Flexible Working – The Pros and the Cons

For the past three months, virtually everyone in the technology world has been working from home. It’s a new world of flexible working.

Some people have loved it. Some have loathed it. Most I guess have been somewhere in between – I’ve worked from home for years but I can’t say I’ve much enjoy literally never going out!

So as offices start to reopen and companies start to think about getting back to some sort of normality, what are the pros and cons of a return to the office?

A couple of provisos first.

  1. What we’ve experienced in lockdown isn’t working from home. Working from home isn’t trying to look after toddlers whilst working full time, and it isn’t being confined to the house and therefore your workplace 24/7. It’s been bizarre. And hopefully (barring a second wave) it’s over. So whatever’s next, it won’t look like that
  2. Of course everyone is different. I’ve spoken to people who are absolutely committed to only working 100% remotely from now on, like they’ve seen the light. And I’ve spoken to others who are desperate to get back to the office and see other people. There’s not a single right answer.

For most people it’s going to look like some variation on flexible working. There’s a video on the site (here) with some suggestions as to how you might negotiate that with your company, but what are the advantages and disadvantages of different arrangements?

 

Working from home

Advantage: No commute. You get a couple of hours a day back – to spend on work or family or in the pub (after work, not for breakfast)

Disadvantage: No decompression zone. You walk out of your work and straight into family life. So it can be hard to adjust. You might need to go for a walk round the block to clear your head. In lockdown we’ve taken to sitting down and watching a film at 5.30 on a Friday to help us all shift gear into the weekend.

Advantage: Work fits in around your life. If you want to go to a school assembly or hang the washing out (to give just a couple of rock and roll examples), you can.

Disadvantage: You lose a lot of the social aspects of work. It can be very solitary. When things are tough, it’s just you. There’s no 5 minute chat in the kitchen to air a problem

 

Working from the office

Advantage: Everything you need is on hand. The company provides desk, computer, kit, colleagues, materials and mental space. So show up and work – there’s no hunting for the stapler.

Disadvantage: More often than not the convenience of your office for working is matched by the inconvenience of it for everything else. You can’t make a sandwich at lunchtime unless you planned it ahead. You can’t nip out to meet a friend for lunch (or at least only friends that work nearby)

Advantage: Visibility. You’re there, you’re working, you have access to management and your contribution is visible and welcome. But at home the danger is that you become out of sight and out of mind – companies should be working to counteract this but it’s a real danger. Not if you’re there in person.

Disadvantage: Presenteeism. That culture of needing to be there to prove you’re working can be debilitating and take the focus off the output of your time and push it onto the inputs. That can tempt companies to micromanage. Working from home at least occasionally requires a more results focussed management style.

 

There are others of course but this is to get you thinking. What style of flexible working suits you best? Whatever it is, the time is absolutely right to talk to your company about it and embark on a new, flexible future.

Browse Jobs Submit CV Submit Vacancy Contact Justin

Other Posts...

A few crucial hires will be the key to success in 2021

13th December 2020

Read More
2021 – The Year of the Expert?

13th December 2020

Read More
The challenge of getting the Job Description right

4th December 2020

Read More
Recruiting – do you need a person or a process?

16th November 2020

Read More

What our Clients & Candidates Say

  • Candidate – Placed as Senior Java Developer – Investment Banking, Zurich

    Justin was far more professional than any other headhunter I've worked with.

    - Candidate – Placed as Senior Java Developer – Investment Banking, Zurich

  • Recruitment Director

    Alastair is extremely client focused and always looking for the win-win in every situation. He has considerable experience delivering complex Exec Search, MSP and recruitment campaigns in both the private and public sector. He has exceptional stakeholder management skills, and is an all-round good bloke!

    - Recruitment Director

  • Interim CTO

    Alastair has been easy to work with, professional in what he does and very much on the ball when it comes to placements. I would recommend working with Alastair and look forward to doing so again myself in the not to distant future.

    - Interim CTO

  • Contractor – placed as Project Manager

    The terms under which Justin worked very hard to ensure that my weekly timesheets were processed so quickly, far surpasses all of the other agencies that I have worked for in the last 25years – top marks!

    - Contractor – placed as Project Manager

  • IT Director

    I've worked with Justin off and on for 7-8 years and in recent times he has become my "go to" recruiter, having placed 20+ staff, with the businesses I've lead . Finding a recruiter that values the strategic relationship, satisfaction and well-being of his client, over the commission of making a placement, is a rare thing. Combined with Justin's adaptability to the needs of those he is working with, his flexible approach and candidate quality - you have a winner. Justin takes the time to understand the dynamics and personalities within the businesses he is recruiting for and finds candidates that fit the qualifications needs and culture of your business. I'd recommend Justin and Vocative to any technology company looking to find great talent and work with a likeable, professional and effective recruiter

    - IT Director

  • Client (Head of Recruitment)

    I first engaged Justin when I was recruiting manager for Microsoft Australia. Because of the quality of his work, he became a preferred vendor and we used him repeatedly to source technical people for product support, technical evangelism and consulting. Justin is a straight shooter, builds and effectively leverages an impressive network and operates with integrity. I would have liked to have hired him to be an employee but he prefers to be an independent agent. I would work with Justin any time, either as a client or as a candidate.

    - Client (Head of Recruitment)

  • Programme Manager, Client and Contractor

    I have worked with Alastair as both a client and a customer. As a client the service he provided was A1, he listened to my requirements and carefully vetted candidates to ensure they met my needs. He provided great information regarding candidate types and salaries and helped address any concerns I had about individual interviewees. As a customer, he gave me relevant information about the role and ensured I was briefed sufficiently to interview effectively. He sorted contract issues and gave me honest and sage advice. I whole heartedly recommend Alastair and will definitely be using his services again.

    - Programme Manager, Client and Contractor

  • VP People

    Justin and I have worked very closely on a number of particularly challenging and complex campaigns. As a business woman I appreciate the work he puts into the twin perils of senior level recruitment - 1. sourcing quality candidates and 2. ensuring he keeps them interested in our opportunity through what is nearly always a 'long and winding road'! As a person I appreciate Justin's candour, sharp observations and his sense of humour. Through what are often fairly knotty propositions, we have fun and get the job done.

    - VP People

  • Candidate – placed as Senior Project Manager

    Justin is easy to work with with good communication skills. He followed up on interviews and was a good source of advice. I would use him again & recommend him to others.

    - Candidate – placed as Senior Project Manager

  • CTO candidate

    Alastair demonstrates the perfect mix of a professional and personable approach to drive successful outcomes for both clients and applicants. He spends quality time in understanding the challenge and provides excellent support with a real attention to detail. As a result is he perfectly suited to help navigate complex recruitment scenarios whilst building trusted and long term relationships. An absolute pleasure to deal with!

    - CTO candidate