from the employers and will show more commitment and loyalty to the company.
Another point is that having a home office provides workers room for creativity. Since some of the jobs such as graphic designers and architects require a high degree of initiative, a large amount of stimuli are intensely important to them. Therefore, if they are obliged to stay in the office for the whole day and are bounded by the walls and standard working hours, it will be hard for them to think out of the box and create something new and interesting. If they do not necessarily need to work in office, they can go everywhere and meet people from different walks of life and, new ideas will emerge more easily. It is more efficient and effective than sticking yourself to the seat but thinking of nothing.
Hence, the government and companies should join hands to support this working style. For the government, they should put efforts into promoting the advantages of having a home office to employers such as advertising and organizing talks to clarify some common misunderstanding. For example, most employers are under the mistaken notion that allowing subordinates to work at home will surely lead to low productivity. But it is not the truth as seen from the above. For the companies, they may set schedules and deadlines for the subordinates lest they will be lazy at home. Moreover, they can conduct regular performance appraisals to enhance the effectiveness of this working mode. The companies should not have too many misgivings but give it a try. Many famous writers in Hong Kong do not have to work around the clock in the office, but we can still read their newly established books every year. The company and employees should have mutual trust on each other.
Having a home office can definitely bring synergic effects on the firm’s performance and hence both employers and employees can benefit in a win-win situation.